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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Synopsis? Yawn.

Who here has ever written a book report?

And who can say in all honesty that they really enjoyed writing said report?

*crickets chirping*

That's what I thought. Writing a synopsis is like writing a book report back in third grade. My favorite part of writing my book report on Ronald Reagan for Mrs. Neale's class? I got to draw his picture and bring in Jelly Bellies because they were his favorite candy. Since I don't write children's books there's no drawings and I don't know what an agent would do if I sent candy with a partial and synopsis.

I need to accomplish two things while this manuscript is curing. First, write a killer query. I think I have that. Second, write a jaw-dropping synopsis. I've got the first draft and started polishing, but it's not fun. It's not creative and I'm just not seeing the challenge in it.

I could test myself with the query, make it into a game. Just how does one sum up a novel in a one sentence hook? It took me a while, but I did it. But a synopsis? How do you make that fun? I know I need to interject voice, but I'm still not digging this part of the process.

Come on guys! Help a girl out here!


Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Interesting points. At my end, I have yet to write that killer query and synopsis combination so I am looking to you to help me with that! All the best!

Matthew Delman said...

Ugh ... I hates the synopses. I've thus far avoided writing them, thankfully, but I know once I get to the querying stage with CaN that some agents are going to want it.

So very much dreading that.

Natalie said...

I hate synopses too! Mine was bad. Luckily most agents don't require one (my agent didn't--thank goodness!)

Valerie Geary said...

I wrote about this a couple months ago: http://valeriegeary.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-dear-dreaded-synopsis.html Though I still have yet to find a way to make it fun!!! If you discover any ideas ... please ... let me know. :) Oh and good luck!

Amalia T. said...

I am totally with you on this! It feels SO MUCH like homework! The synopsis, and the chapter summaries both. And it's so time consuming to do!

I recently saw one agent was requesting a query, synopsis, AND RESUME, and I almost died a little bit. I thought the Query was supposed to also act kind of like the resume in regard to writing experience.

I hashed out a synopsis I'm not proud of for my second book. it isn't very detailed or in depth, and it's only a page and a half. I just can't bring myself to get into it again, even though I KNOW I have to. yuck!

I'll write a query any day of the week over a synopsis!

Susan R. Mills said...

I hate writing the synopsis! I wish I had some answers for you, but I don't.

L. T. Host said...

Writing a synopsis after finishing tweaking your book and THEN finishing tweaking your query is like getting a cavity drilled without novocaine. It hurts, and there doesn't seem to be a real good reason for it, but it's there, and you're dealing with it.

I hated my synopsis for WIND FURY, don't imagine I'll like the one for VITILIGO much more.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Yay! I'm not alone! Well, not that I want everyone else suffering through a synopsis, but I'm glad to know it's not just me doing something wrong.

I can only hope most agents don't want to see this thing!

Tamika: said...

A synopsis sounds more painful than cramming 50,000 words in one month. Sorry, I have NaNo on my brain.

I attempted a one page synopsis for my WIP and it sounded pitiful.


ElanaJ said...

I think the key to a good synopsis is the same as the key to a good novel. Just sit down and let yourself write it. Use the same voice, and don't worry about how long it is.

Then... edit that sucker a million times. Cut, rearrange, tear apart. Only say the most important things in the most important way.

That's what I did. It wasn't a one-sitting job. More like, well, as long as it takes to get it right. And my synop is now one page, written in the same voice as my novel. 7 paragraphs, baby. And it took for. ev. er.

Stephanie L. McGee said...

Best of luck! I have yet to reach that point in the process.

Wendy Sparrow said...

Writing a synopsis is like the ugly monster in the closet of writing. I get a migraine each time--guaranteed. I will tell you one thing, though... have someone proof read it that has NEVER read your book. Get a separate beta reader for it--so that you'll know if you really do get across the book without having read it. A cold beta--it sounds like a way to torture a fish.

I need to rework my synopsis for one of my books and it's this dreaded chore that I keep putting off.

Gary Corby said...

There are a few bizarre individuals who write their synopsis first and then use it as an outline for the novel. Works for them, I guess.

My suggestion for what little it's worth is, write a good blurb first. You have to do it for the query anyway. Then expand the blurb little by little to become the synopsis. Growing is easier than shrinking.

Good luck, and know that I feel your pain.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Ohhhh... All good advice. Thanks everyone!

I took a stab at the dreaded synopsis again this afternoon and cleaned it up a little. But that doesn't mean I liked it. :)