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Plot Synopsis Project

jpsorrow had an idea, which is responsible for this post. He thought it would be useful, helpful, or at least not entirely boring if a bunch of novelists posted a synopsis or outline that was used to actually sell a book.

As many of you are probably painfully aware, outlines are the anti-book, as far as I'm concerned. They are dreadful, horrible, book-killing things, because you have to hit the plot points of a book, and make it all sound compelling and interesting. If you do this, however, you are bleeding energy from the actual book itself, at least if you're me, because even if it is many, many pages short of actual novel, you have already told the story, and the incentive to, you know, tell the story is severely lessened as a result.

I would go so far as to say: the outline girdles the book, in my mind. The open possibility of the world has collapsed into what's contained in the outline; it is massively stifling, for me. I know that other authors are actually sensible about their outlines, and they deviate all over the place as the book requires -- but I have a lot of difficulty doing this myself because at some visceral level, if the publisher bought the book on the outline I feel that they expect to get the book they bought. And no less an editor than pnh has told me, in a very polite way, that this is retarded -- but it's an emotional reaction, sadly, not an intellectual one, and no matter what I say to myself about it, I can't get out from under it.

As is always the case, anything I say about the writing process carries the invisible in my own writing tag; it's not meant to be prescriptive. There are no two writers who work the same way, and even one writer will have entirely different approaches to writing a novel from book to book.

So, disclaimer out of the way? I hate outlines. I sold The Sun Sword(all six books, although at the time it was not supposed to be six books) on 2 double spaced pages in which I basically said "This is what the dark god wants. And everyone else has to stop him." But my editor had already received two novels from me, she knew how I worked, and she knew that I had written four books previous to the two she published, so the synopsis for that series did not seem like it would be at all helpful to anyone not in a similar position. Which left me only one other possible entry.

When I decided to try to write something for Luna, I was dealing with an editor I had never even met, one who didn't have any clue how I worked. I needed to send my agent something he could use to sell a book to someone who knew nothing about me (and was therefore not inclined to be indulgent). I have no confidence in my ability to outline, so I decided to write three chapters and an outline. (It ended up being 4 chapters, because it's me, and I always go long). I did not have the rest of the book finished, and when I asked my agent how long, roughly, the outline should be, he said 10-15 pages (ie outline, not synopsis). Other people have said 3-5 pages, and I don't know if that's manuscript format or not (mine was), but, well. Agent.

So what follows is the outline portion of the partial/outline on which I sold Cast in Shadow. It is the only outline that I've ever written for publication (or at all, really). The chapters for the partial are the first four chapters of the published book, if you want to look at those to see what was submitted; very, very little changed, in those, but the outline presupposes that the reader has, in fact, read the four chapters.




CAST IN SHADOW

Kaylin has a life outside of the Hawks -- barely. Although she's part of the police force, shift-work doesn't exist in Elantra; she's on call, and when she's needed, she works. She doesn't always get there on time, but she does work.

When she's not on duty, she spends part of her time doing volunteer work at the orphanage in the quarter; she also moonlights -- without pay, in spite of anything else she might say -- with the midwives when there's an emergency.

Two days after her encounter in the fiefs, she's still dragging her feet -- but this time she's dragging them into the orphanage. It's in the orphanage that we see clearly what her unformed powers are capable of: she can heal the injured and the sick. It's not easy, and it's time-consuming; it's also a highly, highly prized skill. There are perhaps four healers in the Empire of Ala'an -- and they're all seconded by the Emperor.

So Kaylin isn't legally a healer. An open secret in the very closed ranks of the Hawks, it's technically forbidden -- because the Hawklord knows that her power is a wildcard, and it's a wildcard in a game whose nature is at best hidden. He trusts what he knows of her; he knows that he doesn't know everything.

Knows, in fact, that Kaylin doesn't either. But even the Hawklord knows when to let his Hawks fly; Kaylin heals the orphans, and does that duty as well when the mid-wives deem it necessary -- and they can reach her. On this day, she heals one of the young girls, who is very close to death. It's costly.

The next day, she gets another emergency call: this time to the fiefs. A third body has been discovered; a boy about eleven years old. She uses the fieflord's mark to claim authority over the body, deflecting Nightshade's Barrani, who are also on the scene. Tiamaris covers the corpse, gathering it in his arm, and they return to the Halls of Law, the Hawklord, and his mages. By the end of the dissection, magical and mundane, the marks on Kaylin's arms have changed. The writing is darker and bolder. Tiamaris makes the connection between the death of the boy and the change in those marks -- but it's not rocket science for Kaylin at this point; she can guess. She's been in a state of denial, and at this point, all she really wants to know is who the killers are. Because no one knows; no one has seen them. Spells have been cast, and they've always failed. Even the prophetic visions of some of the hit-and-miss seers employed by the Emperor and his Lords of Law have returned only mangled nonsense about the gathering shadows.

The only thing the children have in common is that they're all between the ages of ten and twelve, and they all lived in the fief of Nightshade -- very close to where Kaylin and Severn once lived. Kaylin studies the records of the old deaths, something she's always avoided -- because she was determined to believe they had ended for good. Of the thirty-eight deaths in the first "incident", she discovers that all of the children who were killed were killed in areas that Kaylin knew, and knew well. All of them.

Kaylin doesn't know who her father was; in the fiefs, this isn't exactly rare. She dimly remembers her mother, but her strongest memories are of Severn, because she met him when she was five and he was almost eleven. He was her family, and her guardian; her first friend, and the person she best loved and trusted. Which is more than she wants to remember.

Two days of regular street duty pass, and then, on the third day, Kaylin gets a personal call via the mirrors in the office. It's the orphanage. It's an emergency. One of the foundlings has gone missing -- a ten year old girl. The child that Kaylin healed days before.

Kaylin rushes out to the orphanage in a panic. Severn finds her. When Kaylin sees him there, she goes berserk at the sight of him, and she forces him out, onto the streets. A lot of pent up fury and a terrible sense of loss and betrayal hones itself -- and Kaylin -- into a murderous frenzy, and they fight until the Hawks arrive to separate them.

Kaylin is on report -- and in a lot of trouble.

She finally tells the Hawklord what Severn did in the fiefs. They didn't live entirely on their own. They lived with two children, one three years younger than Kaylin, and one almost the same age. Kaylin had just begun to discover that she could do things -- magical things -- that were strange. It scared her. It scared them all. Severn disappeared, as he often did, one night, and when he returned he was strange. He was strange for most of the next two days, but she assumed it was because it was winter, and they were all worried about starving. It passed.

But when the marks on Kaylin's arms first appeared, it returned again, and in force. And when Kaylin returned from a hunting expedition, she found that Severn had killed the other two children. Terrified, sick, in pain, she fled the fief -- and six months later, she emerged in the city of Elantra, in the Halls of law.

The Hawklord asks Kaylin why Severn did what he did; Kaylin says, "Ask Severn." Because she won't. But she figures out that it must have been after he went to see Nightshade, and she makes her way back -- alone -- to confront the fieflord.

He's expecting her. He lets her in. He tries to bind her magically, but she breaks the binding, and in the end, he tells her what Severn came for, and what he told Severn. The sacrifices -- and they are that -- are being performed by servants of the old ones. He doesn't know who they are. He can guess that they're not human. He knows however, or surmises, that they're trying to channel death magic into her, to change or control her nature. She doesn't even know what death magic is.

In the meantime, the Hawks are hunting for the missing child. She isn't the first child to go missing from the orphanage -- the orphans sometimes run away. But she's the first child to go missing during this crisis, and she's the right -- or the wrong -- age. Severn leads the search.

Kaylin returns home, exhausted. The mirror wakes her. It's Severn. They haven't found the missing child. She's afraid, because it's Severn, and she has every reason not to trust him if he does find the girl. She gets up, goes out. Because she did heal the child, and they're tenuously bound, she removes the bracer and uses that connection, the one created on the edge of life and death, to find the girl.

Severn and Tiamaris go with her as she homes in on the girl, hunting. The girl is in the fiefs. Kaylin realizes that the girl was probably taken because someone, somewhere, is aware that she used the power to heal -- and they are also aware of the connection that therefore exists between the child and Kaylin.

They find the girl, and they get their first glimpse of the murderers; they're dead Barrani. Or that's what they appear to be -- they don't fight like corpses. They've already engraved the runic writing onto the child's arms and thighs -- but they don't have time to kill her. Barely. Tiamaris transforms for the first time, and Kaylin really sees what Dragons are capable of.

