Saturday, September 4, 2010

NV and the Synopsis Rumor

Was anyone else thrilled by the distinct lack of the word “synopsis” in the competition? Mills & Boon have recently mentioned that there will be an opportunity for a brief summary of your story and on the author front the ‘s’ word has popped up in the forums. I bet you’re all hoping this is leaning toward a blurb rather than two pages of single spaced torture (I’m feeling dramatic today).

Advice pages from authors:

Note:  Mills & Boon are recommending that the pivotal moment be no more than 1000 words so that gives you 9K to divide between your two chapters.  It's important to keep this in mind in order to submit a practical word count for the first chapter.  I'd hate to see anyone write themselves into a corner.


Angie Peters said...

Oh God, no!!! I had heard something about a 'brief summary' - but that is quite different than a synopsis!

Even the mention of a brief summary made me break out in a cold sweat. I'm a pantser, for God's sake! No, I am not having a meltdown...

*Relax, breathe in, breathe out*

Lacey Devlin said...

Lol Angie!

I think you'll find a lot of people are right there with you. It will be a lot of extra reading for the editors, so for now I'd adopt the denial approach and pretend it means blurb :).

I guess we'll find out for sure on launch day. Just 1 day and 19 hours left now!

Jackie Ashenden said...

I hadn't heard anything about a summary at all!! *happy dance turns into dramatic Swan Lake*
Argh. I HATE synopses. And I'm TERRIBLE at them. Sniff.
Angie, could I borrow your relaxation tape for a second?
Where did you hear that, Lacey?

Lacey Devlin said...

Aww poor Jackie. It's not a definite thing at all, just speculation at this point. I have to admit though that if a synopsis is required I'll probably be rethinking my rethinking about entering ;-). They're not exactly something you can whip out.

I'll find the sites again for you and post them next x

Angie Peters said...

*Passing relaxation tape to Jackie*

Definitely in denial, Lacey :)

I think I read about this brief summary on M&B Facebook page? Or was it over on Pink Heart Society's blog and Lucy Gilmour's answer to a question posed to her? Shucks, I can't remember now...

Do you think the NV website will have a meltdown during the launch tomorrow?

Lacey Devlin said...

Okay, well, at the moment I've lost my "There will be an opportunity to give a brief summary of your overall story though..." website but I'll find it again tomorrow morning. The reply is several days old but that's the exact quote from it anyway. Prior to that sentence was the answer to someone's question about whether or not you can upload both a prologue and chapter 1 (NB: just chapter 1, although on the Pink Heart Society page that I've linked previously there has been suggestions about how to work a prologue into the chapter if anyone is interested?).

I believe it was the lovely Michelle Styles who mentioned that you might want to have a synopsis prepared. The comment stream starts at the comment titled 'New Voices - a form of literary terrorism' on the UK Subcare boards ( and continues upwards.

I am torn between knowing that Michelle has commented on aspects of the competition which have later been publicly confirmed by NV and the fact that there's no synopsis mentioned in the terms and conditions :).

Lacey Devlin said...

It'll be interesting to see if the NV page can survive such heavy traffic. If it is going to have a meltdown, that's fine, as long as it's after we've been on ;-).

If there is additional requirements like a little blurb or synopsis I doubt people will be uploading their entry so that might help.

Have you made any plans on when you'll upload Angie? Jackie's all for getting it over and done with so she doesn't fiddle :). I hear that!

Francine said...

Hi Lacey,

I thought your post headliner rather intriguing so hopped over from Angie's.

If M&B are going the route of blurb or synopsis (open to public scutiny) will that not shoot their policy of *no public exposure of mss before contract is signed* right out of the water?

In effect you'll all be exposing respective "plots" to public view via synopsis! Whereas, one chapter maybe two is selling your work on merit of hookability, nothing else!

Let's hope for all your sakes a synopsis is not called for. That said, of all the thousands of manuscripts that have flooded the M&B desks in a year (since 2009 comp) - no new voices have come to light?

