Guest Post

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

The dreaded synopsis on my computer screen

cj Sez: I’ve been toiling on the dreaded synopsis for an unnamed work-in-progress. 

What is a synopsis, you may ask. The very successful publishing consultant Jane Friedman defines the synopsis this way:
“The synopsis conveys the narrative arc of your novel; it shows what happens and who changes, from beginning to end.”  (“Back to Basics: Writing a Novel Synopsis” )

  Basically, the starting sentence of my synopsis is my elevator pitch . . . twenty-five or so words that might pique the curiosity of an agent in the few seconds I have if we’re caught on an elevator together.

  The synopsis also reflects the same voice/tone as the manuscript. The document will be chronological in terms of where things happen in the manuscript and to whom. All the story threads will be neatly tied up, but it will include only major characters and major scenes. Beginning, middle, and end which means even if it’s a mystery, it will (must) reveal the ending. This is, after all, going to an agent or publisher.

  When I’m finished with the whole thing, I’ll ask another writer if s/he can make sense of what the story is about and if are there questions that need answering. Of course, that means I’ll need to get into edit cycle four, five, et al.

  Normally, I wait until the manuscript is complete to do a synopsis, but a friend of mine suggested doing a synopsis for each chapter as it’s completed. That does sound easier since everything is really fresh in my mind.

  The interesting thing for me about writing the synopsis is that it helps me identify plot holes; hopefully, all of them.

Three questions:
Ques 1: When do you write your synopsis…when the manuscript is complete or when each chapter is complete?
Ans: . . . .

Ques 2: We’re about a month out from the first day of summer so I’m asking…why are we seeing hellacious heat and humidity on the Gulf Coast already?
Ans: Okay, I know the answer to that one. It’s because Mother Nature doesn’t pay attention to humankind’s calendar.

Ques 3: Next week is Memorial Day weekend…anyone care to guess how high the national average for gas prices will be? They’re already on the way up.
Ans: And your guess is. . . .   

That’s it for this post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


A review of Deadly Star from Rebecca Barrett, author of Trouble in Paradise: "cj petterson has crafted a tale of murder, espionage, and romance which builds to a dramatic and satisfying conclusion. With a gift for well-written dialogue and a deft touch at creating suspense, Ms. petterson delivers a must-read story in Deadly Star."           
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Sunday, May 13, 2018

One hundred ten years ago, it was just a nice idea.

cj Sez:  I read someplace that love is the deepest emotion we share with one another. So, to all the Moms out there. . . I hope your Mother’s Day is filled to overflowing with love.

A bit of Mother’s Day history (from

In 1908 Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families, and it was declared a U.S. holiday in 1914. Her idea was to wear a white carnation as a badge and visit one’s mother or attend church services. She originally worked with the floral industry to help promote Mother’s Day,

That turned out to be a bad idea because by 1920, she had become so disgusted with the holiday’s commercialization, she urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards, and candies. 

In the U.S., people spend more money on Mother’s Day than on any other holiday, but we’re not alone in honoring our moms. Some version of Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world, although traditions and dates vary.

In Thailand, Mother’s Day was introduced in May 1950, but in 1976, the date was changed to August 12the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, who is considered the mother of all Thai people. (cj Sez: A May 11 Facebook post that the 85-year-old monarch, who has been in and out of hospital in recent years, had died is repudiated as untrue: "However the May 2018 report has now been confirmed as a complete hoax and just the latest in a string of celebrity death reports." )

In Ethiopia, Mother’s Day this year starts on May 13 as it does in the U.S., but their celebrations of motherhood will continue for three days.
When we lived many miles apart, I sent flowers to each son on Mother’s Day, because they have always been a source of pride. And besides, I wouldn’t be a mother without them. This year, they gave me roses. They could have given me dandelion blossoms, slightly crushed and moist from a sweaty little palm, as they did when they were little, and I could not have felt more loved.

I can’t end this post without remembering my Mom, as I do most every day. I’m grateful that she was the mother who soothed my fears, dried my tears, and patted my rear when I needed it. No matter what mistakes I made, she was a non-judgmental, sweet, sweet soul who believed in me. Thank you, Mom. You are forever in my heart.

That's it for today's post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I'll try to do the same. 

PS:  No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement.  — FLORIDA SCOTT-MAXWELL

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