I'm at this point--which I come to once in a while--of getting ahead of myself. By that, I mean that I have 4 million story ideas in my head and yet, let's remember that I haven't finished this one yet, officially. So I'm trying that whole writing down and doing some light research thing, just to get the ideas down and let them ferment for a while. I was thinking in my insomnia last night that I should blog about where the ideas come from, but truthfully, I don't know. I don't think the story ideas are anything particularly original; story ideas can be similar, but it's execution that counts and there are parts of this story that I can't judge the execution of yet. Still too close to parts of it. A writing teacher I had at Columbia's summer program told me, "Ideas are wonderful, but they don't get published." Heh.
But in the meantime, I'm writing a synopsis. I've discovered that I dislike them. I've already deleted one and begun another and hopefully, it will go better. Contests require a synopsis--your entire storyline, written out in about 5-10 pages, with some key scenes described, characters, major plots points, etc. No mystery allowed. Yes, the ending must be there. Subplots can be omitted. But the writing can't be dry because a synopsis is given to contest judges and also to agents and editors. So, pretty important. A lot of the query letters an author sends to agents are culled from the synopsis, too. So we'll see if that marketing minor came in handy at all. Here's a good link on what a synopsis is
On the other hand, I wrote the "blurb"--my try at back cover copy, which is a building block to a full synopsis (hopefully!). Here it is:
When Madeline Keegan arrives in her home country of England at age five, she feels like a stranger. Born to a prosperous merchant and a free black woman in the Caribbean, Madeline and her sister don’t fit in. As the years pass, the sisters grow into their roles as young gentry women. But in 1814, after their father dies, the girls find that their finances are not as they should be and their stepsister disappears on the same day. These challenges put Madeline in the path of Henry Cartland, a spy fresh home from the Continent and war—and determined to take down one last foe in Bristol, his hometown, with a connection to the Keegan family.
Half-Indian Henry is determined to build a new, stable life and leave the risky and soul-searing spying behind him. But as he attempts to bring a French spy to justice, Henry falls deeper into the Keegan family's concerns and finds himself falling in love with Madeline, though he knows he will never be good enough for her.
Together, they must overcome prejudice, social expectations, national and business interests and a terrifying ocean voyage to gain the courage to face fears and doubt--and fall in love.