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Announcement of Winners

Romantic Shorts

is pleased to announce the winners of our

New Year New Story Writers Competition

It is a common comment after the judging is finished and the winners are to be announced.

“The judging was difficult. All of the stories are worthy of a first place finish. Our decision was quite difficult.”

And we think, “Yeah, yeah, stop trying to make everyone feel good and get to the good stuff.”

But in this case, we had a most remarkable turn of events for our competition. Because we specified “unpublished authors,” we did ourselves a bit of a disservice. We received queries, engaged in conversation, researched, asked, and deliberated at length. The big question, “What exactly, in this age of technological advance in publishing, is a published author?” We drew a line in the sand and decided that, because of the clear ambiguity of the term, we would go with what we have, and, in the future, will not make any division amongst our writers, accepting entries/submissions from all authors.

And so, after all was said and done, we received four entries that actually qualified for the competition. If we also look at the number and quality of the non-competition submissions, sent to us simply with the query to consider publication, we are most pleased with the response to our first Writers Competition!

Enough already, get to that good stuff you mentioned!

The winners of the
New Year New Story 2011 Writers Competition
are as follows:

Winning a cash prize of $40. and publication by Romantic Shorts

A centuries old curse unites good and evil,
future and past, prisoner and guard.
The power of love can release these captives from their tortured fate.
But only if they can find each other and rediscover their feelings.
Will the cards finally lead them to their heaven on earth?
Or will they be forced to relive their quest yet again?

Rosetta Stone by Ashley Long

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Winning a cash prize of $50. and publication by Romantic Shorts

Having mortgaged her very self for her marriage and children,
Laura finds herself trying to accept ‘content’
as an acceptable measure of her life.
Until a handsome stranger she knows too well
shows her that passion conquers acceptance,
and opens a door to a new beginning.

A Day In St. John’s by Deborah Schenberger

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Winning a cash prize of $100. and publication by Romantic Shorts

While VP Evangeline Martin knows exactly what she wants and how to get it,
the off duty side of this walking contradiction
has no idea what her heart truly desires.
At least, that’s how Cedric sees her.
But when her life is threatened and it falls on him to protect her,
it’s difficult to say whose heart is in more danger
and which darkness holds the greater risk.

What The Darkness Proposes, by Kirsten Blacketer

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And, winning our top cash prize of $250. and publication by Romantic Shorts

In the true spirit of Romance,
this story deftly takes the reader on a journey through the past
in the mind of a man in love.
As we follow his memories to a time and place where his heart was free,
we hope and want for the girl on the train to be his one.
We are left with the feeling of our own first loves:
the joy, the anticipation, the excitement, and the fear,
and we connect with him in a way that leaves us in awe
of the strength of those tender moments spent with our hearts on fire.

Play Me A Song, by Jeannine Wynne

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It is our profound pleasure to introduce these new authors to you. Congratulations to our writers!

Watch for their winning entries, as well as many other addictive romantic short stories, to appear at RomanticShorts.com beginning in August. Biographies and links to our authors’ pages will be released shortly. Readers can subscribe now to catch the launch of our much anticipated publication by clicking over to our Reading Room. Watch for announcements, polls, and perhaps the odd contest as we prepare to provide you with some of the most eagerly awaited reading on the Web.

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The Importance Of A Synopsis

Oh, you’ve worked so hard at finishing your manuscript and it’s truly a masterpiece. Congratulations!

Now it’s time to pitch it to a publisher, most of whom simply want an idea of what your story is about so that he or she can decide whether or not it’s worth the time.

Think carefully about this. You do the same thing. When was the last time you opened a book without reading the back cover first. Do you ever watch a television show without reading the description? Ever seen a movie trailer?

We like to know what we’re getting ourselves into.

But never does an intro weigh as heavily as it does for your manuscript. It is estimated that you have between 2 and 30 seconds to win over an editor. Two seconds can cover as little as a single sentence!

But no pressure. Enter the synopsis.

Keep your goal in mind. Your synopsis, first and foremost, should adhere to the publisher’s guidelines. Many are very specific as to  length and format. Know your audience.

