I hate to give the plot away, but . . .


Why do agents/publishers want the full synopsis, including ending? Here goes:


Marcy Jennings, 32-year old, award-winning Foreign Correspondent for The New York Times has been all around the world. She loves her job and her nomad ways, even when some of her writing assignments put her in dangerous locations. She also loves her husband, parents, and the quiet refuge of her hometown, Herndon, Virginia.
When Marcy returns to Herndon to spend time with her family, accepting a permanent position for the local newspaper, her life is turned upside-down when her husband, Richard Crawford, abruptly moves out of the condo where they have lived for ten years. Marcy is left hurt and confused. Ultimately, she has to face the first shadow in her life that has been unresolved since college—a miscarriage which she told her fiancée, Rich, was an abortion. (Revealed much later in the novel and demonstrating how a little white lie can corrode a relationship and stop meaningful communication, even when love has found two soul-mates.)
Determined to face her problems head-on, Marcy moves forward with her life, even though she still feels in limbo. Through a human-interest story for the Style Section of The Herndon Chronicle, Marcy meets a younger man, Chuck Linsford, an established horse-breeder from Middleburg, Virginia, who inherited the horse farm from his Great Uncle. Marcy is impressed with Chuck as a true survivor and hero of the foster care system where he grew up. When they begin a consensual relationship, Marcy is swept up in the experience of steamy sex and the idyllic beauty of the Virginia countryside.
Little does she know that 22-year old Chuck is a skilled sociopath and a master at combining date-rape drugs into a sex-slave cocktail: Rohypnol (“The Forget Pill”), Ecstasy (a sexual enhancer), and Ketamine (a horse tranquilizer and hallucinogenic). Under the façade of an adoring lover, he makes her forget just completely enough—makes her sexual urges just strong enough—and tutors her in a paralyzed, altered state just long enough—for Marcy to become a sexual submissive, completely dominated and controlled, losing her grasp on reality, her self-worth, and self-esteem.
Other supporting characters in this erotic, romantic, psychological suspense are facing their own shadows, dealing with relationships in our fast-paced modern society, where secrets can be hidden and past transgressions are often misrepresented.
The cliché, “All’s well that ends well,” is not always the case. The neurological, physiological, and emotional side effects of date-rape drugs linger long after the drugs are out of the blood stream. Marcy must now face this second set of deep, dark shadows.
Marcy finds out her lover’s dirty secrets from Chuck’s elderly housekeeper. When she suffers a second miscarriage (Chuck’s baby), the physical and mental side effects of the drugs cause Marcy to almost bleed to death and suffer a complete mental breakdown.
Her husband reaches out to her from afar to prove that love and understanding can start the healing journey, physically and emotionally. The Epilogue reaches into the future as Marcy and Rich finally have the baby girl they have both wanted for so long, but were afraid to talk about. The shadows of sexual abuse still surface, but they face those nightmares together. There is hope!

20 thoughts on “I hate to give the plot away, but . . .

  1. I like the hopeful ending. I too am not sure why someone wanted you to simplify the entire book/story into this post. I could sharpen up the paragraph/sentence structure for you, though, if interested. It could use a little “tightening”. The date rape drug big honestly scared me a little. And, it made me wonder if this wasn’t somehow influenced by a trending trilogy out there.


    1. Publishers/Agents want a one-page, single-spaced, FULL Synopsis of the entire manuscript, including the ending, I prefer a brief teaser to generate interest, regardless of the audience. This was tedious work for me, but I decided to share it so other authors would know what the difference was between FULL Synopsis and just a basic, lead-in Synopsis. I’ve seen Agents/Publishers request a chapter-by-chapter playbook. What a waste of time! But for new authors, it’s invaluable information. If it’s written incorrectly, it goes in the circular file or recycle bin after a brief glance. Tightening up the sentences? Not needed for this audience, but thank you for the suggestion.


      1. I saw your “teaser” or blurb version of the synopsis and liked that better. I was a bit bored with the full version, to be honest. It sounded like you were looking for filler. The same thing that’s holding me back from completing my “opus”. I have some of the poignant details sorted out but not every chapter.

        Was this assigned to you for a blog? Or, did you do it to give budding authors an idea of what publishers/agents expect?

        So, the quality of the piece isn’t as important as the concept?


