Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Did I mention I hate suckopses?

When I do a synopsis for an art fact sheet, usually the book is done.  And I do not generally use them as a selling tool.  At least not in the same way I did when I was subbing to Harlequin hoping to make a first sale.  And even then, the book was written.  Even if I only subbed the first three chapters, the first draft was done.  I knew how it all worked out.  I didn't enjoy synopsis writing, but it was a necessary evil and I did okay, I think.

But right now I'm in the position of both needing to write a "selling" synopsis and one for a book that isn't completed yet.  It, and a partial, are going to be with my agent by the end of the month.  Yesterday I managed to write a synopsis - 3000 words - that was pretty much completely devoid of goals, motivation, and character arcs.  In other words, I was so focused on HOW the story played out that I forgot to put in the WHY.  And that's important.  Because if I want to sell an editor on this story, I have to make them care about what happens - not just know about it.

2500 words later  = new synopsis.

I think I find this particularly challenging because I'm a pantser.  I don't plot.  I don't have things all worked out in the beginning.  That does involve a lot of trial and error but it would happen anyway, because when I plot, what looks good in summary often doesn't work out in execution. And it's not that I don't think synopses are important.  It's just that I've been in the enviable position of being able to write them after the fact when I do actually know what happens.

This afternoon is being spent working on the first three chapters, which are being reworked for the zillionth time trying to get it just right. And possibly juggling scenes. AGAIN.

Please God, if I can just get these first three in the right place, I might actually be able to move forward.


  1. Gosh, Donna. I feel your pain! I write my synopses at the end too, but have had to write them before and I suck at it. One of my crit partners always reads then suggests I write an 'internal only' synopsis, then I combine them.

  2. I'm a plotter, so maybe that makes a difference, but I LOVE writing synopses. I think this comes from my stint as a TV episode recapper. In fact, that's probably the best advice I could give anyone who hates writing synopses--recap a couple of your favorite TV shows. You'll learn quickly what's important, what's not, where the natural breaks are, etc.

  3. ((hugs))) Donna. Synopsis writing, IMHO ,is an art in itself- one I'm not good at - lol. Heck, I'm struggling to write a TWO line blurb for my HM&B New Voices competition entry! