Friday, April 28, 2017 | By: Cafe
When you write, you're telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story. 
- Stephen King
Thursday, April 27, 2017 | By: Cafe

Help! I Need A Synopsis!

The Write Way Café welcomes Suzanne Purvis with solid tips for creating a powerful synopsis.

Within the writer community, there’s almost this universal hatred for synopsis writing.

Maybe hatred is too strong a word? Maybe not? ;-)

But I can hear your collective groans across cyberspace at the mere mention of the word, S-Y-N-O-P-S-I-S.

But writing a synopsis is a very necessary part of your submission package.

And we all know writing, and especially submitting, isn’t for the weak-minded.

Stay strong.

There is hope.

You can build your writing muscles and learn to write a sizzling, scintillating synopsis that will grab the attention of agents, editors, or contest judges.

Let’s take a quick look at. . .

What a synopsis is NOT:
1. It is not a blow-by-blow summary of every single plot point in your book.
2. It is not a back cover blurb.
3. It is not a backstory dump.
4. It does not introduce every secondary character.
5. It is not your main character’s resume.
6. It is not a dry list of events.
7. It doesn’t include dialogue or paragraphs from your manuscript.

What is a synopsis?
1. It is a narrative summary of your book written in the voice of your manuscript.
2. Its primary purpose is to summarize your story in a way that makes the reader and agent or editor want to read the whole text.
3. It is written in present tense.
4. It is written in third person–even if your book is written in first.
5. It is written in active voice.
6. It is told in chronological order from beginning to end, no flashbacks.
7. It introduces only your main characters, main conflict, and basic emotional arc.
8. It delivers major plot twists and your ending. No cliffhangers allowed.
9. It is a skillful weaving of your characters, the stakes, and the major plot events that move your characters from beginning to end.
10. It shows the pacing of your novel.
11. It should be in the same tone as your novel.

An ideal synopsis should be like reading a mini version of your book filled with your voice, emotion, intrigue, and all your exceptional and magical writing talent.

The question I get asked the most often concerning a synopsis is. . .

How long should my synopsis be?

Sorry to say, there is no universal standard.

Agents, editors, publishers, contests has their own specific requirement.

You need to check the submission requirements for each submission (usually on the agent, publisher, contest webpage) and tailor your synopsis to fit.

I’ve heard of a 200 word synopsis for a specific contest. Yikes--that’s less than a page, but it can be done.

A 500 word synopsis is not uncommon: that’s 2 pages double-spaced or one page single-spaced.

Three to five pages is another often requested length. Here the length can be anywhere from 750 words to 1250 words if it’s double spaced, but that’s 1500 words to 2500 words single spaced.

Up to 10 pages is another requested length and that would be double spaced. Yay, for this one. Offers lots of room to add your voice, rhetorical devices, etc.

Here’s a little tip: unless the synopsis is for a contest, the word/page count is a guideline. Most agents and editors aren’t going to stop reading if your synopsis is a little longer, especially if it’s a sizzling and scintillating synopsis. :-) Because the synopsis is often embedded in an email to an agent or editor, the length isn’t a deal breaker--they won’t be counting your words. :-)

Again, to find out what size synopsis you require, check the agent’s or publisher’s or contest’s submission requirements to see what length of synopsis they expect.

Voice is often overlooked, and under-considered in a synopsis. (You can read about adding voice to your synopsis in my December blog post here.)

But there is also the often forgotten aspect of adding emotion to your synopsis.

What makes a NOVEL mesmerizing are the emotions that accompany the characters’ actions.

Emotions like fear, hope, excitement, anticipation, disappointment, etc.

The same is true for your synopsis.

When you’re writing your synopsis, look for ways to add the emotions surrounding your characters in the situation and at each turn of events.

Here’s an example from Sandra Tilley’s synopsis for her work-in-progress Dead Man Falling

Guilt and regret torture FBI agent, Mark Penrose. He and the Agency share dual responsibility for exploiting his ex-wife's medical expertise, but he’s solely accountable for breaking Sydney's heart. Now he’s willing to risk his job and his life for a second chance.
Sandra uses strong, powerful words. Do you see and feel the emotion?
Guilt, regret, torture. Wow.
Look at some of her other strong words and phrases that evoke emotion, exploiting, breaking her heart, risk his job and his life, second chance
Here’s another example of strong emotion in a synopsis. This example is from Veronica Mixon’s work-in-progress Changing Tides. This synopsis paragraph is at a major turning point in the plot.
Then Kate uncovers a lead to Joseph’s whereabouts, escapes Nathan’s security detail and heads to Albuquerque. Less than twelve hours later, a dejected Kate returns empty-handed only to learn her mother and Owen have been abducted. Desolate and heartbroken over her choice to leave her son for a few hours, Kate’s pain becomes unbearable when Erica convinces the authorities the abduction is simply a diversion Kate’s orchestrated. No one believes her, and Kate tumbles into despondency. Then anger burns away her despair, and she turns to Nathan for help, only to find his shoulder has turned ice cold.