Later, Kaylin asks Tiamaris if he's an outcaste Dragon. Tiamaris almost laughs, but tells Kaylin that there are no outcaste dragons. They're either caste, or they are destroyed. She asks why. He doesn't answer.

Kaylin returns to the Hawks, and when she files an informal report with Marcus, Teela and Tain, who are in the office, become rigidly silent. For the first time, the barrier of race falls like a steel curtain. They know something, and they won't say what. They can't. But Teela tells Kaylin -- when Tain leaves -- to ask the fieflord whose mark she bears.

Kaylin goes back to the fieflord. Tiamaris goes with her, and she reluctantly agrees to Severn's company. This time, armed with some knowledge -- of dead Barrani -- they force information from the fieflord and from the servants that guide the doors of the Long Hall. It also proves dangerous, but Kaylin's getting used to that.

Kaylin goes back to the seal. Severn goes with her, and although Nightshade isn't happy, he thinks it wise. It is. Between Nightshade, his mark, his name, and Severn's history -- all of it -- with Kaylin, they're able to anchor Kaylin while she speaks with the pillar of flame.

The mysterious figure in blue flame tells Kaylin that she is the Chosen. She is the force of Law, the vessel that might serve to stand against the rising forces of ancient chaos in Elantra. They have waited for her coming; so, too, have the shadowy forces of the enemy. If the enemy can taint her, they will consume her, and there will be no guardian. And they have tainted her. But not, yet, enough.

Armed with the knowledge of the seal, and some of its lingering power, Kaylin casts a spell; she sees the whole fief of Nightshade laid out like a map, and in its centre, like black rot, she sees the 'dead' Barrani, and something far, far darker. She uses the mirrors in Nightshade -- which she shouldn't be able to do -- to all the Hawks, all of the Hawks, and she sends them to that shadow. She goes as well, followed by Severn, Tiamaris, and Nightshade himself. Nightshade arms himself; Tiamaris recognizes the weapon.

When they arrive, Kaylin realizes that the enemy has taken children; that children are alive and trapped in the building around which the shadow-map was centred, and that the mages of the Hawks are about to drop fire on it. She calls them back -- and Nightshade unleashes his own forces, unmindful of the lives that will be lost.

Kaylin, instead of fighting the enemy, fights the past: She uses her power to save the children. Because, as Severn says bitterly, she's always had a weakness for children. She is injured, and she almost loses it entirely -- in a visual and spectacular way -- but Severn forces the bracer around her wrist in time to save her, and to save the children. He doesn't kill them; he saves them, in the end, from the backlash of her power.

It's not enough. The Hawks drive out the shadows and destroy the Barrani, but they fail to destroy the leader of the cult. Because the leader of the cult is ancient, powerful, and smart enough to know when to flee -- and because he is the only outcaste dragon in the history of his kind; the reason why all others are destroyed. Stripped of power, but not of life, he escapes.

A victory celebration is in order, sort of.

Kaylin speaks with Nightshade about the children that he almost killed. He asks her if it reminds her of her past; says that he trusted her to be able to save them. She says he's lying, and he replies, "Am I? Are you so certain? You want to believe me…." It's true; she desperately does. Want to. And she can't.

She also speaks, at last, to Severn. Severn tells her that he knew that the two could be used against her -- and would be, because they were closest to her. That he had a choice: them or her. She says, "don't tell me that you did this for me!" and he says, bitter and quiet, "No. I did it for me. Because even then, I wasn't willing to lose you."

She still can't face it, can't take it all in; there are two men in the Empire that she's attached to, and both of them are willing to do things she cannot live with.

She goes, instead, to the tower of the Hawklord, and finds him waiting for; she walks into his arms, and his wings open and fold over her, giving her a place where she can mourn in peace and safety.
#



So, that's the outline. I'm not the only person that jpsorrow asked to do this, and I'm not the only person who said yes -- so below is the list of links of other participating authors. We all agreed to post on the 18th of March, so all of these links should lead to lots of interesting stuff.