Like a lot more writers I'm sceptical of motive behind these M&B comps.

Good luck with your entry.

Jane Writes Romance said...

No need to get too upset over minor details, surely? They'll be looking at your writing, won't they, and how it fits their lines?

Well, that's what I'd be hoping, anyway. Otherwise, what's it all about?

Best of luck to anyone who's about to send off their hard-worked material for the NV comp, and I genuinely hope it's all about the writing - and not the dreaded synopsis.

Suzanne Jones said...

Oh dear, I really hope they don't want a synopsis.

Right, best get on and write that chapter...


Angie Peters said...

Well, Lacey, not sure when I'll upload my chapter now. I was going to do it straight away so that, like Jackie, I'd stop tinkling with it. But now I'm not so sure my opening is really going to grab the reader enough so they have the interest to keep reading:(

Have you decided whether you're entering yet, Lacey? Or will you just wait and see tomorrow about whether a dreaded synopsis is required?

Lacey Devlin said...

Hi Francine!

Thanks for stopping by :) The no public exposure point is a great one. Although, in past competitions which have required a synopsis they've ended up being posted on the site after the winners were announced. So perhaps that term only applies if you're posting it on your blog etc?

There have definitely been new voices since 2009 (two new authors signed in the past couple of weeks, yay!) and this comp is also a sneaky and rather clever way of doing market research :). They're wanting the readers opinions about what they like. I have to say I much prefer it over being cornered in a shopping centre ;-).

Thanks for the luck I'm going to need it!

Lacey Devlin said...

Hi Jane!

Thanks for stopping by.

The editors definitely place a greater weight on your writing. Unfortunately some of us struggle with the synopsis, for me it's trying to get my conflict across properly, which is why we have a bit of a wail. I wouldn't let it worry you :). You're very likely one of the lucky few who can pump one of those babies out without a second thought :).

Lacey Devlin said...

Suzanne - There's still plenty of time to get that chapter finished. Good luck!

Angie - I bet your chapter does so grab the judges by the... we'll I bet it'll grab them! Don't get me wrong, about five times a day I decide anything I've done is rubbish and the two year old inside me threatens to chuck a tantrum, but that's all part of the fun. I know you're entering, so I'll be checking that you hit that submission button and honestly, if you've got it finished, I'd put myself out of my misery and follow Jackie's idea. Unfortunately I'm not there.

I still don't know if I'm entering. I've got other deadlines for things less enjoyable so I'm literally living on a prayer. The synopsis probably would finish me off, but it's not over until it's over ;).

Jane Holland said...

No, I can't write synopses very well either, and I've plenty of experience. But at least that makes me sympathetic towards those who find them hard, lol!

It's such a different skill to simply writing the book. It's almost as though shyness sets in and a writer suddenly becomes horribly tongue-tied and awkward when asked to describe their story.

I like to try writing them before the book these days, even if it's just in outline, to avoid the worst of that awkward 'Gee, shucks, you want to know what my book is about?' stage.

Angie Peters said...

Thanks for the confidence, Lacey :) And thanks for making me accountable, LOL.

Well, there's no pressure. If you can have something ready, there's still time (until the 22nd Sept). If not, don't sweat it. As all the pubbed authors keep reminding us - there's subbing through the slush pile. It'll be fun reading everyone else's chapters, regardless.

Lacey Devlin said...

Hi Jane!

Thanks so much for stopping by :).

It's always nice to know you're not stuggling alone. It really can be likened to becoming horribly tongue-tied and awkward :).

Lacey Devlin said...

Angie - You should feel confident! There's nothing like soul crippling anxiety to really bring out a glow on your skin...

I'm really looking forward to reading everyone's chapters, although I'll have to admit it's much more fun to suffer along with everyone else. Trust me, you'll see ;-).

Caroline said...

I'm definitely entering; but I definitely won't be posting anything until at *least* 2 weeks after the 6th! I haven't edited the 1st chapter yet! Caroline x

Lacey Devlin said...

You get points for having finished the first chapter though Caroline! Happy revising!

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