The call of inspiration comes at various times and in many different forms. Artists can find inspiration in nature, while others find it by people watching on the streets or in a park. Some artists are inspired by a muse. Muse is defined in two ways; Looking to Greek and Roman mythology, a muse was one of nine goddesses, who the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences: In the modern form, a muse is a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.
Artists also have to strike while the iron is hot. Some of my best ideas happen once I disengage from writing and move on to something else. These ideas are not limited to my own creative works, they also relate to the authors I represent as a literary agent.
It’s important to be able to think on your feet when you’re in business. Decisions regarding the mechanics or day-to-day operations, are more linear in nature, and therefore, easier to handle, comparatively speaking. However, for me, crafting a pitch that best represents the essence of what my client’s manuscript is about. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, it’s important to have a well-crafted pitch. While the matter of mechanics in terms of grammar and structure counts, the main focus is to draw the reader in.
For me, it begins with a great synopsis. Writing a synopsis can be very daunting for most writers, but it’s necessary. You must be able to communicate what your story is about in a short synopsis, which is like an extended logline. Then there’s the more in depth long synopsis, in which you have show what the book is about, describe the characters, plot, sub-plots, and the ending. A long synopsis is anywhere from three to five pages. I won’t tell you it’s easy, I know it isn’t. You spend months or even years creating a story, only to find out that you need to provide a Cliff’s Notes version. It seems unfair, but that’s the way it’s done. So, keep that in mind while you are writing your great American novel.
- Think of your story synopsis as an extended logline. A logline is a one-sentence summary or description of a movie. A short synopsis should distill the main elements of your manuscript into a concise paragraph.
- You can also look at your story like a movie trailer with words instead of moving pictures. I recently read something an article that said everything sounds better when Morgan Freeman narrates. That’s sort of true, so imagine Morgan Freeman is doing the voice over for your book.
- Relax. Wracking your brain doesn’t help. Do something else creative or go to the gym, or whatever you need to do to get your mind off of the synopsis. . Most of the time, you’ll figure out what to write when you’re not thinking about it so much.
Believe it or not, but the writer isn’t the one with the short stick. It’s the agent. We have about a paragraph or two at the most, to make out case as to why an editor should read our client’s manuscript. Moreover, our pitch is just one of countless pitches work-logged editors receive a day. So, we have to make it count.
As I wrote this blog post, I was up early working out a novel and a few client pitches. I like to refresh my pitches. Sometimes there are things happening in the world that give me an idea for a different approach, and other times I get an idea while I am stirring, folding, and baking. One of my favorite things to make is blueberry muffins. I have had more creative epiphanies at four a.m. making blueberry muffins than I can count. That will be the bonus here, a great blueberry muffin recipe.
Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins by Bromo Bakery adapted by me
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (vegan butter)
1 cup granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, coconut, turbinado, or raw cane sugar pulsed)
2 eggs, room temperature ( ¼ cup Aquafaba, ½ cup silken tofu pureed with ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 2 flaxseed or chia seed eggs, or egg replacer)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (dairy milk: plain whole milk, plain low-fat Greek yogurt, Non-fat doesn’t work) (non-dairy: almond, soy, rice, or coconut milk yogurt **)
6 Tablespoons buttermilk (dairy:6 tablespoons whole or low-fat milk mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Mix and let stand for five minutes)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, oat, sweet rice or brown rice flour)
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
turbinado sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease 10 standard size muffin tins and line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine the melted butter and granulated sugar, beating until combined. Add the eggs in one at a time. Add the Greek yogurt, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
Add 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until it begins to come together (not fully incorporated). Toss the blueberries with the additional two Tablespoons of flour. Fold the blueberries into the batter, mixing only until combined. Batter will be thick.
Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins, filling about 3/4 of the way. You can use a large cookie scoop or a 1/4 cup measure to keep things consistent. Sprinkle tops with Turbinado sugar, if using.* Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F, then turn oven down to 375°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until muffins are golden brown and spring back to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before eating!
** To get the same consistency found in Greek yogurt for both dairy and non-dairy yogurts, line a sieve with cheesecloth or a paper towel. Add the yogurt and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight to let the excess water drain before using.
Do not overmix, particularly if you’re using frozen blueberries.