Plot Synopsis Project participant links:
 
Patricia Bray (pbray):  http://www.sff.net/people/patriciabray/synopsis.html
Chaz Brenchley (desperance):  http://desperance.livejournal.com
Mike Brotherton:  http://www.mikebrotherton.com
Tobias Buckell:  http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2008/02/01/ask-me-a-question-was-crystal-rain-sold-as-part-of-a-series/
S.C. Butler (scbutler):  http://scbutler.livejournal.com
Barbara Campbell:  www.barbara-campbell.com/inside.htm
David B. Coe (davidbcoe):  http://davidbcoe.livejournal.com
Jennifer Dunne (jennifer_dunne):  http://jennifer_dunne.livejournal.com
S.L. Farrell (sleigh): 
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<lj user=jpsorrow> had an idea, which is responsible for this post. He thought it would be useful, helpful, or at least not <i>entirely</i> boring if a bunch of novelists posted a synopsis or outline that was used to actually sell a book.

As many of you are probably painfully aware, outlines are the anti-book, as far as I'm concerned. They are dreadful, horrible, book-killing things, because you have to hit the plot points of a book, and make it all sound compelling and interesting. If you do this, however, you are bleeding energy from the <i>actual book itself</i>, at least <b>if you're me</b>, because even if it is many, many pages short of actual novel, you have already told the story, and the incentive to, you know, <i>tell the story</i> is severely lessened as a result.
<lj-cut text="Selling Cast in Shadow -- a brief note. Well, it started out brief">
I would go so far as to say: the outline girdles the book, in my mind. The open possibility of the world has collapsed into what's contained in the outline; it is massively stifling, for me. I know that other authors are actually sensible about their outlines, and they deviate all over the place as the book requires -- but I have a <i>lot</i> of difficulty doing this myself because at some visceral level, if <i>the publisher bought the book on the outline</i> I feel that they <i>expect to get the book they bought</i>. And no less an editor than <lj user=pnh> has told me, in a very polite way, that this is retarded -- but it's an emotional reaction, sadly, not an intellectual one, and no matter what I say to myself about it, I can't get out from under it.

As is always the case, anything I say about the writing process carries the invisible <b>in my own writing</b> tag; it's not meant to be prescriptive. There are no two writers who work the same way, and even one writer will have entirely different approaches to writing a novel from book to book.

So, disclaimer out of the way? I hate outlines. I sold <i>The Sun Sword</i>(all six books, although at the time it was not supposed to be six books) on 2 double spaced pages in which I basically said "This is what the dark god wants. And everyone else has to stop him." But my editor had already received two novels from me, she knew how I worked, and she knew that I had written four books previous to the two she published, so the synopsis for <i>that</i> series did not seem like it would be at all helpful to anyone not in a similar position. Which left me only one other possible entry.

When I decided to try to write something for Luna, I was dealing with an editor I had never even met, one who didn't have any clue how I worked. I needed to send my agent something he could use to sell a book to someone who knew nothing about me (and was therefore not inclined to be indulgent). I have no confidence in my ability to outline, so I decided to write three chapters and an outline. (It ended up being 4 chapters, because it's me, and I always go long). I did not have the rest of the book finished, and when I asked my agent how long, roughly, the outline should be, he said 10-15 pages (ie outline, not synopsis). Other people have said 3-5 pages, and I don't know if that's manuscript format or not (mine was), but, well. Agent.

So what follows is the outline portion of the partial/outline on which I sold <i>Cast in Shadow</i>. It is the only outline that I've ever written for publication (or at all, really). The chapters for the partial are the first four chapters of the published book, if you want to look at those to see what was submitted; very, very little changed, in those, but the outline presupposes that the reader has, in fact, read the four chapters.
</lj-cut>

<lj-cut text="It goes without saying that there are MASSIVE SPOILERS for Cast in Shadow behind this cut">

<blockquote>CAST IN SHADOW

Kaylin has a life outside of the Hawks -- barely. Although she's part of the police force, shift-work doesn't exist in Elantra; she's on call, and when she's needed, she works. She doesn't always get there on time, but she does work.

When she's not on duty, she spends part of her time doing volunteer work at the orphanage in the quarter; she also moonlights -- without pay, in spite of anything else she might say -- with the midwives when there's an emergency.

