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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Please Help Me Welcome Baby Juliet!

So a few weeks ago I warned that the blog might go silent when the little bundle I was carrying decided to make her appearance, and now I’m happy to report that Juliet Wallach is officially here!

She arrived healthy, happy, and just in time for Easter weighing in at 7lbs 11oz. She’s already tall at 21 inches long and she has a full head of hair.

Isn’t she cute? We call that her diva shot because it looks like her arms are dancing.

And to further prove she’s mine, here’s a picture of the two of us together. (Doesn’t it look like she’s thinking, “Oh, be still my heart…” in this photo?)

While I’d like to claim credit for the awesome pictures, they were actually taken by the hospital photographer. She was about a day and half here and I hadn’t showered since my delivery (which you should consider more impressive since I went natural to 9 cm through no desire of my own--anesthesiologist was busy with a c-section somewhere).

We’re both taking a well-deserved rest now as we get to know each other, but I should be back to regular blogging soon. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Writing The Dreaded Evil Synopsis

So I was recently asked to write a synopsis for my WIP. My reaction? Oh, God, not that. Anything but that.

It’s hard enough for writers to condense the plots of their 300-plus page novels into two paragraphs when they’re querying, but at least then, you know your goal—get in, get out, whet their appetites. Leave them wanting more.

This is not the case with the synopsis.

You must now condense the entire plot of your book, including the ending, plus all the important characters and any interesting subplots (love triangles, backstories, feuds) into three-to-five pages. Then, you have to write this wonderful synopsis in the same “voice” as your novel and hope that it was done in such a compelling way that the editor/agent/whomever wants to pick up your 300-page novel and keep reading.

Fun, right?

Well, I got through it. So I thought I’d share a few tips I learned about writing a synopsis this time around:

1. Avoid the words, “And then.” For example, “Angie went to the mall. And then she met the guy of her dreams. And then they went to the movies. At the movies, they ran into her ex-boyfriend. And then a fight ensued.” You get the picture.

2. Stick with only the main characters. Don’t waste time mentioning the name of any character who will only be referenced once in your synopsis. It just gets confusing. So if your heroine kisses a random football player at a party, don’t mention that the football player’s name is BOB unless he ends up being central to the rest of the story.

3. Make sure to focus on character development.
Fight the instinct to make the synopsis entirely about plot. You need to show how your character will change from the beginning to the end of the novel. Delve into her emotional conflicts. For example, “When Angie’s friends turn their backs on her, she’s sent reeling into depression. Refusing to leave her house for days, her thoughts grow increasingly dark.”

4. A few well-placed questions can help when summing up how the plot moves forward.
I know that questions are often avoided in a query, but when writing the synopsis of my current WIP—which is a mystery—I found this device useful. For example, “Angie’s left wondering why her father refuses to discuss his childhood and why there isn’t a single family photo from his youth. Did he really grow up in Ohio? If so, why is he receiving a high school reunion announcement from Hawaii?”

Okay, I hope this helps! And I hope you don’t find yourself having to write a dreaded synopsis anytime soon. But if you do, try to fight the urge to scream at the email requesting it, “Just read the book! Then you’ll know what happens!” Trust me, that won’t get you anywhere.


That gentle sound of taps you hear playing in the background is the end of not only an era, but a genre. Last week, ABC announced it was cancelling ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE. This means come 2012, only 4 soaps will be left on the air. In 1970, there were nineteen. As a soap fan—a tradition passed down to me by my grandmother (as is the case with many soap fans)—I find this depressing. Not only were a lot of people put out of work—from actors to crew members—but it also shows the network’s lack of respect for fans. For years, I feel that the writers of soaps have switched focus from “love in the afternoon” to gun violence and baby killing. And while a good dramatic plot is fantastic once in awhile (BJ’s heart on GH), I personally don’t think it’s what the average soap fan is looking for at 2pm. But rather than listen to their wants, network execs cancelled the shows to replace them with cheaper reality programming and talk shows. Because we all need another VIEW, right? Let’s hope us remaining soap fans can band together to keep Y&R, GH, Days and B&B going strong long enough for the networks to reconsider killing the genre. Otherwise, what are my future grandkids gonna watch when I come over to babysit?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Coming Out of the Closet, Or Should I Say Diaper Genie

So there’s something I’ve been keeping under wraps for, oh say about nine months now. I just wasn’t ready to announce it to the blogosphere, but I’ve hit the point where there’s a part of my brain constantly thinking about it, so I have to say something or I’m going to explode (which I’m scheduled to do in about 3 weeks anyway). Yup, I’m preggers.

I’m officially due at the end of the month. This is my first. And it’s a girl.

So while I searched for a new agent, revised two books, and prepared for a new submission, I also had a little one kicking me and a nursery to decorate and clothes to wash in special detergent and bottles to sterilize and baby books to read.

I think I’ve taken nesting to a new level. Ever since we took that labor and delivery class at the hospital (yes, the one where they show that video), I’ve been on super pregnant mode. To quote my husband, “This sh!t just got real.”

We’ve done everything from put up bead board to paint the bathroom. Even the diapers are unpacked and the hospital bag is ready.

All the while, I’m trying to complete the edits to my WIP in time to send out a submission before anyone even thinks of contracting. It’s like a game of beat the clock, only the clock kicks you every time you think you’re onto a great revision idea. And it’s getting more uncomfortable to sit in my desk chair.

So if I suddenly disappear in a few weeks and you don’t hear from me, you know where I’ll be—knee deep in a Diaper Genie. But don’t worry I’ll post a picture of the little one, and I’m sure she’ll be decked out in pink.

POP CULTURE RANT: Grey’s Anatomy
You know what you shouldn’t watch when you’re nine months pregnant? A show where a pregnant lady goes through a windshield and they all sing about it. Then they deliver her 24-week-old baby while she’s in a coma. Yeah, that episode was a mistake. I’m still emotionally recovering. What was I thinking? I knew the minute Cali took off her seatbelt that something was going to go wrong, but I just couldn’t turn away. Glutton for punishment.

Copyright © 2008 Diana Rodriguez Wallach, All Rights Reserved