Thursday, May 5, 2011

Simple Synopsis.

So I've been thinking a lot lately about the ever dreaded synopsis. I'm doing this in the car because I have no time otherwise, and truth be told, I'm only thinking about it as a diversion. I should be thinking about finishing my revisions long before I think about the synopsis, but it keeps me from having to do revisions. I know some writers use their synopsis as an outline. Me, not so much. I can't figure out if I'm truly struggling with it, or if I'm too intimidated by the whole concept. My story is so complex, at least it feels that way to me. The story spans three hundred years. How am I supposed to sum that up? Girl meets boy. Boy seems weird. Boy turns out to be weird. Girl meets other boy who is also weird. Falls for second weird guy, only to discover she's sort of weird too. Girl uncovers a dark family secret that leads to another weird discovery. Fairies show up that may have once upon a time caused such weirdness. Girl accepts herself for being weird, defeats other weird adversaries then goes on to live happily ever  after with weird boy number two. It's of course a little more to it than that but I think it works. Oh God.

Maybe I'll just stick to beta reading.


  1. I felt like I wrote a pretty good synopsis a while back... Then I lost it. Grr.
    So I know how you feel. I'm trying to rewrite it, whilst also in the midst of revisions... So, i know your pain.
    We'll make it through.

  2. The synopsis us what I always had trouble with.

  3. LOL!!!! I was terrified of the synopsis until I actually wrote one out. It was awful-- lots of telling rather than showing, but I had something I could work with to make it interesting. It seems daunting to try and capture the whole story in those two pages, but I found it easiest for me to stick with the highlights.

    And, after reading yours, I see you decided on your man for your girl. That's awesome news!

  4. Oh, you sound like I did when I was about to make my first attempt at writing my synopsis. I, too, have a stupidly complex plot--tells you what's bouncing around in my brain, huh??? I even had a brilliant author from Britain help me, and the first thing she said after reading my first draft of they synopsis was, "This sounds like episodes for a TV series. Have you considered that?"

    Haha...the best advice I can give you is to pull yourself away from the story and see what is absolutely essential to moving the main plot forward, including external and internal growths. Period. Oh, and tell the entire story. Sounds contradictory, doesn't it? Not really, when you stop and really discover the essentials of your story.

    Best of luck!!

  5. HA.

    I hate writing the synopsis. I've written two (for two different mss). The second one was easier than the first, but still hard.

    Seriously, if we could have told the story on one or two pages, we would have written a short story!!! YIKES.

    And, yet, many agents require a synopsis.

    So, use your post as your guide (bare bones), add a little flesh, and there you go. Done.

    Good Luck.

  6. Ha! Actually, I'd read it based on that synopsis! I actually think writing the synopsis can help with revision in terms of clarifying your plot.

    Here's an incredibly helpful blog post on writing a synopsis:

  7. The Synopsis. It's an evil little demon, aye?

    You know what's worse? I've seen a number of postings by Agents (and even Publishers) saying they don't even read them. Unless they have to. And that having to is a bad sign.

    Why is it a bad sign? Because the Synopsis is, supposedly, the place you show you haven't left any plot holes. That you really do have a story that moves from breathless start, through desperate middle to (sometimes) triumphant end. And the Agents and Publishers I read (not all of them, but some) said they stuff the Synopsis in a drawer and may never take it out. Unless. Unless what? Unless while reading they think the plot doesn't mesh, doesn't hold water, doesn't make sense. Then they take the Synopsis out of the drawer and read it. But having to, in their view, means there may be a problem.

    Of course, not all Agents are like that. Or Publishers. Some use the Synopsis to try to asses whether the book has a place in current saleable markets. Some use it to see if it's likely to be something the partocular contacts they have might find of interest. And some...

    Well, sometimes I think we think some are just like I said. Evil demons who like to torture us :-P.



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