Two days after her encounter in the fiefs, she's still dragging her feet -- but this time she's dragging them into the orphanage. It's in the orphanage that we see clearly what her unformed powers are capable of: she can heal the injured and the sick. It's not easy, and it's time-consuming; it's also a highly, highly prized skill. There are perhaps four healers in the Empire of Ala'an -- and they're all seconded by the Emperor.

So Kaylin isn't legally a healer. An open secret in the very closed ranks of the Hawks, it's technically forbidden -- because the Hawklord knows that her power is a wildcard, and it's a wildcard in a game whose nature is at best hidden. He trusts what he knows of her; he knows that he doesn't know everything.

Knows, in fact, that Kaylin doesn't either. But even the Hawklord knows when to let his Hawks fly; Kaylin heals the orphans, and does that duty as well when the mid-wives deem it necessary -- and they can reach her. On this day, she heals one of the young girls, who is very close to death. It's costly.

The next day, she gets another emergency call: this time to the fiefs. A third body has been discovered; a boy about eleven years old. She uses the fieflord's mark to claim authority over the body, deflecting Nightshade's Barrani, who are also on the scene. Tiamaris covers the corpse, gathering it in his arm, and they return to the Halls of Law, the Hawklord, and his mages. By the end of the dissection, magical and mundane, the marks on Kaylin's arms have changed. The writing is darker and bolder. Tiamaris makes the connection between the death of the boy and the change in those marks -- but it's not rocket science for Kaylin at this point; she can guess. She's been in a state of denial, and at this point, all she really wants to know is who the killers are. Because no one knows; no one has seen them. Spells have been cast, and they've always failed. Even the prophetic visions of some of the hit-and-miss seers employed by the Emperor and his Lords of Law have returned only mangled nonsense about the gathering shadows.

The only thing the children have in common is that they're all between the ages of ten and twelve, and they all lived in the fief of Nightshade -- very close to where Kaylin and Severn once lived. Kaylin studies the records of the old deaths, something she's always avoided -- because she was determined to believe they had ended for good. Of the thirty-eight deaths in the first "incident", she discovers that all of the children who were killed were killed in areas that Kaylin knew, and knew well. All of them.

Kaylin doesn't know who her father was; in the fiefs, this isn't exactly rare. She dimly remembers her mother, but her strongest memories are of Severn, because she met him when she was five and he was almost eleven. He was her family, and her guardian; her first friend, and the person she best loved and trusted. Which is more than she wants to remember.

Two days of regular street duty pass, and then, on the third day, Kaylin gets a personal call via the mirrors in the office. It's the orphanage. It's an emergency. One of the foundlings has gone missing -- a ten year old girl. The child that Kaylin healed days before.

Kaylin rushes out to the orphanage in a panic. Severn finds her. When Kaylin sees him there, she goes berserk at the sight of him, and she forces him out, onto the streets. A lot of pent up fury and a terrible sense of loss and betrayal hones itself -- and Kaylin -- into a murderous frenzy, and they fight until the Hawks arrive to separate them.

Kaylin is on report -- and in a lot of trouble.

She finally tells the Hawklord what Severn did in the fiefs. They didn't live entirely on their own. They lived with two children, one three years younger than Kaylin, and one almost the same age. Kaylin had just begun to discover that she could do things -- magical things -- that were strange. It scared her. It scared them all. Severn disappeared, as he often did, one night, and when he returned he was strange. He was strange for most of the next two days, but she assumed it was because it was winter, and they were all worried about starving. It passed.

But when the marks on Kaylin's arms first appeared, it returned again, and in force. And when Kaylin returned from a hunting expedition, she found that Severn had killed the other two children. Terrified, sick, in pain, she fled the fief -- and six months later, she emerged in the city of Elantra, in the Halls of law.

The Hawklord asks Kaylin why Severn did what he did; Kaylin says, "Ask Severn." Because she won't. But she figures out that it must have been after he went to see Nightshade, and she makes her way back -- alone -- to confront the fieflord.

He's expecting her. He lets her in. He tries to bind her magically, but she breaks the binding, and in the end, he tells her what Severn came for, and what he told Severn. The sacrifices -- and they are that -- are being performed by servants of the old ones. He doesn't know who they are. He can guess that they're not human. He knows however, or surmises, that they're trying to channel death magic into her, to change or control her nature. She doesn't even know what death magic is.

