Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Too much of a good thing can be overwhelming!

Things have been crazy here at our house this week. Every action, thought, conversation has centered around writing.

The lady, who designs book covers at Second Wind, emailed Calvin with a list of needs: a brief bio, a book blurb for the back cover, a photo and any ideas we had for the cover design. This request set off a flurry of activity--and male grumbling. "I do not want my picture on the cover." When I told him he did, Calvin's chin got that mulish set to it. Few men are as unpretentious as he.

I recieved word that my short story, "To Love and Lose," won honorable mention in a Writer's Journal contest. My first win; I was shocked, believe me.

My agent, Dawn Dowdle, read my manuscript. Bless her, she'd send me updates via email and texts. "I'm loving it," she'd say, which, of course, only added to my angst over whether it would be good enough. "I've laughed out loud at several unexpected places. Good work!" I yearned to be in her office, leaning over her shoulder to see and hear her reactions. When I opened her email that asked for a synopsis, I groaned. I'd been putting it off. I mean, I had a five page boring-as-watching-paint-dry synopsis, but she wanted it whittled down to two pages. Not an easy task for a wordy person.

For me, writing a synopsis is akin to removing a hemorrhoid by putting a pair of tweezers in my mouth and forging a path through my gizzard. It's painful. How can one possibly capture the essence of a three-hundred page manuscript in two?

I'd no sooner emailed her that infernal synopsis, when she emailed me the manuscript with tract changes. Now folks, this is a new skill for this old bird--tract changes. But with Dawn's guidance, I was able to whiz through all her corrections and suggestions in two days, accepting or refusing each one with a click of the mouse. I admit to being "comma challenged." In my estimation, Dawn removed every comma I had in my manuscript and put commas in places I'd never think about putting them.

Of course, hovering over me was another email from her. She wanted additional information needed to "shop-out" my manuscript to publishers. I nearly bawled when I read the first one: a ONE sentence tagline to entice your readers. " sentence?" I gasped, reaching for the bottle of antacids that had gotten me through the horrors of whittling my synopsis down to two pages. Next on her list was one to three paragraphs to interest readers (more weeping and gnashing of teeth). She asked for a bio (would "I live. I love. I write." qualify?) My marketing plans with specifics (I reached for the tissues and smelling salts). Marketing plans? I'm a writer, not a marketing guru! And a list of similar books and authors (if there are books already out there like mine, why would someone buy the one I've labored over? I asked myself, my eyes scanning the titles on my crammed bookshelves). I've relegated this project to when I'm half-watching, half-listening to the football games this weekend.

I'll also be catching up on homework. You see, I'm taking an online course through Florida Romance Writers on "How to create sexual tension." I wonder if I could develop a course on "How to handle the tension of life as a writer"?

Still, life moves on. I'm going shopping this afternoon and then stopping by to see a friend. I need a break. I need chocolate!!!

Oh, and wait till you see the handsome picture of Calvin on the back cover of The Phantom Lady of Paris.


Charmaine said...

Congratulations on the win! I've been reading lately to write the tag-line and synopsis before you start writing the actual novel/screenplay. But, I'm the kind of writer who likes to write by the seat of the pants. Never know what might come out!

Vonnie Davis said...

I agree, Charmaine. I'd read that the easy way to write a synopsis was to write a sentence after finishing each chapter. One that described that chapter. Sounded easy to me, so I tried it. Opened up a new document that I went to at the end of each chapter with my summary sentence. I ended up with a 5-page synopsis that still needed chopped down. Arghhh!