This month I’ve been teaching an online workshop for the Lowcountry RWA chapter on ‘writing a synopsis that sells’ and I’ve re-discovered the magic of voice. The group ranges from newbie to published authors in genres from historical to paranormal romance novels. They are fabulous!
I think synopsis is a word that causes fear in most writers – I know it did for me. And what pulled me clear of my irrational reaction (hives, tantrums, candy binges) was doing some editing for a dear friend of mine. In the role of editor I learned more about author voice and watched great voices shine in manuscripts and go completely dull in synopsis.
That was okay, and not unexpected, and I learned to read between the lines to find the plot points and character arcs of each submission. But when a voice shines through in the manuscript and the synopsis, it’s a bonus – and gives an editor confidence that it will be a strong, crucial element throughout the paranormal romance novel.
As part of the synopsis class, I post writing exercises (naturally) and I’ve been thoroughly amazed by the way voice is coming through in the replies. Spunky, serious, feisty, relaxed, suspenseful, each writer in the class has let their voice shine in the assignments. It’s a visible affirmation that voice truly is the essential element of paranormal romance novels.
No matter what genre or sub-genre you read or write; no matter if you prefer your heroes as shifters, vamps, or mere humans, letting everything that is uniquely ‘you’ influence your words, phrasing and world building makes the difference for the reader. In the synopsis and most importantly in the novel. It’s voice that will push your paranormal romance novel to the head of the pack.
But how do you make voice happen?
Give yourself permission to write it first, the way it sounds best to you, with the words and setting that give you chills or make you smile. Let your characters play in a world you enjoy. Then go back and edit to polish the plot and put the best spotlight on the characters and their development. Writing, editing, and writing more is the only way I know to hone a voice into an essential element of paranormal romance novels.
Live the adventure!
Check out this new cover for Justice Incarnate!