Current Status: Freaked out
Food Consumed: Raspberry lemonade
On The iPod: Life on Earth; Band of Heroes
Word Count: 1,000
I’m in the middle of writing an application for an upcoming writer’s retreat and I am literally freaking out. I have no idea what I’m doing. I have the manuscript part done – I guess you could call that the important part. As for the CV and the synopsis the retreat is asking for… yeah, I’m stumped.
I think my biggest problem is that I don’t know what to tell them and what to leave out. What do you put in a writer’s CV, anyway?
The Writer’s CV
I’ve just googled the kind of content that should be included in a writer’s CV (because I seriously had no idea what to write AT ALL), and this is what I’ve come up with so far (please correct me if any of this sounds wrong):
– Your Writing Bio: a brief 150-200 piece touching on your successes as a writer, your future expectations, as well as a short introduction about yourself and the kinds of areas you like to write in.
– Comments: a listing of any testimonials you have received, either from industry giants or fellow writers (basically the kinds of things you find on the back cover of novels).
– Awards/Achievements: if you’ve won any kind of writing competition, no matter how small, this is where you mention your win. Also mention any highly commended or notable shortlistings.
– Publications: if you’ve ever had any of your work published – be it short stories, poems, or even reviews or newspaper articles – this is where you list those kinds of achievements. Unfortunately for the aspiring writer, blog reviews don’t count.
– Education: got a bachelor’s degree floating around in your drawer, but it’s not a writing-related degree? Who cares – list it anyway! Any kind of self-education counts and should be listed on your CV (though a degree in creative writing or english lit would certainly look a lot better to an agent or publisher than a degree in science).
– Work Experience: no matter what you’ve been doing with your life while you’ve been struggling away with your novel, list it here. This section is all about life experience.
What’s in a Synopsis?
Contrary to popular belief, a synopsis is NOT:
– a short story version of your manuscript
– a teaser
– a book blurb
– a piece of creative writing.
In short, a synopsis is one giant, two-page SPOILER that only your editor/agent/retreat judge should see. It’s all business, so the synopsis should be free of any creative flair that your manuscript has. It should cover the basic structure of the novel’s plot and character developement, and TELL rather than show exactly what your manuscript is all about.
Blunt writing is what makes a good synopsis, so keep it short and leave the fluffly stuff for the novel.
Phew! I’m glad I googled. I suddenly feel a lot less overwhelmed now that I have a better understanding on it all. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m about to write the perfect CV and synopsis. As with everything in the world, practice makes perfect.
I’m off to practice! (And finish the application!!)
What do you think should be in a writer’s CV and what should be left out? Is my blunt approach to synopsis writing how you would do it? Please discuss in the comments.