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Author Topic: synopsis of my second memoir - untitled  (Read 12175 times)
Jim Williams
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« on: April 30, 2016, 08:59:58 PM »

I first posted this as an elevator pitch. That was my mistake. I'm posting it here because I want my new memoir to be well known. (Perhaps this can pass as a synopsis.) It's not a synopsis, either! Sorry about that.

All comments remain welcome!
............................................................................... 
It is perhaps ironic there’s such a great distance between enjoyment I gain from serving another’s needs, and the hatred I feel when pressed into service to answer those same needs. If I were a factory worker, on the way home after work and stopping at a market, I’d be as glad as anyone to help someone get that unreachable can off the top shelf. But, the idea of being an employee of that same market, and ordered to perform the same service for the same person, is as abhorrent to me as being arrested.

While I can handle being told by a supervisor to concentrate on my job in a factory (or as once in real life, a pulp and paper plant), I revolt at the thought of anyone causing me to serve anyone’s need. I’ve looked at why that’s so true about me and have reached at least one conclusion.
I’ll concede having been granted a utility patent on an invention of mine during my formative years, will always alter how I see the world. One possible result is I’m now a singular witness to my own life as much as be part of it. With that belief, I contend the following:

•   Having a paying job as a factory worker or as a farmer, i.e., in manufacturing, or agriculture, results in the worker’s effort sustaining the economy.
•   Having a paying job as a checker in a grocery market, i.e. at a service, and results in a worker’s dependence on that same economy.
•   When one’s work, which includes making up inventions, sustains the economy, one earns.
•   When the same degree of work is dependent on that same economy, one is compensated.

I note while manufacturing continues to dwindle in the US while our need for services is either growing or staying the same, we don’t seem to be generating enough to pay for ourselves anymore. It appears to me the US is now so poor; we need to borrow from other’s productivity, most notably China’s, to stay afloat. Is that the only reason we borrow from the Chinese? So, we can stay afloat? I don’t know. I’ll just further note the People’s Republic of China isn’t borrowing from us, even if it’s currently dumping our Treasury bills.

None of this matters to me so much. But still, I am affected by my own invention and patent, and I tend to judge my success in life, solely on what degree I’ve helped sustain the economy. My problem is, I have no way of calculating how much return I’ve produced either for the society or the economy on which we all rely. I mean, how much have I taken out of society, including financial assets, compared to how much I’ve put in? So, my plan since 1982, the same year my single 1965 patent expired, was to realize being that inventor again by, one, placing new products on the market, and, two, earning my living from the return generated by such products.

My one patent: www.google.com/patents/us3200421

Rather than prevail, in 1986, I became disabled. It is now 2016, and even though I’ve tried to put products on the market for more than thirty years, I remain solely dependent on my Social Security, SSI, and a small trust fund for benefits. Or in other words, I am wholly dependent on the economy. So, at age 70, rather than trying to sell my products again, and help sustain the economy, I will be, in compromise, remaining dependent on the economy by writing this second memoir. I’ll be telling the story of this barely recognizable country I found being insane on the real streets of San Francisco.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 12:05:04 PM by Jim Williams » Logged

Pandean
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2016, 09:09:47 PM »

This isn't a synopsis. It's just a big rambly explanation of why you wrote this book (apparently, in order to get money which won't go over well with agents). You say in your very last sentence that you're telling the story about being insane on the streets of San Francisco. Then that is what you want to base your synopsis around and your pitch around, etc.

Otherwise this makes you look like you have no clue what you're doing + the way it's worded comes off as "The economy sucks and it's all everyone elses' fault so here's my book to make me money".

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FlyingViking
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2016, 09:14:58 PM »

I think the format may be a little bit off for a non-fiction pitch.  There are plenty of resources out there just a Google search away -- here's an example of a successful query for a memoir:

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/successful-queries-agent-alyssa-reuben-and-hidden-cities-memoir-travel

Keep at it - it sounds like there's an interesting story in there!   
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2016, 09:25:17 PM »

Yeah, seconding what Pandean said. This isn't a synopsis. Clearly you wrote this up and are trying to find a use for it. A synopsis should be a fleshed out, full summary of your story - be it fact or fiction - including any and all major plot details, twists, and the ending. Right now, it reads sort of as an outline/notes you keep hidden away in a Word document for your own personal use.

The whole vibe of this is incredibly negative and also hypocritical. By your logic, you would love writing just on your own, but if you had a deadline set by an agent or publisher, you'd feel great hatred towards the task. Right? No agent would want to offer you rep if this was an actual synopsis you sent in with your query -- but back to my main point of it not being a synopsis. It's terribly hard to read, goes off on tangents, uses bullet-points, has a patent link, and has a diatribe about the Chinese involvement in our economy. If your story is about being "insane on the streets of San Francisco" then write a synopsis about that. Not about how you now feel too old to work and will "compromise" by writing a memoir.

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Jim Williams
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2016, 09:37:20 PM »

Pandean:

My first memoir - All My Friends Were Me - caused me to have an enormous catharsis. My stated goal then remains the same now, to shatter stigmas and provide hope. I attempt to do that showing the extreme trouble I was in, both mentally and physically, then show one way to make it back.

