Hugo noms, synopses, and other things

A list of things in no particular order:

In my writing group last week, someone mentioned Miss Snark’s blog, which I hadn’t visited in a while. I checked out her posts on synopses and I think for the first time I actually understand how to write a synopsis. I’d always fallen into the trap of condensing each chapter into a paragraph, so my synopsis was just an extremely condensed version of the book. For one thing, that made it very hard to keep within the page count (most agents want your synopsis to be between 1-3 pages, and that’s reeeeaally difficult if you’re doing it this way.) For another, it was just a list of plot points without much character involved. Reading Miss Snark’s critiques showed me that you need to forget the chronology. Talk about the plot as it specifically relates to the character arc. Cut out the subplots and the minor characters. Focus on the key emotional turning points of the story. I wrote my synopsis on this advice and realized that the key emotional turning points of my novel really need some work. That’s a problem for draft 2.

Rob loaned me The Walking Dead omnibus 1 and 2. I’m just about done with 1. I don’t enjoy it as much of the show, and I’m curious what sort of world the author lives in that only men know how to shoot guns and only women know how to do laundry. Half of the women I know in real life are proficient with guns (and half the men I know aren’t). Everyone can do their own laundry because they’re not infantilized man children who go from mother to wife without having to fend for themselves a day in their lives. I’m glad that the women in the book eventually are taught how to use guns, though the fact that the women still all vote for the men to lead them because they want to be ‘protected’ is more than a little annoying. I’m not asking for anything extreme here, just a little dose of reality in this post-apocalyptic world.

In bigger news, Hugo Award finalists were announced on Saturday. You can look at the full list here. Ancillary Justice by Rachel Swirsky is my pick for Best Novel, even though I haven’t even read it yet. Given everything I’ve heard about it, I’d be really surprised if it doesn’t win. I do hope to read all the Best Novel nominees soon (except perhaps the Wheel of Time series… which totals 4.4 million words).

You might also notice that noted bigot Vox Day, who I’ve written about here, is on the list for his novelette “Opera Vita Aeterna”. Some people believe that that nomination was politically motivated. Vox Day and Larry Correia also recommended 12 other works, 7 of which made it onto the list of finalists. Were these nominations made to annoy people? Very possibly. But, as Scalzi points out, they have as much right to be on the list as any other book, and they should be judged on their own merits. Voting against them for political reasons will only prove the point they’re trying to make.

Further reading/viewing:
Quick 2014 Hugo Nomination Thoughts and No, The Hugo Nominations Were Not Rigged by John Scalzi
My open tabs by Mur Lafferty
SFF180 Special | 2014 Hugo Finalists: That Awkward Moment… (YouTube) by SFReviews.net