Lots of emotion, lots of power words, a strong sizzling synopsis.

Here’s another example from Caren Gallimore’s synopsis for her work-in-progress Wanted. This is an introduction to her tough-guy character, but her tough-guy still has emotions. :-)

Dakota Cabe was used to killing. His first kill was at the age of twelve when he sought revenge for his parent's death. Seeing the spunky Caitlyn Daniels attempt to hold her ground against nine of the Wakefield gang kicks in his protective instincts. After their brutal encounter with death, Dakota hides out at Caitlyn's ranch, and he's surprised by their connection that manifests into a love he can’t fight. But he knows their love is doomed as soon as the Sheriff investigates, makes his conclusions, and identifies Dakota as a wanted man. Dakota has two choices--leave town or allow Caitlyn to be linked to the shootout and a target for the Wakefield gang. He’s desperate to stay, but the choice is clear.
I hope these examples help show a synopsis can be sizzling and scintillating. 
You too can write a sizzling and scintillating synopsis that catches the eye of agent and editors just like Kathy Cummings who participated in my May Synopsis class and received a contract this month.  :-)
If you’re interested in my next synopsis class, check out Lawson Writers Academy here.
And if the timing isn’t quite right, I also offer private editing and synopsis building. Just email me at .
I wish you the best in all your writing, but especially in building your synopsis so you can go forth and submit.

Feel free to share your woes or concerns or tips and strategies for synopses in the comments, and I’ll chime in.

Suzanne Purvis is a transplanted Canadian living in the Deep South, where she traded “eh” for “y’all.” An author of long, short, flash fiction for both children and adults, she has won several awards including those sponsored by the University of Toronto, RWA, Bethlehem Writer’s Roundtable, and Women Who Write. You can find her work in print anthologies, magazines, ezines, and ebooks.

She leads workshops at Lawson Writer’s Academy and for Romance Writers of America, including her popular Sizzling, Scintillating Synopsis. She also works individually with writers on any aspect of their writing they are looking to improve. Feel free to email her at and be added to her mailing list for upcoming classes.

Next Sizzling Scintillating Synopsis Class will begin June 1st, 2017 at LWA.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 | By: Lynn

Unstoppable Receives RONE Nomination

I'm very excited and grateful for the RONE nomination for Unstoppable, Book 5 in the Fierce Hearts series. I would appreciate votes for my book if you feel so inclined. Visit InDtale RONE Voting Week 4 and vote. It's easy. You'll find Unstoppable under Short Paranormal in the fourth week of voting May 8 - 18.
Here's the book blurb and an excerpt.
Reeling from the recent Project Powering battle with the evil Nexus Group, were-lynx and veterinarian Lara Monroe struggles with thwarting the group's plans to eliminate her colony while dealing with her own traumatic past. Still, when her fellow colony cat - and secret crush - Booker Chase needs help, she's willing to use her special healing touch to help him survive his emotional hell.
A formidable were-lynx and a physician, Booker has his hands full helping patients who were seriously injured in the battle. But nothing can repair his soul, broken from the loss of his wife and the PTSD from his service in Afghanistan . . . or can it? Now that his good friend Lara is standing by him in his emotional struggles, he's finding there is more to their connection than he realized. But dare he open his heart?
In the epic conclusion of the Fierce Hearts series, the colony takes its biggest risk of all to shut down the Nexus Group forever - will Lara and Booker survive to take their second chance at love?
Lara tuned out whatever Marcus was saying as he inserted the blade inside her mouth. She closed her eyes, focusing tightly on soothing the terrified little girl inside her that had quietly endured so much pain. She recited the phrase she’d used to take her out of her body in the times her uncle had molested her. Thank you for the birds that sing. Thank you, God, for everything.
Her eyes flew open and searing pain hardened her grip on the sides of the bed as Marcus sliced into her gum tissue. The affirmative phrase left her thoughts as her mind screamed. Or was that her shrill shriek pouring out of her mouth?
“Stop it! Stop it!” Booker demanded, a low, menacing growl rolling from his throat. “I’m sorry, Lara. So sorry, babe.”
Marcus withdrew the scalpel, twirling it casually. Lara tasted blood on her tongue, oozing from the cut in her gums. Nausea swept through her.
Booker rocked in his chair. “Hang in there. Lara. I’m right here.”
Marcus snorted. “Not that you can help her. That is unless you tell me where I can find my son.” The tone of his voice was a sharp edge.
A steadying wave of Booker’s healing energy filled her. It calmed her frayed nerves enough that the panic robbing her breath lessened.
Marcus smirked again and bent over her, and another slice sent her mind thrashing for the words she’d memorized years ago. What is that damn phrase? Umm … Birdies sing, angels bring … oh hell. She glared at Marcus and hollered, long and loud.
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Friday, April 21, 2017 | By: Cafe
Love is friendship put on fire.
- Jeremy Taylor
Thursday, April 20, 2017 | By: Cafe