      2. Writingbolt:

        Yes, you have the right idea. It was what I had to send to a hardcopy publisher, and I used it as an example on my blog to show what’s expected when you deal with an agent or publisher. I didn’t like it either, but it did “teach” the completeness that is expected by agents/publishers. And, YES, it is sooooo . . . boring. Why would you read the book if you know what is going to happen? I like teasers, like on the back cover of my book, and even short, succinct, 1-paragraph teasers like I put on LinkedIn, other Business Websites, even my author’s page: http://www.facebook.com/BowmanBooks.

        In traditional publishing, you had to do a chapter-by-chapter synopsis, and it was very tedious. The quality of the piece is important, but you have to write a different synopsis for each audience. Even different publishers need a slightly different synopsis based on their guidelines, genres, and categories, which change, believe it or not, depending on the scope of the publisher. There is no blue-plate template.

        I’m glad you “got it.” I probably should have waited until later in my blogs to present this concept. I had to write it that day in answer to a specific publisher. I thought it would kill two birds with one stone. I went against my own “no blue-plate template,” didn’t I? Also, I thought I explained why this synopsis was so different than what I had previously blogged, but you would have to had followed my blog from the beginning, and I should never take that for granted. I apologize and stand corrected. Good luck with your “opus.” Any advice and assistance I can provide, please let me know. Which one of your blogs deals with your “opus”? I skimmed your cover page on “Women”? Somehow I don’t believe that is your opus. Good luck and thanks for the discussion.


      3. I just lost my long reply…stupid lack of a working mouse.

        Isn’t that like exposing the end of Harry Potter before it’s even on bookstore shelves for a few years? Or, did you only expose the long synopsis years after publishing?

        I guess this is all like resumes and applications. It depends on who’s “skimming” and how much time they care to invest. And, if you have to “tweak” what you summarize to appeal to different “audiences”…sheesh. It all sounds complex and like selling yourself in an unpleasant way.

        Yep, I’d have to catch every episode of “Bowman Author”. And, after a while, that might be a quite a task. Can I get a synopsis of your many posts?:P hehe I kid.

        No, I don’t have anything about my “opus” on here. I’d rather discuss that “work in progress” more privately.

        The “Women” post (page?) is something entirely different related to the other posts in that category which I thought was apparent…

        Thanks, and ‘welcome.


      4. Yes, giving the ending away in a synopsis would be suicide to try and sell books, but to sell to a publisher, you have to do it. I guess they don’t want any surprises. But if you don’t get their curiosity engaged, you don’t get an offer. A real Catch-22.

        Seeing all the posts on BowmanAuthor wouldn’t take long. I just started with wordpress 3-4 weeks ago. I think I have 14 posts, and some are short or just pictures. I want to do a video for LinkedIn, Facebook Bowman Books Page, and maybe as the intro to this series of blogs on old versus new publishing. Not sure if I will have it in time to launch the series on publishing, but at some point, I want to “talk”. It will be very short and sweet. Seeing someone speak with expression, mannerisms, voice, etc., creates a whole new level for a blog. After you see the short video, you’ll always hear the voice and see the person for future blogs.

        I definitely want to delve into creating personality, accent, inflection, voice, etc., on the written page. It’s one of the hardest things to do, but develops your character in a way that rings true. I’ve done theatre in the past and still do musical performances as well as speaking engagements. I act out all my dialogue to see if it works. The more senses you can use when learning or creating something, the more accurate it will be and the longer you will retain all the complexities of the character. Nothing irks me more than to be reading a book and the character’s personality and way of speaking changes in mid-stream. Sometimes multiple times! I hope to get some feedback to share and learn from each other on these difficult, yet essential, issues. Whatever it takes to stand out in the crowd and get your book at the top of the Internet slush pile. That’s what it’s all about. And slamming another author to make your book look better just doesn’t work. Supporting each other does. I firmly believe that.

        Sorry, I only looked at the post on Women on your page because it was the one that was on top, so to speak. Therefore, it was not apparent that your other posts were entirely different. That post does not do you justice if you are a writer. I’ll look back at some of the previous blogs and write to you again. Would that be agreeable?

        Thanks again for an interesting discussion.



      5. I hope–when you say you have to do this to snag a publisher/agent–you mean you did this privately already. It might be apparent. And, I may be missing the punch. But, I just want to be clear. If you posted it here first, I’d say the publisher who told you to do that was foolish or deceptive. It just doesn’t make sense. If you are trying to teach a publishing class of sorts–as you may be–then I guess (like I said) it’s a decent demo.