Although I do state my purpose is to make money, it's more to first have my story known, with money being a measure that my message is getting across. It may be more accurate to say only, my second memoir is not for catharsis.

I see it has been my failure I haven't done as much for society as society has done for me.

Thank you again for your observations. Perhaps my next attempt will better reflect me and my intentions.  
« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 09:41:31 PM by Jim Williams » Logged

Jim Williams
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2016, 09:45:38 PM »

Flying Viking:

Thanks for the encouragement and the reference. I'll turn this into a synopsis, yet.
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Jim Williams
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2016, 10:02:48 PM »

sincerelyamelia:

You caught a major flaw in my presentation I didn't see. You are correct, writing is a service, and I don't reflect well on service. Perhaps not of interest, I see my writing memoirs as a compromise, from trying to contribute to the economy through productivity, for my social purpose to be reached. Then I plan to return to patents and such. Your point is well taken.

I also concede this isn't a synopsis, or anything else. For example, I also sent it to President Obama to hear if I got the economics right, being I'm only guessing, anyway.
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Jim Williams
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2016, 04:05:05 AM »

Perhaps, this version maintains my intent without being quite so convoluted:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
It is ironic, there’s such a great distance between enjoyment I gain from serving another’s needs, and the hatred I feel when pressed into service to answer those same needs. If I were a factory worker, on the way home after work and stopping at a market, I’d be as glad as anyone to help someone get that unreachable can off the top shelf. But, the idea of being an employee of that same market, and ordered to perform the same service for the same person, is as abhorrent to me as being arrested.

My one patent: www.google.com/patents/us3200421

I’ll concede having been granted a utility patent on an invention of mine during my formative years, will always alter how I see the world. One result is, I find those engaged in the productive sector taking on the hardest task facing the American economy, staying afloat. Another result is, I could  a singular witness to my own life as much as be part of it.

I contend the following:

•   Having a paying job as a factory worker or as a farmer, i.e., in manufacturing, or agriculture, results in the worker’s effort sustaining the economy.
•   Having a paying job as a checker in a grocery market, i.e. at a service, and results in a worker’s dependence on that same economy.

I note, while manufacturing continues to dwindle in the US while our need for services is either growing or staying the same, we don’t seem to be paying for ourselves anymore. It appears to me the US is now so poor; we need to borrow from other’s productivity, most notably China’s. I’ll further note, the People’s Republic of China isn’t borrowing from us, even while currently dumping our Treasury bills.

With that in mind, at age 70, rather than trying to unsuccessfully sell my products again, and help sustain the economy, in compromise, I’ll temporarily accept my dependence on the economy, to write a second memoir. In that regard, I’ll be telling the story of this barely recognizable country I found while spending eight years, insane, living on the real streets of San Francisco.

« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 06:56:34 AM by Jim Williams » Logged

gckatz
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2016, 07:57:37 AM »

Quote
For example, I also sent it to President Obama to hear if I got the economics right, being I'm only guessing, anyway.

Wait, seriously? Seriously? Dude. There may be problems here other than your synopsis.

Everyone has made really good comments and you've thanked them all and then done literally nothing that they said. Part of the purpose of synopses is to prove that you can write to spec. If you're supposed to write a summary of your plot and instead you write a ramble about not wanting to have a job, agents will assume that whenever they ask you "add this" or "change that," they'll get a ramble about not wanting to have a job.
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Jim Williams
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2016, 09:42:47 AM »

I wrote President Obama about five years ago on a related subject and his response was to, without commenting on it, say he had read my letter. I'm sorry, but that's  enough for me to further ask if my perception of the economics between China and the US was accurate. Are we that poor?

I've tried to reduce the convolution I've been hearing from more than one person. I still have my work cut out for me as you are still misinterpreting how I feel about work. I've not heard, "get a job" for years. At 70, I'm complaining about the earnings of Chinese workers going to pay for all our American servants, not to mention put our increasing balance of trade problems and the debt on our future generations. That's why I'm asking the president if it's true.   

My purpose is to get people to want to read my book. I'm trying to establish I can still think as the needed description of how I lived, doesn't indicate from how far out I've come back from it all.



« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 09:46:46 AM by Jim Williams » Logged

Falthor
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2016, 09:50:49 AM »

okay..  just throwing my 2 cents in here.

This isn't a synopsis.

This isn't a query.

This isn't an elevator pitch.

A synopsis is a linear breakdown of the story in the book.   It's not a fluff piece that you use to "get people to want to buy your book"  That's what your query and elevator pitch are for.  The synopsis lays out the story in short form so an agent can see how you go from point A to point B, and have an overview of your book.  This combined with the query (the sizzle piece that makes him want to read your book), and the opening X number of pages is what they need to make a decision on.

I repeat,This is not a synopsis.
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Jim Williams
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2016, 10:09:21 AM »

Falthor:

I do concede I'm being unfair to writers here. Outside possible replies to other comments, I won't be back here until I have something much closer to a synopsis.

A thank you, anyway. 
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 10:29:04 AM by Jim Williams » Logged

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