So you can handle a 300 page novel, but the very thought of writing a synopsis makes you break out in a cold sweat? Does writing a synopsis stop you from sending out queries to agents and editors? Pretty sure you’re missing the synopsis gene? Liz Czukas can help. Liz will teach you a simple formula for synopsizing with plenty of tips and tricks to help you get through the worst of it. Whether you’ve got a synopsis you’re currently struggling with or you just know you’ve got one looming in your future, this workshop is for you. They don’t call her The Synopsis Whisperer for nothing!
We had an opportunity to catch up with Liz and asked her to tell us a little more about how she deals with the dreaded SYNOPSIS.
WisRWA: Tell us a little about your publishing journey.
Liz: I am a slush pile success story! It took a lot of mistakes and rejections, and a few trunked novels before I finally attracted the attention of my awesome literary agent. But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows after I had an agent on my side, either! It took a few books before we made my first sale. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to have 5 books published. My current YA books were published by Harper Teen, and my adult romances are with Ballantine and Loveswept. I’ve also sold in foreign territories. It’s been an exciting few years in publishing, and I can’t wait to see where my career goes next!
WisRWA: I bet you don’t even have to write a synopsis anymore!
Liz: Ha! I wish! No, on the contrary, I find them more necessary than ever. Especially when it comes to selling a book on proposal. It’s the rare writer who can sell a book on a simple pitch. Most of us have to have sample chapters and a synopsis to make the deal.
WisRWA: So would you say your perception of the dreaded synopsis has changed during your writing career?
Liz: Well, I’ll be honest, I still don’t love them. But they are definitely a necessary part of my process and definitely an essential part of the selling side of the deal. I’ve learned how they can be helpful to me at all stages of writing, and most importantly how to give myself the upper hand in my rather tempestuous relationship with synopses.
WisRWA: What’s your favorite part about being a writer?
Liz: All of it! I can’t believe I’m actually doing what I love for a living. Even when the writing is frustrating, or the business side of the job is making me crazy, the fact that there are readers out there who love my books, and put them on their lists of all-time favorites, and take their time to send me a message or seek me out on social media…it’s like, pinch me! Is this really real?
WisRWA: So what’s next for you?
Liz: I am going to be joining the ranks of hybrid authors for the first time! I’ve got a new YA book coming out in December that I’m really excited about. It’s called Throwing My Life Away, and it’ll be available in ebook and paperback wherever you like to order your books. I’ve got a few other projects in the works that I’m not at liberty to discuss right now, but suffice to say that you haven’t gotten rid of me yet!
Don’t Fear the Synposis with Liz Czukas
Saturday, November 19th at Mayfair Mall Community Room in Milwaukee 9:00am to 11:30am
Liz Czukas is the author of books for teens like Ask Again Later, Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless, and the upcoming Throwing My Life Away. She also writes for adults such as When Joss Met Matt, Call Me Maybe, and Just a Girl under the name Ellie Cahill. Before becoming a full-time writer Liz got her bachelor’s degree in History and Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and illogically went on to get a Master’s in Nurse-Midwifery from Marquette University, which she put to good use as a Labor & Delivery nurse for nine years. Liz is a lifelong resident of the Milwaukee area, and currently lives in Brookfield with her family and her golden retriever.
WisRWA’s Fabulous Five Contest will be opening for entries in a few short months. As such, we are pleased to announce our final round judges for the 2017 contest.
Editor: Meghan Ferrell – Tule Publishing
Agent: Rachel Burkot – Holloway Literary Agency
Lexi Smail – Grand Central Publishing
Lisa Rodgers – JABberwocky Literary Agency
Shana Asaro – Harlequin Love Inspired
Jessica Kirkland – Blythe Daniels Agency
Theresa Cole – Entangled Publishing
Tricia Skinner – Fuse Literary Agency
Tara Gavin – Kensington Publishing Corp
Jennifer March Soloway – Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Caitlin Dareff – St. Martin’s Press
Sarah Phair – Trident Media Group
Young Adult/New Adult
Mekisha Telfer – Simon and Schuster
Shannon Powers – McIntosh and Otis
Coming in to its 26th year, this contest is open to unpublished and self-published writers so long as the entry has never been published before. Focusing on the first 2,500 words of a manuscript, first round judges evaluate the entry on the Opening, Characterization, Plot, Dialogue, Setting, and Style. All judges are encouraged to leave comments on both the scoresheet and in the entry itself. Our contest is known for giving good, thorough critiques no matter what level of the writing journey you are at. The top five finalists in each category move onto the final round where their work is ranked by one editor and one agent. Final rankings are averaged and the winner of each category receives a beautiful Silver Quill Award.
The contest opens on January 1, 2017 and will accept entries through March 1, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST. Categories need a minimum of 10 entries to continue and are capped 35 entries.
Information will be on the WisRWA website under the Contests tab by the end of November. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Contest Coordinator, Molly Maka, at firstname.lastname@example.org.