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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tracey Devlyn - CTW: How to Write a Synopsis Without Losing Your Mind

 MayPosted On May 28, 2010 by 28, 2010 by Print This Post

 Posted On May 28, 2010 by

 CTW: How to Write a Synopsis Without Losing Your Mind

Good morning and welcome to Chaos Theory of Writing! RU Readers are in for a real treat today. Urban Fantasy writer C.J. Redwine switches gears to discuss the art of synopsis writing. If you’re a regular at RU, then you already know how gifted C.J. is at writing query letters. New to RU? Do a search on C.J. Redwine or query letters and browse through her query letter critiques. You won’t be disappointed. I’m convinced C.J.’s critique of my query letter helped me nab not only my dream agent, but my fantastic editor. High-five, C.J.!
Read on for C.J.’s fab thoughts on synopsis writing!
If you’re anything like me, the thought of condensing my 90k novel of fabulosity into a 2-5 page synopsis was about as thrilling a prospect as getting hit by a bus. I stared my manuscript down and felt intimidated enough to worry that while every other writer could summarize their books, I alone could not. Failure, however, was not an option. I needed a synopsis for many of the agents I queried. After I signed with my agent, I needed a synopsis for some of the editors on our list. And when I start a new project, my agent needs to see a general idea of what I think that project will entail. I quickly realized writing a killer synopsis was a skill I had to master.
There are several rules to writing a good synopsis. You’ll be grateful to know avoiding pans of brownies isn’t one of them. No one has proven conclusively that brownie consumption aids in summarizing one’s plot, but then again, no one has proven otherwise either. So, grab a brownie (trust me, it helps) and hang on for a quick crash course in what makes an excellent synopsis and how to go about writing one.
What a synopsis is:
  • It’s a narrative summary of your book written in the Voice of your manuscript.
  • It’s written in present tense. (“Jack goes to the library.” Not “Jack went to the library.”)
  • It’s written in third person.
  • It introduces only your main characters, main conflict, and basic emotional arc.
  • It delivers major plot twists and your ending. No cliffhangers allowed. Your synopsis must show that your plot has layers and hangs together until the end.
  • It mimics the pacing of your novel. It’s like your novel’s Mini Me.
What a synopsis is NOT:
  • It’s not a blow by blow summary of every single plot point in your book.
  • It’s not a backstory dump. That way lies Synopsis Death.
  • It doesn’t introduce every secondary character.
  • It’s not a dry list of events; it’s a skillful weaving of your characters, the stakes, and the major plot events that hurtle them from beginning to end.
How to format a synopsis:
  • Use the same font as your novel. (Times New Roman or Courier New. I prefer Times New Roman because more words fit on a page.)
  • Double space any synopsis over 1 page in length.
  • Make sure your novel’s title and your name are in the upper left hand corner.
  • You may indent every paragraph, or choose to only indent after you’ve written your main character’s intro paragraphs.
  • Introduce your main characters in the beginning paragraph(s) and set up the story there as well.
How long is a synopsis supposed to be?
  • There’s no hard and fast answer to this. Some agents want 1-2 pages, some want 5, some don’t care. I write a 5 page and then condense (rather viciously … cue brownie consumption) to 2 pages so that I have one of each.
  • If you need to condense, try these tricks: Give your main characters a one sentence intro (including story set up) rather than a paragraph, combine major plot elements into three paragraphs, one for each third of the book, change your font from 12 pt to 11 pt. And have a brownie.
Now that you’re familiar with the basics, how do you summarize your plot? What goes in? What stays out? At its heart, each book has three major sections. I suggest jotting notes beneath each heading and then turning that into a paragraph (or three, depending on the length of the synopsis you’re writing).
  • The Precipitating Event: What starts your hero or heroine on their journey? What happens to push them into taking action? What takes them irrevocably from where they were at the beginning of the novel to where they’ll end up when they’re finished?
  • The Road of Trials and Tribulations: The middle of your novel is full of bumps and jolts as your hero or heroine works his/her way through the escalating conflict and toward the conclusion. Not all of these trials and tribulations need to make it into your synopsis, but the major ones–the ones that push the emotional arc and the conflict escalation– should.
  • The Ultimate Triumph: This starts when the hero/heroine finally confronts the major conflict (the book’s climax) and carries through to their victory, redemption, and resolution. In a shorter synopsis, we don’t need a blow by blow, but we need to know what happens and that it makes sense.
Synopsis writing, like query writing, is a specialized skill that you can learn. It might feel like pulling teeth the first time or two, but it will get easier. Especially with a pan of brownies by your side. Summarize, condense, revise, and then do it all over again until you’re happy with the results. Happy synopsis writing! *hands you a double-fudge tiramisu brownie and a notebook* Now, get to work.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Saturday, December 26, 2015

This looks great!

