Thursday, April 8, 2010

Questions from "Ask the Inkpot"

Hello Bloggers! Here are two questions for you that were submitted to "Ask the Inkpot."

Dear Inkpotters:

I've finished my novel! I've put six years, and lots of blood, sweat, tears, heart, soul (and everything else) into it. It's revised now, and sitting on the desk of someone I hope will send me a nice letter soon.
Now what? It's been so long since I began a project, I don't remember how to start. I have a few ideas, but I can't seem to get going. Any advice for getting on to the Next Big Thing?

Signed, Too Much Freecell

Dear Inkpot Blog,
If an agent or editor asks to see a synopsis of a manuscript (and not the whole thing), but that manuscript is a picture long should the synopsis be, how should it be structured, and what should it include?
Signed, Unpublished


  1. 1. Stop thinking about it as the Next Big Thing. That's asking for trouble. Write something insignificant and beautiful. Second, there's a Robert Bly book called "The Point Reyes Poems" that I just love. It's all (or mostly) prose poems. I read a few of those and almost always get a little nudge to write something. 3. if all else fails, find a really good kisser and just make out for awhile.


  2. Ooooh, Freecell.

    It's hard. It took me a long time to be able to get into something new after my trilogy. It was really hard. I feel like it's like dating--just because you want desperately to meet someone else doesn't mean it's going to happen.

    But what you can do is try to put yourself in a position to meet that special someone--put up a whimsical, alluring ad on, hang out in bookstores looking literate and attractive. My brother once said, "You cannot date someone you have not," and I say you cannot write a book you haven't had an idea for. So, read a ton--this helps me a lot when I feel like the well is dry. Force yourself into things, like going to a coffee shop and freewriting for an hour. Read some more.

  3. QUESTION 2:
    First I am surprised that the agent/editor doesn't accept an entire pb ms (unless it's 2000 words or over), and I'd be suspect from the getgo. Many editors wave the ms synopsis for pbs, so make sure you have the right guidelines (a phone call to the office assistant can help clarify)

    However, write a paragraph or two of what the story is about. Include the main character(s), the conflict, setting (only if it's important), the intended audience, and how you envision it (32-page traditional format, 48 page, I Can Read, full-color art, etc.)

    In a separate cover letter give your salutation, any creditionals you have, and why you are writing this pb.

    But always, brief, polite and professional!
    Good luck!

  4. Excellent answer, Lisa. I too wondered why the request for a synopsis of a short picture book. So good idea to verify. CRM