Thursday, August 06, 2009

THE WRITE WHISPER: Sample synopsis

I haven't written a category romance synopsis for a while, so dug around in my archives and voila!

Here's the synopsis I wrote for PURCHASED FOR PLEASURE, my 3rd Modern Heat novel (released as a Harlequin Presents Extra Feb 08)

An interesting exercise for me to read back over it.
The book stuck to most of my outline but veered in different directions on several points.

Those of you who've read the book will find this particularly interesting!

Kate Hayden, 30, is the feisty senior editor for the thinking woman’s magazine, Bella, based in Los Angeles. She has worked her way up at the magazine, eager to prove that she can make a life for herself, without the help of family money. Her first story, “Military Men”, introduced her to Tyler Jones, a cocky Navy SEAL with attitude. After several enthralling encounters, Kate obtained her story and walked away from the sexy SEAL, berating herself for falling in love with a guy who obviously played the field.

Ten years later, Tyler Jones, 35, re-enters her life. At a charity Man Auction the magazine is sponsoring, Kate sees Tyler standing on the stage and is goaded into bidding by her colleagues, suddenly eager to dispel her stodgy and work-focussed image. What harm could it do, when she wouldn’t be the highest bidder? Unfortunately, she is the one and only bidder. As the gavel falls, she has acquired a male slave for one week and he happens to be the last man on earth she would want to spend time with.

At the conclusion of the auction Kate is handcuffed to Tyler, who later teases her into removing the key from his pocket. She refuses, denying their previous attraction and he reawakens her memory with a scorching kiss. This sets the tone for a dynamic week together.

Tyler has donated one week of his annual leave to raise money for his favourite cause. The Ramirez Orphanage, his home during childhood, is low on funds and may close. He is desperate to raise the orphanage’s profile and this is his main motivation for being sold as a slave. When Kate buys him, he recognises the potential for publicity and wants her to write a series of articles for Bella to highlight the orphanage’s plight and hopefully raise more money.

Kate soon discovers that acquiring Tyler as a slave is set to rock her world all over again. Sparks fly whenever they are within two feet of each other, soon leading to fiery combustion, with Tyler reneging on the deal. However, Kate swallows her pride and convinces him otherwise, as she needs him to secure a promotion. Her boss, set to retire in a month, believes that ‘purchasing’ Tyler was a stroke of genius on her part and the ensuing publicity has been a windfall for the magazine. He wants to capitalise on it in a feature on his senior editor with the SEAL. In return, she will become Bella’s chief editor, a position she has long coveted.

Kate is unaware that Tyler is an orphan and falsely believes his interest in the orphanage revolves around Maria Ramone, the beautiful woman who runs it. Tyler grew up with Maria in the orphanage and sees her as a sister. He is guilt-ridden at not following through on his childhood promise to get her out of the orphanage. If he can raise the profile of the orphanage, Maria may have a chance to leave it behind and make a life for herself, just as he has done.
Kate is jealous and advises him that the orphanage story would be unsuitable for the magazine. However, with the promise of the ultimate promotion, Kate needs Tyler to participate in her feature article, so she runs the articles on the orphanage in exchange for his co-operation, a win-win situation for both. However, she omits to tell him the real reason behind her feature article and ultimately, threatens their future happiness.

Kate and Tyler complicate this simple arrangement with an irresistible sexual attraction that soon develops into a sizzling physical relationship. She revels in their encounters, convincing herself that it’s one week of impulsive pleasure out of her organised, well-planned life. After all, she knows Tyler is a man with similar expectations: independent, living for the moment, able to walk away at the end.

Tyler believes the rich princess from Beverley Hills is slumming it for a while with the orphan from downtown L.A. No harm done, when the mind-blowing sex is everything he imagined... and more.

Neither are prepared for their emerging feelings, the yearning for love and stability which was not present in their respective childhoods.

At the thought of losing Tyler, Kate is prepared to take a chance. However, before she can profess her love for him, he discovers the truth about her promotion and the price he paid to secure it. He feels used, betrayed and abandoned, just like his childhood. The woman he has taken a chance on and grown to love has deceived him. Rather than discussing his possible re-assignment to Puerto Rico with her, he flings it in her face, wanting to hurt her as much as she has hurt him. Kate is convinced that the SEAL she loves will never change and is devastated in the process.

In a hurry to leave the orphanage, where their final confrontation has occurred, she bumps into Maria, who sets the record straight. Kate knows her only chance to convince Tyler of her love is to prove that her job and lifestyle are not the most important things in her life. She arrives on his doorstep with her suitcase, ready to follow him to the ends of the earth if needed.
Tyler is convinced that Kate is the woman for him. He professes his love and their relationship is secured. Though the handcuffs are removed in their initial encounter, they are now bound by the welcoming shackles of love...

Now, comparing the synopsis to the proposal I posted last weekend, you'll see the key differences.

I know which I prefer: the proposal is quick, to the point, an outline of the book at a glance.

There are loads of 'how to' articles on synopsis writing available.
Read a few.
Make notes.
Play around.
Find your niche.

And write the best darn synopsis you can so an editor is begging to see your book .:)


Joanne said...

Thanks for posting the synopsis, I found it really interesting to read :)

Eric said...

I'll offer my big thank you as well. These things make such a dark tunnel for the likes of me. I guess the world is made up of happy writers (like yourself) and confirmed readers (like myself) ---- Eric

Lacey Devlin said...

Thanks Nic!

I like the proposal better too :)

Caroline said...

Thanks Nicola! Useful advice as always. Thanks! Take care. Caroline x

Nicola Marsh said...

You're welcome :)

OneToSixteenInTen said...

Thank you for this. I'm on track with mine.