Yield: 4

Turkey Thai Curry

Hi everyone, Nicky here, calling in from Kitchen Sanctuary with a recipe to use up your Christmas leftovers!

Turkey Thai Curry

A brilliant way to use up your Christmas leftovers! Get dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes.


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp lemongrass paste (optional)
  • 2 cups leftover sliced turkey
  • 2 Tbsp red thai curry paste (or replace with Indian tikka paste if you don’t want a hot curry)
  • 14oz can coconut milk (full fat)
  • ¼ cup chicken stock (water with half a stock cube is fine)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Small bunch fresh cilantro, roughly torn

To Serve

  • Boiled rice
  • Lime wedges
  • Extra fresh cilantro


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add in the chopped red and yellow peppers. Cook on a medium heat for two minutes, then add in the garlic, ginger, lemongrass paste and cooked turkey. Stir gently for one minute, then add in the curry paste. Stir to coat the chicken and allow to heat through for one minute.
  2. Add in the coconut milk and stock and bring to a gently bubble (but don’t let it boil). Let it simmer gently for 10 minutes, then stir through the brown sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Taste and add more lime juice if required, then turn off the heat and sprinkle over the chopped cilantro. Serve immediately with boiled rice, lime wedges and extra cilantro.

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Cinnamon Raisin Breakfast Casserole

I’ve been experimenting with different types of overnight breakfast casseroles. I made a decadent Caramel Pecan Breakfast Casserole where a sweet tooth is a must. It got the wheels turning as I thought about what else would taste good for breakfast. Then it hit me. I saw raisin bread on sale in the flyer and knew what my next recipe would be. I whipped up this Cinnamon Raisin Breakfast Casserole and it couldn’t have turned out better!

The base is raisin bread which I love on it’s own slathered with butter for breakfast. Instead it’s topped with a milk and egg mixture and brown sugar and cinnamon topping. It’s sweet, yes, but so darn yummy!

I guess another name for it could be a french toast casserole. It has just a few extras in it.
Cinnamon Raisin Breakfast Casserole
Yield: 8

Cinnamon Raisin Breakfast Casserole

Sweeten your mornings with this divine Cinnamon Raisin Breakfast Casserole recipe! It’s bursting with raisins, cinnamon and yummy raisin bread.


  • 6 slices of raisin bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 baking pan. Rip up raisin bread into bite sized pieces and layer at the bottom of the baking pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, salt and nutmeg. Pour evenly over top of the bread.
  3. Sprinkle brown sugar, raisins and cinnamon evenly over top. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot. Drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

It's All About Writing


Please join Marsha Casper Cook when she is joined by her editor Jeff Fleischer on December 8 at 1 PM EST NOON CT 11AM MT 10 AM PS. It's going to be fun and informative. Jeff is not only an editor he is an author, screenwriter, marketing specialist and very successful journalist. You won't want to miss this show.

Jeff will be talking about writing novels,short stories,screenplays and more!
The chat room will be open as well as the phone lines.

 714-242-5259 Please call in if you have questions for Jeff or Marsha.

 If you have a questions you can email Marsha and she will ask Jeff live on Blog Talk.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Please join Marsha Casper Cook on December 10 th at 3PM ET 2PM CT 1 PM MT NOON PT when she welcomes her guests Lady Amber and three very successful authors Ciara Knight, Cameo Renae  and F.T. Zele.

It's going to be a lot of fun and very interesting because Lady Amber will be discussing how she promotes authors. Lady Amber is one of the best promoters of new and seasoned authors out there. She is constantly promoting and helping authors get to where they need to be in the changing book world.

The chat room will be open as well as phone lines.
                           (714) 242-5259

for more info

Lady Amber Faceebook

Monday, November 2, 2015

Writing A Good Book - WOI Special - Host Marsha Casper Cook

Join Marsha Casper Cook on November 10 at 4PM EST 3 PM CST  2pm  MT 1 PM PST when she opens a discussion about writing a good book and marketing it with two very successful authors Jean Joachim and Leigh Michaels.Both guests have been writing for years and will be sharing some very successful information about their wriitng.

