Crashing the Party

Last night, me and a friend from my writing group skipped on up to Bellevue to crash the monthly meeting of the Pacific Northwest Writer's Assosh. Are we members, you ask? Not so much, but they had a speaker on writing synopses. His name was Bob Dugoni, and to hear him tell it, he's the next John Grisham. On an ego-trip? Say hi to Bob. At least, that was the vibe, according to Megan (said friend). He's apparently written some legal thrillers or something. Seemed like a nice enough guy to me–he gave out free bookmarks with his picture on them–although he was an attorney, sooo…

He pointed out some good strategies–none of them his own–like: Short rather than long, synopsize (is that a word?) the book while showing a grasp of story structure, blah to the blah. For those going through the struggle of writing a synopsis, check out Elizabeth Lyon and Christopher Vogler, Dugoni blended the two for his presentation. For the most part I bought it, sounded like a good plan, if not common sense. The PNWA is supposed to have a worksheet up today, so I'll provide a link here, when they get around to it.

When I wrote my synopsis for Undead Socialite, I didn't do a bit of research on format. I just spat the story out on paper, as if selling it in a hotel hallway. It ended up nearly two pages and minimal: main character, life changing event (death), a mystery solved through bumbling insensitivity, and a crazy zombie showdown, life (or death) affirming ending, with a peppering of mixed drinks, finger foods (the nails removed, obviously, it's a klassy book, after all), and dj set lists. My thought process was who wants to read anything longer than a couple of pages. We've all got work to do. I can't say that the synopsis got the editor to request the complete novel, but it might have.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Bob Dugoni does seem to be a bit a self-aggrandizing sort doesn't he? He's a scheduled speaker at the 2008 PNWA Conference and is also teaching several classes there. Why he entered his screenplay in the competition there, and why PNWA accepted the entry and made him a Finalist are two questions I just asked PNWA:

To: staff@pnwa.org
Subject: 2008 PNWA Conference‏

Q for PNWA: Is it prudent to have someone who is teaching classes at the Conference -- and is thus technically an "employee" -- also be a FINALIST in the Literary Competition?

Q for BOB DUGONI: Why did you feel it necessary -- given that you are already an established, published, agented author -- to enter your screenplay into the PNWA competition and thus displace writers who have NOT "made it" and are still seeking an agent, or at least the encouragement to keep on working; to hone their skills?

The thought of Mr. Dugoni standing at the PNWA podium, and in front of classes (and at the awards banquet), flaunting his ID badge with "Finalist" ribbon attached somehow seems inappropriate.

-Bret S.
Mark said…
And I was just being intentionally snarky for blogs sake. How'll you feel if he wins?

I've got a friend who finalled in the YA fiction category.

I won't be going this year except to pick up an editor friend and haul her ass all over Seattle. Put in a proposal to do a panel with a couple of other urban fantasy authors (two of which were NYT bestsellers), but never heard back.
filmscribes said…
Snarky? Maybe, but dead-on (and funny). Forgot to mention he's also a speaker at the conf. I'm a finalist in the novel category, but my screenplay didn't make the cut this year. This is my 4th PNWA finalist listing (2 novels & 2 screenplays) but no gold yet. Still trying to break through. Nice to see guys like Dugoni belly up to the trough with their elbows spread wide.