An Interview with Loretta Moore

authorThe Write Way Café welcomes Loretta Moore and her book The Light of Day, a story that took seed from a lasting memory.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance? 
I think interpreting life through imagination as a writer has always been with me, from a young girl on. As I think about it writing about ‘romance’ is always in the forefront, the basis for my novels, and always heavily incorporated in my novels.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do? 
I used a subject, a beautiful, sad young woman in a brothel, there against her will.  I shopped THE LIGHT OF DAY around, but not very much before Extasy Books happened. I did no research, just used imagination, experience and observing life.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
THE LIGHT OF DAY reaches way back, maybe as far back as my teens. I happened across a storefront brothel then and what I saw never left my memory and became the subject many years later for my story.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
Except for the character, Carlotta Rivera, none of the characters are based on real life. And even the character Carlotta Rivera is totally different from the girl I saw in the brothel storefront window since I have no idea who she was, or where she came from. I’d have to say even she’s imaginary.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after? 
I can’t say I recall any surprises while writing THE LIGHT OF DAY. The finished book, however, was surprisingly gratifying. I think it presents or presented a better story than when I began writing it.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about brothels, and being called into the ministry? 
I don’t think I learned anything about myself.  For me, most of the writing process deals with ‘discovery’ finding out who the people are in the story, and how they conduct their lives. The main characters, Michael Bradley and Carlotta consumed most of the writing process. The ‘writing world’ is an uncommon place, but it’s where I’ve always been. I think I love it! As for the brothel, I guess I had to think a lot about what life might be like for the women in that brothel storefront.

What are you working on now? 
I’m in the process of ‘editing’ my latest book with, THE WAY OF LOVE.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be? 
I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing. However, when I was very young I had dreams of being an opera singer, so that’s it, that’s what I’d be.

by Loretta Moore
     Michael Bradley hasn't been able to find the way to express his deep love for Carlotta Rivera, something he's wanted to tell her for so long.
     From the day 19-year-old Michael Bradley sees a beautiful sad Mexican girl in a Chicago brothel storefront window, he can't get her out of his mind. He returns the next day, but she's not there, and the brothel has shut down. That very same day an unknowable force leads Reverend Robert Peterson to go to that area of town. He's moved when he sees the sad-looking girl in the shabby storefront. He and his wife come to the rescue of Carlotta Rivera.
     Attorney Michael Bradley is in the hospital after a fall on an icy pavement. He can't believe that his attending nurse is that girl he saw ten years before, Carlotta Rivera. What happiness! Michael yearns to express his long-held feelings for Carlotta, but he can't bring himself to do so. Also, he has to deal with his physician half-brother Duc Le and Ben Peterson, son of Reverend Peterson, who are interested in her. How does Michael respond to a Calling to go into the ministry?

Available at:

About Loretta:  I’m an African American female multi-published writer, residing in Dover, Delaware. Published works include: THE COLOR OF MURDER under contract with Black Opal Books, BOTTOM TALES AND OTHERS with Leo Publishing, THE LIGHT OF DAY and THE WAY OF LOVE both with Extasy Books. Other published works include poetry and essays, plus several plays published. Many of my ‘Plays’ have been stage productions-I’ve enjoyed a long-time association with the theatre. Ghostwriting is another area in which I work. I’ve also been published in several journals and magazines, and contribute to a church newsletter. I have a college degree in English, I have received literary and theatrical recognition, I belong to an honor society and other laudable organizations, and I volunteer in my community and my church. I frequently speak at venues doing readings of my work. I have LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and many other social contacts as well. My next writing project keeps me busy.

Email me:

LinkedIn: lorettamoore

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 | By: Cafe

Tuesday Special: J.L. Lora

J.L. Lora

Determined to avoid the violence that claimed her family and friends, Carissa Elliott flees her hometown with a dangerous plan. She has proof that Calum DeMateo killed her father—now she just has to catch him. To do so, she’ll have to transform herself from small-town ingénue to New York crime boss.

When her path crosses with Alec McLean, the sexy stranger with whom she once shared a steamy nightclub kiss, things take an unexpected turn. Alec heads his family’s criminal organization, the kind of made man Carissa should want nothing to do with. But he also has a plan to take down Calum, and the flames that flicker between them are irresistible.

Will their vengeful quests jeopardize their chance at lasting love?

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Google Books        iBook       Kobo

author of Boss
J. L. Lora was born in Dominican Republic and came to the United States just at the age of 13. Her goal in life was always to be a writer. As a child, she told stories to her family and friends and wrote fiction about historic figures. Today, her stories explore the dark side of good characters, people who are backed into corners and how they react to it. She loves strong heroines and their equally powerful love interests. She currently lives in Maryland while pursuing her dream of writing compelling, sexy, can’t-put-down stories about empowered, badass heroines and take-your-breath-away heroes.

Find J. L. Lora on Social Media:
Website       Facebook       Twitter       Instagram
Google+       Pinterest       Goodreads

Friday, April 14, 2017 | By: Cafe
You must learn to be three people at once: writer, character, and reader.
- Nancy Kress