Novel Synopsis ~ Lucha

I finally finished a draft of my novel Lucha that I was okay with calling finished. Very, very strange feeling. I just received the draft back from an editor and have some additions and changes to make (personal deadline = one week).

I am also working on the synopsis for this novel and am looking for feedback. From the basics of does it make sense to is it any good?

(And p.s. I started posting the novel by chapter on this site: Teresa Jordan Crimes. It’s a few drafts old, but if you’re interested in the first  chapters of one of the original drafts, you can find them there.)

Synopsis:

Teresa Jordan, a detective who has been suspended from every job she’s ever held, is wrapping up a drug trafficking case before serving her latest suspension. Moving between the U.S. and Mexico, she finds herself in the world of lucha libre wrestling where she sets her sights set on El Scorpion as the mastermind behind the drug operation. Teresa thinks she is close to wrapping up the case when the bodies of three young women dressed in the insignia of El Scorpion turn up on the border.

Ayanna Sanchez is the manager behind El Scorpion, a star wrestler and her brother. Ayanna has developed a large clientele of fans and bettors on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. She has teamed up with bookies, Saul and Carlos, and assures her brother that betting is perfectly legitimate in this business, but the money isn’t enough for her. She double-crosses the team of Saul and Carlos by partnering with drug traffickers who increase her revenue exponentially. The wrestling business works well as a cover operation, and she begins to hire a staff of young women whom she grooms to look, act and think like she does.

Lucha is the story of Teresa Jordan’s investigation of a triple homicide during an attempt to solve a drug-trafficking case. From the moment Teresa adds murder to the investigation, she’s thoroughly confused about who to trust, which only takes her deeper into the world of lucha libre wrestling and El Scorpion. Time seems to be running out, though, as another body turns up at the border, and Teresa appears to be the next target.

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Novel Synopsis: Out of Her League

(I guess technically this is a beginning of the draft of the novel synopsis.)

At the age of twenty-seven, Julia Loren is promoted to manager of the Single-A Castroville Cats minor league baseball team. Sitting before the national media who have a keen interest in the antics of the first-year female manager, Julia struggles with her history-making position from day one.

Through the course of the season, Julia constantly fights to step out of the shadow of her father’s failed minor league career, a general manager who loses faith in her, a surly centerfielder who doesn’t want to play for a woman, and a young Mexican player who is threatened with deportation. She is determined to keep all of these challenges under control while relying on ex-boyfriend Dylan and a bottle of Jack Daniels.

 

 

[All of this is copyrighted and officially registered. Thanks for appreciating and respecting my work.]

on (re)writing: she isn’t dead

I started the re-write process with a simple grammar edit. Easy.

I moved to a setting edit. Not-so-easy. But doable.

And 120 pages into that second edit, I realized two things:

  • my setting edit was focused way too much on timing and not enough on actual place description. Whether or not this is important, I let settle into my brain for a bit. But after two random conversations, I realized it’s important to me. No big deal, I thought. That will be edit three.
  • one of the characters who died isn’t dead. Yup. And the funny thing is I didn’t realize that I shouldn’t kill her. I realized that she isn’t dead. I stopped writing to think this through. After all, the outline was finished with the character dying. It made sense in that timeline. And then all of a sudden, it didn’t.

Flash to me with my head on the table. Seriously. My summer is a few weeks from being over and the hours of editing I’ve put in is not only going to turn out to be a mere fraction of the writing that needs to be done, it’s probably going to keep me from starting the re-write of another story.

Sigh.

I suppose, though, that walking around running every errand possible for the past three days and repeating over and over in my head She isn’t dead. She isn’t dead. She isn’t dead. has really done nothing to help it get re-written.

The good news is, though, that a lot of what I think is the issue with the story will be solved by this revelation when it occurs. And I have to think that it will also be a better story.

It just leaves me with a lot of recalibrating to do in terms of my writing time. And my blogging time. I don’t want to abandon the chapter-by-chapter posts again, but I fear that when I go into this re-write nothing will make sense. I suppose it doesn’t really matter. For those who read, I guess my goal is that they get a taste of the way I write.

So, we’ll see. But in the meantime, she isn’t dead.

on writing & baseball: research

This is half a post about my failure to research prior to writing the first novel last time and half a post about my first experience at a minor league baseball game.

When I started writing last time, it was more about something I had to do to get my head and my psyche in order. Because I told myself (and still believe) that was the primary purpose, I did little in the way of actual research for this book. I had maybe a 3-page outline (compared to the 29-page one I did for my current draft) and some random character sketches.

I still don’t think the story is bad. I really don’t, and one of my major goals for this summer is to rewrite it (how that’s going to occur, I’m not really sure that I’ve thought out too well).

The primary comment that a friend made after reading that draft was “I never felt like I was there.” That made me aware of how much I had skipped in terms of setting. All senses of setting. In short, the book is about minor league baseball. It’s pure fiction, but still could use some of the little details that would make one feel that I have some clue about minor league baseball.

The worst part of this story is that there are several minor league teams within driving distance of me, and one of those belongs to the Dodgers.

So, I finally made the trek out to the Epicenter, home of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the Dodgers Single-A affiliate.