If, on the other hand, you’re left to your own creativity, here are some tips.

Length Can Matter – A Lot

Try to make the length of your synopsis suit the length of your story. While it can be quite difficult to sum up a 100,000 word novel into two paragraphs, resist the temptation to give two full pages of details for your 10,000 word novella.

A good guide is approximately 2-5% of your word count. 2000-5000 words for the novel. 200-500 for the novella. Depending on the topic, anecdotes and short stories should fall into the 100-250 word range.

Don’t overdo it. But give yourself some space to sell your work. You’re writing a synopsis. Not a novel…

What To Include

In a nutshell, you’re telling your story. You’re outlining your setting, introducing your characters, and summarizing your plot. You’ll want to include all of your key components, plot twists, and, yes, the ending. And don’t use the words ‘spoiler alert.’ You’re talking to an editor, not a reader.

Don’t explain why you named your characters what you did. Don’t get into how you know about a certain topic. Don’t give background information that isn’t included in the story. Don’t ask questions. Just summarize the story.

You can discuss your inner most inspirations and ideas at your book signings. The editor just wants the goods.

Is There Room For Style?

Don’t include anything in your synopsis that the reader won’t find in the story. And that includes style. If the story is humourous, write the synopsis with the same sense of humour. Casual dialogue and dialect? Match it in the synopsis. You are telling the story in a shortened, accurate, and effective fashion. You are not describing your story as if it were written by someone else.

Remain true to your point of view as well. First person story? First person synopsis.

The only thing that changes for the synopsis is the tense. Regardless of the timing of your story, the synopsis is typically told in the present tense.

Keep in mind, you have the chance to exhibit your skill when an editor reads a witty – even snarky – summary of a black comedy, immediately after the professional demeanor of your polished cover letter.

Be True To Your Story

Probably the most difficult point to relay, and the reason for this post, is the failure of the synopsis to adequately reveal the genius in the story. I received a fairly uninteresting query from an author who submitted what amounted to a television preview report of the story – a scant and boring paragraph – within the query letter. In fact, if not for a spectacular pen name that caught my eye, I would not have continued beyond the cover letter itself – a rejection letter forming in my mind as I turned the page over.

But because I glimpsed a little imagination in that name, I decided to give the manuscript a go.

This story had me from the first line! Some of the best writing I’ve received: witty, sharp, excellent dialogue, and some intriguing details throughout. The point of view alone left me eager to read.

Lucky day for that writer.

Do not count on that kind of luck. Sell your story. It was worth writing – make sure the editor sees that.

Polish Polish Polish

Finally, your synopsis is your calling card. It’s the tool that will either sell an editor on giving you a chance or land you in the trash. The most common reason for the latter is lack of polish. Give as much care and effort to the editing of your synopsis as you did to your manuscript. Grammar, sentence structure, spelling are all critical to the impression you’ll make. No editor will ask for more crap. Show off your editing skills and land that sale.

Don’t think for a minute that your manuscript will be requested if your synopsis doesn’t turn some heads. Lead with your best foot forward. Overlooking the quality of your synopsis – whether one paragraph or a small book – will ruin your chances with your manuscript. Guaranteed.

Writers, editors, what are your thoughts?
How important is it to ace the synopsis?

 

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Update for Our Writers

Just a quick note to touch base with all authors who have manuscripts submitted with us:

We’re getting there!

Things are happening fast here on our side. We are putting into place an advertising model and contracts that will see the smooth launching of our publication this summer. It’s quite exciting!

The bottom line right now is that we won’t contact our writers about their stories until we have our laundry ironed: the contracts, legalities, and presentation platform all ready. I want to focus first and foremost on our advertising program right now – it will be great to open with some financial potential.

And more than anything, to be able to offer our authors royalties on their stories is one of our top priorities!

Competition winners will be announced June 30th.

We will begin to offer contracts in July and expect to be avidly reaching out to Readers in August.

In the meantime, we are still accepting unsolicited manuscripts from all writers. Click here for submission details.

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