Just saw a jogger struggling by. Strikes myself that she was suffering herself for the sake of cream cakes.
because the light makes me think of something i’ve lost and don’t know how to find and the song on the radio has a guitar that makes my eyes prickle and i’m thinking of someone lost when i see you right now
Really what I want to know revolves around how to make prose meaningful.
Like, it’s possible to write words that are largely empty of meaning: long descriptions of grass, trees, sky; endless minutiae-filled skeins of thought about nothing in particular; the sensation of blood pumping whilst climbing or dust in the eye after shaking a mat.
I’d like to go a little beyond that; you know what I mean? But how.
The Literary Consultancy (TLC) were good enough to write about how to write a synopsis and cover letter. Here are my notes on what was written:
- Synopsis definition: ‘a brief description of the contents of something’
- Purpose: “to inform a literary agent or publisher of the type of book you are writing/have written in a concise, appealing fashion”
- Submissions to agents and publishers should include a “cover letter, synopsis and sample chapters” rather than a whole work
- A synopsis demonstrates that you know your story and that it is clear, persuasive or gripping
- think of the project as an enjoyable literary exercise and an opportunity to show your work off in its essential form
- For examples, refer to book blurbs or plot summaries in reference books or on Wikipedia
- A synopsis should demonstrate where your work fits into the market. Think of marketing ‘hooks’ or current hot topics
- A “fiction synopsis should comprise a brief summary followed by a more detailed synopsis”
- But before this, know which genre you are writing in
- Begin with a brief summary of 30–75 words (like you would see on the back of a book) to whet the appetite
- Follow this with a more detailed synopsis of 350–450 words, but not a detailed chapter-by-chapter breakdown
- Give “a detailed overview which clearly and concisely conveys how the story flows and unfolds and […] what is interesting about it”
- Confirm when the story is set, the setting/background, the central and other pivotal characters, the dramatic turning points and any other salient information
- The cover letter should be economically written and confident sounding
- Address a well-researched literary agent by name
- Say you are enclosing the synopsis of a book called ‘[title]’, which is a [genre] novel
- Refer to writers you feel you are similar to
- “If you have something interesting to say about yourself, such as that you have won a writing competition or published before in relevant publications, do include this briefly in the cover letter”
- “Whilst it is worth spending time ensuring you have a good, short, confident cover letter, synopsis and it is important to stress that there is nothing as important to an editor than the quality of your writing and your ability to sustain the interest of a reader in the main body of the text.”
Note to self – next step: write the synopsis and cover letter.
I saw a bus go by and it made such a sad sound in my heart.
Going places and leaving me here.
But not moving either.
If reincarnation and transmigration of species holds then this could explain why some people prefer a larger body mass index than others. They have simply become accustomed to the ground shaking beneath theit feet as they walk.
“Creative Writing UK BK Eco Retreat 29 – 31 March 2019 at Worthing. Our final session of the day was with Robert and showed us how we can use creative writing to discover our own inner ‘genius’ and connect with the Earth.”
I stood, and sometimes sat crosslegged, in front of a dozen or so people and did the same thing I always do at short workshops. I told them that there are two ways to write: planning and pantsing and that I’m a panstser so that’s what we’re going to do today. A planner plans out what they’re going to do before they write and a pantser just makes it up as they go along.
The raison d’etre for this is that if a writer can switch off their critical facilities for long enough, they can just write down the words that their unconscious processes suggest, in much the same way as word-association games works.
To demonstrate this, I took the group through a warm-up exercise that involved me supplying a seed-word and then, going around the room, the next person just saying the first word that came into their head. I suggested to them that if there was any hesitation in this it meant that they were using the conscious processes (the ones that planners use) and that these were what we were trying to circumvent. After a few rounds, they started to get the hang of it and got quicker. It was time to move to phase two.
The next exercise involved each member of the group drawing a mind-map using a seed-word of their choice. They got five minutes to do this, which involved writing one word in the middle of a piece of paper, four words that they associated with this word around it, then a further three associated words for each of the four. In all, we ended up with seventeen words each.
Their challenge then was to, individually, use all of their words in a story, that could be as long or short as they liked, but they only got ten minutes to complete it. This meant that they had to do it, as much as possible, without thinking. The instructions were to just write a word and they write whatever next word that popped into their head. Everyone, without exception, completed a story within the ten minutes.
I asked them then to think a little and then extract an affirmation from their story that they could take away and use. We then went around the room and people shared their stories.
With only one exception, everyone shared. It was surprising the variety of styles that people drew on: functional, short, long, flowery, metaphorical, terse, lyrical etc. But, whatever the style, they were all totally on target for the theme of the weekend: eco-friendship.
It was a fun way to spend an hour. I got to get people to enjoy themselves and write stories about making the world a better place. What’s not to like!