        True, it may only be 14 posts. I haven’t really memorized everyone’s count. I have been poking my nose in a few “writers'” works. If I was more “up to speed” in terms of a few things…I might be more inclined to delve into video postings. But, since my eyes can only take so much PC time before they start bugging me, I really lose interest in online pursuits in a matter of time.

        Wow, you are all over the place. Musical theater, books and conferences? Impressive.

        I think I’d need an acting partner to really act things out without feeling foolish. I draw a line in talking to myself before a mirror at some point:P I’ve dabbled in using my PC’s webcam. But, that’s about it.

        I do occasionally try to reflect accents or speech impediments in character (written) dialogue, though. But, not regularly talking with these nationalities, it lacks the lingo.

        You’ve read stories where the characters changed? Do tell. I’d like examples for reference. I worry about writing that way at times. If I start a project and put it down for a few weeks or months, I can easily forget where I left the character/story. One of my recent projects (I started), I was getting a good flow of parallel personal stories with interlocking schedules. Person A does this on Monday and crosses paths with Person B on Tuesday…then Person B shows us what they were doing Monday before crossing paths with A and going on to do something with C in response. Then, I take time off to refresh my thinking…and I lost track of the schedules. Intricate weaving of plots requires consistent attention/focus. But, one’s creative fuel only lasts so long before you burn out.

        Internet slush pile?

        Who’s slamming? I am sure there are a few “slammers” out there. It could also be a side-effect of the “business”. We become monster pawns for the profit/amusement of those we go to for “fame” and “fortune”. It kinda makes me sick to my stomach to think about. And, that’s what puts me on the defensive. Tail up.

        Yea…so…I looked at a few posts of yours…and you only look at the last one about what I look for in women?:P Nice. Unless you were authentically interested and went to that post intentionally.

        That was part of a subcategory under the topic of dating/relationships. It has little to do with my writing skills…though I surely had some witty little zingers in there somewhere. Even that topic can be vital subject matter in writing. So, whether it garners me a date or a perspective on relationships, I wrote it. And, anyone who wants to discuss it is welcome.

        Also, I am more than a writer. I am a person. A romantic. A movie lover. An artist. An amateur/casual astrologer. A natural therapist. And, not a man of few words:P

        Sure. And, don’t be afraid to use the CONTACT feature, either. It feels a bit strange having discussions in the comment sections of blogs.



      6. Contact feature? Do tell. I can run a publishing company, write & research books and novellas, blog, tweet, just found out how to help a follower reblog my stuff, but direct contact? Well, I’m sure it’s there somewhere. So sorry. I’m usually so giving. You look at me; I look at you. It’s so rude not to! I was overcome by “life” the past few weeks. My mother is ill, and I’m helping her out. There’s no wifi where she lives! And it’s in the U.S.! I’m releasing a novella this weekend, please let it be this weekend! But you and I, we have much to discuss in your last reply. I think I can help you a little bit. Little actions can have big results sometimes. So, teach me, contact. Debbie


      7. I was wondering where you vanished. Yea; don’t I have a button for “Contact Me”? I must because someone was able to contact me without me giving an address. Isn’t it on my About Me page or somewhere on the side of my posts?

        And, you can do all that?:P I’m inclined to say you have me beat.

        Why do we need to reblog something we could just tip a hat/link to another way? Blogs take up space. Small as they may seem.

        Well, bless her, then:P Maybe she lives in one of the few remaining utopias in this world. I am glad not all of the US is under siege of radio or microwave radiation. There may yet be hope for pristine earth.

        I would like to think so:) I know I need help on many levels:P Not just literary…although, I feel 90-95 percent confident in my writing skills unlike some of the published works I’ve “proofed”. I just struggle completing the task most of the time. I get a head full of steam and peter out before it’s through. Scattered by possibilities.

        I also would like to just float away with the words “We have much to discuss” as if I started a coffee chat club all of a sudden in a nicely sunlit library or bookstore…:D

        What is the difference between a novel and a novella? I know the latter is a short-er novel…but who judges the length?:P

        Yes, even the smallest grain of sand or drop of water can alter the balance of something.


      8. hmmm could be. I’ve been in marketplace for a couple of decades, but I took a decade break for health reasons. That’s why I’m learning as I’m going … again! Such fun! Blink your eyes and the whole world has changed.


