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March 10th, 2008


The first time I had to write a synopsis, I ended up with a huge headache and the impulse to bang my head against the wall (which I'm sure wouldn't help the pain). I can sit down and type the rough draft of an MG in 17 days, so how can one little page or two feel so hard? I'm not sure when I first came up with the trick, but on my second full sweep of a manuscript, I usually open a new file and paste into it any plot points or interesting phrases that might help my synopsis. Depending on my mood, I'll either copy it into another file and delete like crazy until I'm left with a few pages of fragments to use, or I'll print it out, circle or star the possibilities, and scratch out the rest. Then I play. And revise. Send through amazing crit buddies. Revise, revise, revise. Send through crit buddies again (especially a few who have never read that novel and can tell you if something is unclear). Even though it still feels like a lot of work, the whole process is much easier for me now. I'm not sure if it's the trick or that I'm actually (gulp) getting used to writing a synopsis.

Do you have any tricks when writing a synopsis or query letter?

Thanks to all the incredible writers who helped perfect mine! I think it's about ready to go. I'll let it sit for a bit, then print it up tonight so I can finish my SCBWI WIP Grant for a Contemporary Novel application. Good luck to everyone applying! I hope to see many of my LJ and Blueboard friends on the list!

Ooh, before I forget, are any of my PB writing friends looking for a group? Mine currently has an opening. We're a friendly, dedicated, and fast-paced group with a mix of published and unpublished writers. We typically have 5 – 6 members, and submit on the 1st and 15th (with critiques due by the next submission date, so you would have 4 – 5 critiques to do twice a month.)

If interested, please send a short bio of your writing and critiquing experience, plus a picture book writing sample (all PASTED into an e-mail) to Mindyaweiss AT yahoo DOT com by Friday, March 14. I’ll share these with the group, and we’ll choose a new member over the weekend. I look forward to reading your samples!
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Mindy's head shot
Mindy Alyse Weiss
I write humorous middle-grade novels with heart and quirky picture books.

I'm an Administrator on the SCBWI Blueboard, the FL SCBWI Newsletter Editor and Critique Group Coordinator, and a proud member of From The Mixed Up Files...of Middle-Grade Authors

I've been married for twenty years and have two beautiful daughters, an adventurous Bullmasador adopted from The Humane Society, and an adorable Beagle/Pointer mix pup who was rescued from the Everglades.

I've been published in Highlights three times and placed in the 80th Writer's Digest Competition.


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