In the meantime, the Hawks are hunting for the missing child. She isn't the first child to go missing from the orphanage -- the orphans sometimes run away. But she's the first child to go missing during this crisis, and she's the right -- or the wrong -- age. Severn leads the search.

Kaylin returns home, exhausted. The mirror wakes her. It's Severn. They haven't found the missing child. She's afraid, because it's Severn, and she has every reason not to trust him if he does find the girl. She gets up, goes out. Because she did heal the child, and they're tenuously bound, she removes the bracer and uses that connection, the one created on the edge of life and death, to find the girl.

Severn and Tiamaris go with her as she homes in on the girl, hunting. The girl is in the fiefs. Kaylin realizes that the girl was probably taken because someone, somewhere, is aware that she used the power to heal -- and they are also aware of the connection that therefore exists between the child and Kaylin.

They find the girl, and they get their first glimpse of the murderers; they're dead Barrani. Or that's what they appear to be -- they don't fight like corpses. They've already engraved the runic writing onto the child's arms and thighs -- but they don't have time to kill her. Barely. Tiamaris transforms for the first time, and Kaylin really sees what Dragons are capable of.

Later, Kaylin asks Tiamaris if he's an outcaste Dragon. Tiamaris almost laughs, but tells Kaylin that there are no outcaste dragons. They're either caste, or they are destroyed. She asks why. He doesn't answer.

Kaylin returns to the Hawks, and when she files an informal report with Marcus, Teela and Tain, who are in the office, become rigidly silent. For the first time, the barrier of race falls like a steel curtain. They know something, and they won't say what. They can't. But Teela tells Kaylin -- when Tain leaves -- to ask the fieflord whose mark she bears.

Kaylin goes back to the fieflord. Tiamaris goes with her, and she reluctantly agrees to Severn's company. This time, armed with some knowledge -- of dead Barrani -- they force information from the fieflord and from the servants that guide the doors of the Long Hall. It also proves dangerous, but Kaylin's getting used to that.

Kaylin goes back to the seal. Severn goes with her, and although Nightshade isn't happy, he thinks it wise. It is. Between Nightshade, his mark, his name, and Severn's history -- all of it -- with Kaylin, they're able to anchor Kaylin while she speaks with the pillar of flame.

The mysterious figure in blue flame tells Kaylin that she is the Chosen. She is the force of Law, the vessel that might serve to stand against the rising forces of ancient chaos in Elantra. They have waited for her coming; so, too, have the shadowy forces of the enemy. If the enemy can taint her, they will consume her, and there will be no guardian. And they have tainted her. But not, yet, enough.

Armed with the knowledge of the seal, and some of its lingering power, Kaylin casts a spell; she sees the whole fief of Nightshade laid out like a map, and in its centre, like black rot, she sees the 'dead' Barrani, and something far, far darker. She uses the mirrors in Nightshade -- which she shouldn't be able to do -- to all the Hawks, all of the Hawks, and she sends them to that shadow. She goes as well, followed by Severn, Tiamaris, and Nightshade himself. Nightshade arms himself; Tiamaris recognizes the weapon.

When they arrive, Kaylin realizes that the enemy has taken children; that children are alive and trapped in the building around which the shadow-map was centred, and that the mages of the Hawks are about to drop fire on it. She calls them back -- and Nightshade unleashes his own forces, unmindful of the lives that will be lost.

Kaylin, instead of fighting the enemy, fights the past: She uses her power to save the children. Because, as Severn says bitterly, she's always had a weakness for children. She is injured, and she almost loses it entirely -- in a visual and spectacular way -- but Severn forces the bracer around her wrist in time to save her, and to save the children. He doesn't kill them; he saves them, in the end, from the backlash of her power.

It's not enough. The Hawks drive out the shadows and destroy the Barrani, but they fail to destroy the leader of the cult. Because the leader of the cult is ancient, powerful, and smart enough to know when to flee -- and because he is the only outcaste dragon in the history of his kind; the reason why all others are destroyed. Stripped of power, but not of life, he escapes.

A victory celebration is in order, sort of.

Kaylin speaks with Nightshade about the children that he almost killed. He asks her if it reminds her of her past; says that he trusted her to be able to save them. She says he's lying, and he replies, "Am I? Are you so certain? You want to believe me…." It's true; she desperately does. Want to. And she can't.