      9. I feel like I am perpetually in need of a health break:P…either topical (skin), internal or mental.

        Indeed. I leave a job or school, and everything there changes the following year. I feel like some weird Johnny Appleseed.


      10. I wish it had been a GOOD health break. Topical, Internal, not so much mental, except when depression strikes. I don’t walk very well, but I’m a survivor and a fighter. Sounds like you are, too. Your humor is infectious! Writing humor is a challenge, and you do it so naturally. Keep up the good work!


      11. Writing humor or anything is only a challenge to those who lack the habit or gene. I don’t do dry, serious writing well. I hated writing papers in school…though I did have a sort of sick fascination with citing resources once I got into the habit. I had a hard time finding enough solid evidence to back my arguments. But, I loved dissecting texts for quotes.

        I hope my humor “virus” brings a little cheer to your day/week:)

        In what way do you struggle walking?


      12. I have had Lupus/Rheumatoid Arthritis for 23 years. I’m doing better now, actually, with some of the new meds on the market. I’m ghost writing a book in the transformational genre (non-fiction) now for a business associate. I’m learning a lot about myself, as I take “his” words, make them his own, only more fluent. English is not his first language. It’s a challenge and a learning experience. I’ve done this type of writing before, but fiction is still my love and passion! Humor, such as you do, is always a delight!


      13. …Don’t get me started on discussing modern medicine. I’ll just stop myself there because I can go on quite a tear about what’s wrong with it:P

        But, if it works for you and doesn’t give you kidney troubles or diabetes later, more power to you.

        I think there are things in the air we don’t know about that man has created which are causing these problems. And, it’s genetic mishaps, too. I am sure there have been animal studies that already show chickens suffering similar problems, but we don’t label it this or hand out meds for chickens. We post them for people after testing on chickens and then have to cough up a list of horrible side—-there I go again:P

        Non-fiction transformation?? Is this a spiritual/attitude thing?

        Yea, I bet that’s a challenge. I had a heck of a time translating my own therapist’s accent/lingo in sessions my family was paying for. I hope your guy is patient and cooperative.

        I am not sure when you see humor, but if it makes you smile, okie dokie. Just don’t confuse me being serious for a joke.


      14. Ah, yes, modern medicine. I’m into a combination of “what the doctors say” that you take with a grain of salt (a 5-lb bag, at least!) and holistic. I think the holistic/dietary and me knowing how my system reacts to things is my best asset in staying mobile. I haven’t been back in that ugly chair with wheels for over ten years now, just a cane, which I laughingly tell everyone is for style.

        I think I’ll be able to tell when you’re being humorous or writing satire in a serious vein, since that’s so “me” in a nutshell. Some of the things I poke the most fun at, are the things I’m most serious about. I see that in you. I send this as a compliment. Laughing at the world, when you really want to cry, is positive energy. I wish we could spread more positive energy in light of recent events in our world.

        I loved your blog on CCS (Chronic Christmas Syndrome) and had written you this wonderfully descriptive reply about Halloween and Thanksgiving being lost in the consumerism, and SLAM, Windows decided to download a bunch of stuff to update my computer (also known to me as my “confuser”). So I lost the “word paintings” I was sending to you. Oh well, probably too silly anyway. But I am a musician and I get sick of Christmas music even when I get paid to play it! Especially when it starts in October!

        Last tidbit, the transformational book is definitely an interesting diversion. It is Eastern Meditation based, I guess, and I’ve studied much of that for my own relaxation/pain control use. The research the guy has done is a little much, but yes, he is very cooperative and when I say TMI, he bows to my leadership. It’s a good working relationship, and I’m so glad I can usually write off-the-cuff in a jiffy. We’re at 7610 words, 28 pages (8-1/2 x 11), and about 1/5 of the way home. Five chapters with two sections in each, and I just finished the Cover, Copyright Page, Dedication page with some blanks, Foreword, Introduction, and Chapter One, Section One–Text; Section Two–graphics and chart format. We’re going to stay with that format. I think the hardest part is accomplished, which was me understanding his total concept. Now that we’ve defined everything, I think I can work at a faster pace. First section took 3 weeks? We’re shooting for November 22nd as the completion date. It will be a “crunch” for sure, but I think I can do it. My fiction in the meantime is suffering, and marketing is halted. But a few $$ in my pocket will help my mission: Publishing and promoting my own material, while helping other authors/writers with the boring editorial points. “Clasid Consultants Publishing: More Than Mere Words and Pictures!” My new tag line. Debbie


      15. Well, you could always dress the cane up or get a different one for every day of the week and special occasions…and/or fill the cane with the salt you need to take your medicine instead of sugar like Mary Poppins’ brood takes:P

        Well, I guess humor is my way of deflecting serious blows not unlike Robin Williams (without the huffy ranting he tends to do:P). But, sometimes, I am serious, and it irks me when people think I am or need to be amusing all of the time. It’s like a weird version of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” where the boy (me) isn’t joking all of the time.