It was quite an experience. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Blake Hawksworth was making a rehab start.  (I think it was his second 1-inning rehab start.)

Overall, it was fun, and a major deal compared to the price gouging I’m used to at Dodger Stadium. Parking was $4, my ticket behind home plate was $8, and my food was a whopping $12 (nachos, bottle of water, root beer float). All in all, I was quite happy with the price.

What I didn’t expect was the veritable three-ring circus that surrounded the game. Never have I heard music played during an at-bat. There were constant games and promotions. It was very family friendly. But apart from the three scouts sitting behind me, I don’t think many people were there to really watch baseball. The other major discovery that I made is that Single-A baseball looks absolutely nothing like major league baseball. (The rewrites that will need to happen to reflect that were swirling in my head.)

I don’t think I was too far off in terms of the stadium and facilities (I’ve visited the Dodgers spring training home, which also serves as a minor league stadium). But I definitely have my work cut out for me in conveying the atmosphere.

character overhaul (umm … rewrite)

It started driving over the 6th Street Bridge. I have to remember the exact location just in case it’s significant to the thought process. A person in the car next to me flicked a cigarette butt out of the window.

Why doesn’t she smoke?

The main characters of both of the novels I have drafted are women. And I think in my efforts to make them completely different, the second one is a little less strong that I’d like her to be. She’s definitely more reckless, but at times, to me, it seems that it’s without warrant. She definitely has a “because I can” attitude about things. Not that smoking would change any of this, but she definitely lacks a certain element of character that I want.

I don’t think that investigator Teresa Jordan will turn out to smoke at all, but I think it was important for me to think about why she doesn’t. The only problem (?) is that now she’s been stuck in my head for the past few days. That’s not entirely a bad thing, but it does make life a little interesting. And my apartment cleaner than it’s been in a while.

editing, editing, editing

I think I failed to mention that a couple of weeks ago, I finished the draft of my book Lucha. 

I realized this as I someone asked me the other day, “by the way how’s your book coming?”

Oh yea, I said. It’s done.

Yes. Done. Done. Done! And through stage one of the editing process. This was a very basic edit. I went through for all the grammatical issues and typos I could find. I did a very cursory overview of anything that may not be entirely clear. A complete hand edit is done, and now I’m working to rewrite the changes on my computer.

I have to admit that I’m loving the process. Within hours of being done with my school year, I sat down and finished the pencil edits. The computer revisions are at about page 92.

This is my major writing goal for the summer. Well, one of them.

The other is to do a major overhaul of the first novel. The funny thing is I love that story so much, but I’m not thrilled with the structure anymore. I learned so much writing this second novel draft, and I think that it will definitely help me create a solid second draft of the other novel.

The other goal for this summer is to start publishing Lucha on a blog again. I started a while back and stopped for a variety of reasons (mostly what I now consider to be bad advice).

So, if you want to start at the beginning, check it out. At this time, I think I’m going to update it three times a week until the story is done. And simultaneously, I think this will help me revise again.

Always, always a work in progress…

born to write?

I have always found it funny that people will agree that an athletic talent is just that–a talent. People are okay with saying that some people are born with natural abilities to run, jump and play. They will also acknowledge that training–even with the deepest of desire– will only get some people so far.

The thing that strikes me as odd is that people will argue to the death that this is not true about writing. Anyone can learn to write.

Do I agree? Yes and no. It really depends upon what type of writing we’re talking about.

I teach two standard 10th grade English classes, a Creative Writing course, and advise a Yearbook staff that lets me inject a little Journalism into my day once in a while.

So, yes. I do think anyone can learn to write–academically, that is. Academic writing is very formulaic. It is based on a set of rules, a general format, and the ability to think and analyze. It is one of my biggest pet peeves to hear a student say I’m just not good at writing. All that says to me is I just don’t want to bother to learn rules of grammar and spelling. And I really don’t want to research anything. And, more importantly, I don’t want to think about what I just read.

Do I think anyone can learn to be a journalist? Yes. That is also very formulaic. It relies more upon tenacity and quickness than anything. But when I think back to my days in college and memorizing the entire AP style book, I realize there are a host of rules there, too. The good journalists know them well. The great journalists have that “it” factor. The thing that allows them to convey humanity in a way that moves other people. That, I have to think, some people are born with.

And for the last element, can anyone write creatively? Yes, of course they can. With the same attention to structures and styles and grammar and spelling, of course anyone can write creatively. Here’s where I truly believe some people have a talent that others do not possess. Of course, they also have to work to develop it, but they start with a lot to work with.

The best writers in my English classes are those who are well-read and who work hard. They proofread. They write multiple drafts. They use a dictionary. Basically, they’ve studied and learned a skill.

But the good writers in my Creative Writing class have talent. Pure and simple. They have a creative spark and drive. They have a masterful command of their writing voice. They have ideas and stories to tell. The greater writers in this class have mastered their craft. They utilize punctuation to their advantage. They have a broad vocabulary, and they use it with ease.

They are the athlete who doesn’t need to practice, rarely shows up in the gym, but can still dunk a ball in the net without any trouble.