NaNoWriMo synopsis

Here’s a little synopsis I wrote up for my NaNoWriMo novel. Your suggestions for revision are welcome.


On a sunny day in July, twelve members of the Independent Creative Consortium of Collaborative Artists and Writers gather at a beautiful cemetery for a day of work and inspiration. They are an eccentric group: a silent violinist, a man in a kilt, a rogue taxidermist, a gorgeous Greek godlike sculptor, and others of various media and madnesses. They joined at the last minute by an Australian adventurer. Throughout the day, they work, talk, weep, flirt, and fall apart. Their tensions, alliances, and enmities rise as the temperature gets hotter. Some are struck by inspiration; some are just stuck. It’s a wild time of sex, drugs, and poetry as they make music, make love, and meet ghosts. At the end of the day, exhausted, inspired, or in agony, they troop back to the gate—only to find that they have been locked into the cemetery. There is no cell signal in there. The walls are too high to climb. A thunderstorm is rolling in. And just then—one of their number is found dead, lying in a ready-made grave, forehead smashed as if with a blunt instrument. Torrential rains begin, and the twelve remaining artists gather in the huge communal columbarium for shelter and investigation. They spend the rest of the night interrogating one another, arguing, accusing: locked together in a house of the dead, seeking out the bringer of death. Will they discover the killer by morning?


About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is a PhD student in English and Presidential Scholar at Baylor University. She also serves as Chair of the Language and Literature Department at Signum University, online. Her latest publication is an academic essay collection on "The Inklings and King Arthur" (Apocryphile Press, December 2017). Her interests include British Modernism, the Inklings, Arthuriana, theatre, and magic. She holds an M.A. from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. Sørina blogs about British poet Charles Williams at The Oddest Inkling, wrote the introduction to a new edition of Williams’s "Taliessin through Logres" (Apocryphile, 2016), and edited Williams’s "The Chapel of the Thorn" (Apocryphile, 2014). As a creative writer, Sørina has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" (2007) and "Caduceus" (2012).

12 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo synopsis

  1. pennkenobi says:

    See, this is all that sort of bright young thinking is good for, getting somebody killed.

    This is pro. What it reflects is that you are seasoned at writing synopses, which has its own protocol. This is a very fine piece of writing that you learned how to do because it has been your job for some time. But the novel itself is a whole different matter. And if the writing quality here is any indication, you could very well be onto something that a publisher might look twice at. Just based on this synopsis, it sounds like a novel I would read the hell out of.

    As I look back at on all the things I’ve enjoyed reading most, it has by far been this sort of thing. Crime/mystery/detection.

    Virtuoso performance!

    Not to keep battering you with reading suggestions, but I would be soaking up canonical selections from this genre. But you have to be careful with that because there are writers that are pleasant enough to read but whom you would never want to ‘learn’ from. For instance, enjoy King but don’t learn from him. Richard Matheson is a good teacher. Rowling is probably not. Robert Parker is a good influence. Neal Stephenson is NOT. Dashiell Hammett, oddly enough, is probably not a good model for prose craftmanship; Raymond Chandler most certainly IS. William Gibson is a great mentor. And so on. There are tons that I haven’t mentioned of course.

    Great synopsis! Bodes well!

  2. pennkenobi says:

    There are a couple of typos but I read them in in my head. You’ll find them.

    • I found them. 🙂 You can read part of the first chapter on the NaNoWriMo site:

      • tess says:

        I like Zita’s accent. It reads well.

      • pennkenobi says:

        I read it. I like it. It will all fill out well with subsequent drafts. I wanted to say this before I forget. Don’t be afraid to explain too much or describe too much. Terseness only works when you have the elegance to match it, and very few novelists (especially beginning) actually have that, and many good ones may never have it their whole life. By elegance I mean the ability to supply all the needed information without enumerating details. Most of the time an attempt at elegance (efficiency) tends to result in a dearth of needed, supportive details. It is OK to populate your early drafts with all kinds of information that may not turn out to be necessary. In fact, that is where a great deal of the good stuff comes from. But then, it can also lead a writer off course and get them bogged down in the marshy periphery of their story.

  3. Made me excited to read your first draft!

  4. pennkenobi says:

    I just discovered that S. King won the 2015 Edgar Award for what he calls his first hardboiled detective book, Mr. Mercedes. (I do enjoy reading him). It has received generally good reviews across the board. My knowledge of the latest generation/newest wave of the genre is incredibly shoddy. In fact, I never even bothered until just now to peruse through the latest winners of the main awards and “best lists”, Kirkus, Guardian, etc. I’m kind of curious as to who might be emerging so far as the Chandler of the new millennium.

  5. tess says:

    I’d read it!

  6. […] mystery, but the death doesn’t happen until at least halfway through. Up until that point (as this synopsis makes clear), it’s 13 artistic-type people wandering around a cemetery, trying to make art. […]

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