They have been very vocal about what works and what doesn't when they write books so join them as they share their secrets.

It's going to be a lot of fun!

For more info about advertising on the show check out

For more info on the authors check out

Friday, October 23, 2015


Have you had a mammogram? Join Marsha Casper Cook, Carol Solomon Proesel  and Tracee Ford on Tuesday October 27, at 9PM EST 8 PM CST 7PM MT 6 PM PST as they discuss Breast Cancer Awareness with cancer survivors - Dellani Oakes, Suzzanna C Ryan and Mary Hagberg Meyer.

Let's celebrate with the survivors and offer hope for the millions of men and women suffering with the disease right now.

Please feel free to call in and ask questions. 714- 242- 5259 - the phone lines and the chat room will be open.

This show is live and will be accepting calls - join us -  Call in number is ( 714- 242-- 5259)

http://www.worldofinknetwork.comFor more info on the shows and advertising with us

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Hearts of Braden

The Hearts of Braden is a series written by 8 authors about a not so sleepy little town in Iowa. The first book releases Oct 6th, second Oct 30th and every two weeks until the new year.
They will be guests on blog Talk Radio -October 13 -9PM EST 8 PM CST
World Of Ink Network  
Triple B. Baking Co.-Book One by Michel Prince Released October 6, 2015
Merryn Sota and Austin Larsen have known loss. Merryn ran until she couldn't any more, Austin retreated into himself. But sweets aren't the only thing cooking at Braden's new bakery. Can two people who run to avoid the hurt that comes with love slow down enough to see that not all treats come out of an oven?
The Heartbreaker - Book Two by Tricia Andersen Released October 30, 2015
Every day in Braden is the same for town librarian Lily Dixon. That is until MMA fighter Reese Cooper walks back into her life, forced home to rehabilitate from a devastating injury in the octagon. His kisses, his touch are far better than any fantasy she's ever had. Is she willing to risk everything when her preacher father finds out about her love affair with the town bad boy? And what will happen when Reese returns to Vegas and leaves her alone in Braden?
Book Three by Kim Dahl Releasing November 3rd, 2015
Sam’s last clue to his sister’s disappearance is Braden Iowa. But its three years old. Lola McBride finds him after an attack in the woods. Someone has make it clear they don’t want him asking questions. What happened to his sister and who is trying to hide the answers he seeks? Can he find the truth?
Secrets and Lies - Book Four by Susanne Matthews, Released November 17, 2015
DEA agent Emily Shepherd is after the Chef, a faceless crystal meth cook responsible for the deaths of her husband and unborn child. Braden, Iowa, a town in turmoil thanks to a killer tornado, is the perfect place for the Chef to set up shop. But identifying her quarry won’t be easy. The town is full of strangers and the school's attractive principal, Jackson Harris, could be at the center of it all.
Heart Nectar - Book Five by Davee Jones, Release date December 1, 2015
Best friends, Nixie Bieber and Mindie Larsen, opened a small winery with the hopes to become a leading producer of Midwestern wine. Acquiring the funds to expand their promising operation hinges on the cooperation of brothers, George and Charles Stansfield. Sexy and powerful, these twin brothers bring more than the girls bargained for from a simple business deal.
No Love Lost - Book Six by Troy Storm, Release date December 15, 2015.
Recovering from horrendous deployments in the Mid-east, local boy Ches has hooked up with dark-skinned Josey, who has become a respected businessman in Braden and is the rock on which Ches is building his life. A well-meaning but clueless social worker storms into the picture, but Maddy clues in quickly when she realizes she has awakened a whole new set of possibilities that is anything but black and white in the incredibly sexy trio.
Heart Song-Book Seven by Molly Daniels, Release Date December 29, 2015
Broadway pianist Shana Worthington rushes home to help run her family's hotel while her father recupperates from a stroke.  When she reunites with her high school sweetheart, will the sparks of desire burst into something more?
Current rock star Aiden Kross sees Shana's potential as a songwriter.  Will Shana's career again overrule her heart?
Love vs fame.  Which will she choose?
Ring of Truth - Book Eight by Sherry Gloag, Release date January 2016
How can one ring become embroiled in a catalogue of lies, theft, broken promises, unrealistic demands and--love?
Noelle McBride vows to walk away from her inheritance when she learns the ring her mother promised would be hers now comes with, more like ropes, attached.
Reed Tanner is within a whisker of recoveriing the ring stolen from his Grandma until he learns about the conditions that will guarantee its return to his family.
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