Thursday, March 19, 2009

Synopsis Advice from the "Queen of the Western Romance"

(Donna and Bobbi in front of Crown Candy Kitchen, a North St. Louis landmark)

Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: Mostly sunny, high 59 degrees.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance writer Bobbi Smith, who has been called "Queen of the Western Romance," is one of the nicest and most generous writers I know.

Bobbi and I grew up a couple blocks from each other in North St. Louis, although we didn't realize it until years later when we met at a writers' group. Although we attended different schools, we knew some of the same kids from the old neighborhood. We also discovered Bobbi had a crush on a boy (I promise not to divulge his name) in my class at Most Holy Name of Jesus School on East Grand Avenue. Most Saturdays or on special occasions our families took us shopping to Fourteenth Street, where Crown Candy Kitchen (in the photo above) is located. My dad would've been holding down a bar stool sipping on a frosty Bud while Mom took all us kids shopping, probably at Sobel's Department Store or Hill Brothers (Head for the Hills-Two for Five, Man Alive) Shoe Store. For dessert, we headed to CCK for ice cream. Yum!

Anyway, last month Bobbi was guest speaker at Saturday Writers. Sadly, I was out of town and didn't get to see Bobbi or hear her talk, but my dear friend Louella Turner was there and picked up some handouts for me.

One of the topics Bobbi's handouts covered was:

Seven Things Editors Look for in a Synopsis.

1. The year of your story
2. The setting of your story
3. A physical description of your main characters
4. A mental description of your main characters
5. A statement of their goals
6. A clear and concise telling of the story that hooks the editor and makes them want to read the whole book. Set up your conflict, show the complications and the resolution.
7. A unique style that's yours and yours alone

Bobbi's last words of advice on the handout are: DO NOT say "after the climax . . ." The editor MUST know the entire story. Do not leave them guessing! It will only make them angry!

There you have it, seven things to be sure and include in your synopsis from the "Queen of Western Romance." If you've never read one of Bobbi's books, check them out. My friend Louella especially liked the covers. ;-)

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