She also speaks, at last, to Severn. Severn tells her that he knew that the two could be used against her -- and would be, because they were closest to her. That he had a choice: them or her. She says, "don't tell me that you did this for me!" and he says, bitter and quiet, "No. I did it for me. Because even then, I wasn't willing to lose you."

She still can't face it, can't take it all in; there are two men in the Empire that she's attached to, and both of them are willing to do things she cannot live with.

She goes, instead, to the tower of the Hawklord, and finds him waiting for; she walks into his arms, and his wings open and fold over her, giving her a place where she can mourn in peace and safety.
#</blockquote>
</lj-cut>

So, that's the outline. I'm not the only person that <lj user=jpsorrow> asked to do this, and I'm not the only person who said yes -- so below is the list of links of other participating authors. We all agreed to post on the 18th of March, so all of these links should lead to lots of interesting stuff.

<lj-cut text="Other authors who are also blogging about outlines or synopses that sold books">
<b>Plot Synopsis Project participant links:</b>
 
Patricia Bray (<lj user="pbray">):  <a href=http://pbray.livejournal.com/169118.htmll">http://www.sff.net/people/patriciabray/synopsis.html</a>
Chaz Brenchley (<lj user="desperance">):  <a href="http://desperance.livejournal.com/254192.html">http://desperance.livejournal.com</a>
Mike Brotherton:  <a href="http://www.mikebrotherton.com/?p=427">http://www.mikebrotherton.com</a>
Tobias Buckell:  <a href="http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2008/02/01/ask-me-a-question-was-crystal-rain-sold-as-part-of-a-series/">http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2008/02/01/ask-me-a-question-was-crystal-rain-sold-as-part-of-a-series/ </a>
S.C. Butler (<lj user="scbutler">):  <a href="http://scbutler.livejournal.com/23177.html">http://scbutler.livejournal.com</a>
Barbara Campbell:  <a href="www.barbara-campbell.com/inside.htm">www.barbara-campbell.com/inside.htm</a>
David B. Coe (<lj user="davidbcoe">):  <a href="http://davidbcoe.livejournal.com/29443.html">http://davidbcoe.livejournal.com</a>
Jennifer Dunne (<lj user="jennifer_dunne">):  <a href="http://jennifer_dunne.livejournal.com/244403.html">http://jennifer_dunne.livejournal.com</a>
S.L. Farrell (<lj user="sleigh">):  <a href="http://sleigh.livejournal.com/187253.html>http://sleigh.livejournal.com</a>
Diana Francis (<lj user="difrancis">):  <a href="http://difrancis.livejournal.com/160512.html">http://difrancis.livejournal.com</a>
Gregory Frost <lj user="frostokovich">):  <a href="http://frostokovich.livejournal.com/19384.html">http://frostokovich.livejournal.com</a>
Felix Gilman:  <a href="http://www.felixgilman.com/wordpress/"> http://www.felixgilman.com/wordpress/</a>
Jim C. Hines (<lj user="jimhines">):  <a href="http://jimhines.livejournal.com/355241.html">http://jimhines.livejournal.com</a>
Jackie Kessler (<lj user="jackiekessler">):  <a href="http://www.jackiekessler.com/blog/2008/03/18/the-plot-synopsis-project/#more-178">http://www.jackiekessler.com/blog</a>
Mindy Klasky (<lj user="mindyklasky">):  <a href="(http://mindyklasky.livejournal.com/135970.html">http://mindyklasky.livejournal.com</a>
Misty Massey (<lj user="madkestrel">):  <a href="http://madkestrel.livejournal.com/64716.html">http://madkestrel.livejournal.com</a>
C.E. Murphy (<lj user="mizkit">):  <a href="http://mizkit.livejournal.com/339428.html">http://mizkit.livejournal.com</a>
Naomi Novik(<lj user="naominovik">):  <a href="http://naominovik.livejournal.com/34610.html">http://naominovik.livejournal.com</a>
Joshua Palmatier (<lj user="jpsorrow">):  <a href="http://jpsorrow.livejournal.com/143076.html">http://jpsorrow.livejournal.com</a>
Maria V. Snyder:  <a href="http://blog.myspace.com/mariavsnyder"> http://blog.myspace.com/mariavsnyder</a>
Jennifer Stevenson (<lj user="smokingpigeon">):  <a href="http://smokingpigeon.livejournal.com/15208.html">http://smokingpigeon.livejournal.com</a>
Michelle West (<lj user="msagara">):  <a href="http://msagara.livejournal.com/37498.html">http://msagara.livejournal.com</a>
Sean Williams (<lj user="ladnews">):  <a href="http://ladnews.livejournal.com/78590.html">http://ladnews.livejournal.com</a>
</lj-cut>