        You have your computer on auto update? That would be something I’d probably change/fix so you don’t lose your work…although, if your PC is like mine, it tends to save whatever I am typing in a “temp file” somewhere which I then have to find with some weird number attached to it before transferring the text to the real file. Anyway, I turned off auto update so I can filter out some that aren’t crucial and stay in control of the darn thing.

        I hate losing my creations to computer failure. I have used a cheap Photoshop wannabe in recent years that likes to crash for whatever reason when I am in over my head with variations of one image. It’s like the system becomes overwhelmed, and I lose 2-6 hours of work in a red X with no hope of recovery.

        Wait, wait, on top of everything else you’ve briefly mentioned doing, you are a paid musician somewhere? Playing Christmas music??

        Yea, no. I don’t care how much you pay me. I am not playing Christmas music (if I could play) before December 1st:P And, no later than January 7th, after the Dia de los Reys.

        Sounds like a load of mental traffic, juggling your own writing and this “research project”.

        Clasid? Tag line for your own editor-for-hire side business?


      16. Writing Bolt, I love your humor, and when you’re not making me laugh, I see the serious person underneath who has a beautiful sensitivity. These are both essential ingredients for the recipe of a writer. Christmas music: I only hate one type of music more: St. Paddy’s Day. You only play it once a year for one day, and no musician ever gets it right, unless of course, you’re Irish and play it 365 days a year! But I do love to drink green beer and have fun on St. Paddy’s day. I just don’t want to play “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” until the cows come home. Or Danny Boy (which is really Scottish, by the way). Very sad song. Scottish is my heritage. I’m incorporating my heritage in a full-length historical fiction book, I hope to have out early next year. It came to me in a past-life hypnotic regression. Seriously! Intriguing stuff if you’re into the a spiritual, metaphysical vein. Celtic goddesses and Queen Bodica! I have my computer on save for WORD 2010 and Microsoft Publisher, but it didn’t save or let me recover when I was doing a comment on WordPress. I’m still getting the hang of that web site. I’m replying today from my email, so this should come straight to you, I think. Trying to teach an old dog new tricks, I guess. But I’m determined to learn! Deb > Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2013 23:36:11 +0000 > To: livinginashadow@outlook.com >


      17. Well, that put a smile on my face at this hour:) The qualities of a writer. Take that, Sue Grafton:P I kid:D

        St. Patrick’s Day music? I rarely hear any of that. I suppose that could get just as bothersome. I used to ogle the girls in my class who did Irish jigs…even though I thought the ribbons in the hair were a bit…ugly. But, I’ll take Irish flute music over most Christmas tunes:P I can name on one hand the holiday tunes I don’t mind hearing more often than not. Two are versions of Carol of the Bells.

        I’d rather drink my own spit than green beer. Bleh. I’ll take a Shamrock Shake instead:P

        I had a science teacher who sang the “Irish Eyes Are Smiling” song almost daily. It always made me think of Popeye sitting on a stump with a pipe in his mouth in an Irish Spring commercial.

        Ugh, Danny Boy…I think that one would send me to the loo to clean the pipes. Yes, the pipes are calling…from my small intestine.

        Now, there’s something I can’t say I’ve seen or heard much of…Irish/Scottish historical fiction. I wouldn’t mind doing some kind of leprechaun or banshee mystery by the foggy sea tale one of these days.

        Past-life hypnotic regression??:P When was this??

        And, you’re going to write it in less than a year?

        Oh, I get into the spiritual/paranormal now and then. I just don’t usually go for the “Paranormal Activity” or horror angles. I’m more for the lost loves waiting by the seashore, spirits passing in the night type of stories.

        Web site or program on your computer? I am confused by the WORD 2010/MS Publisher bit.

        I dunno how you reach a post by email. But, anything seems possible.

        I think I am feeling like an older dog:P Arf.


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