ET: Cut out all the spaces between the links, because, well, not necessary and also to add:

Janni Simner (<lj user=janni>): <a href="http://janni.livejournal.com/460527.html">http://janni.livejournal.com</a>
P. R. Frost/Irene Radford (<lj user=ramblin_phyl>): <a href="http://ramblin-phyl.livejournal.com/298158.html">http://ramblin_phyl.livejournal.com</a>

both of whom also posted.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
mollymoon
Mar. 18th, 2008 11:22 am (UTC)
I know that you've heard this before, but I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for sharing Kaylin's story with us as well as the writing process.
I suffer from chronic pain and without going into it, let's just say that it means I have a lot of time to do a lot of reading. I've found over the years, that the only books worth owning (or hording, were I a dragon) are those that are as fun or more on the second read. The Kaylin series is that - I've reread it five times now in the last year since I stumbled on it.
In short, your characters mean a lot to me, the story means a lot to me, so thank you.
Also, hurry up with the next book!
Sheepishly,
Molly Moon
msagara
Mar. 18th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC)
I know that you've heard this before, but I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for sharing Kaylin's story with us as well as the writing process.

Thank you :). Although I sometimes worry that writing process talk is often thinly veiled hair-pulling, at least on my part.

Also, hurry up with the next book!

The next book, which is CAST IN FURY, is with the publisher -- the book after that, though, is still mostly in my head. But it means there will be another book in October of 2008 (well, September is when an October title usually hits the stores).
susankrinard
Mar. 18th, 2008 01:11 pm (UTC)
Outlines ... ugh
I hate them too, but not for the reasons Michelle mentions. I don't find them "book killing' at all. In fact, I have tons of trouble if I don't plot in advance ... tons and tons, as I'm finding as I have less and less time to write a detailed outline while writing two books a year.

I consider an outline as just that ... an outline, from which I can deviate as much as I like (and usually do.) It gives me a way to remember where I'm going and what plot points are most important ... and given my horrible--and I mean horrible--memory, this is highly necessary. (I forget what I don't write down or see.)

I've become a bit looser with age, but will never get to the point where I can write "by the seat of my pants." That thought is as alien to me as writing from an outline is painful for Michelle.

Hi Michelle!

Sue Krinard
msagara
Mar. 18th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Outlines ... ugh
I hate them too, but not for the reasons Michelle mentions. I don't find them "book killing' at all. In fact, I have tons of trouble if I don't plot in advance ... tons and tons, as I'm finding as I have less and less time to write a detailed outline while writing two books a year.

I consider an outline as just that ... an outline, from which I can deviate as much as I like (and usually do.) It gives me a way to remember where I'm going and what plot points are most important ... and given my horrible--and I mean horrible--memory, this is highly necessary. (I forget what I don't write down or see.)


Hello!!

And this would be the perfect example of "no two writers work the same way" -- but if I could outline and then deviate with ease, I probably would be less skittish about it. I did try outlining way, way back (first or second novel), but I found that as I wrote I spent more and more time changing the outline, and I eventually just tossed it.

I am never entirely clear on what happens in the middle of a book, although I can often be very clear about what happens off-screen, go figure.
susankrinard
Mar. 24th, 2008 12:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Outlines ... ugh
Well, I'm currently paying for not having properly plotted my book ahead of time as I've had to stop in the middle and replot the whole middle and end. Ugh. A bit waste of time for me to have to do that ... time I can ill afford. But when I don't have time to plot the first time around ... well, this is what you get. At least I CAN work from an outline and change it as needed with no problem. I just hate my initial outlines enough that I'd never let anyone read them EXCEPT my understanding editor.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )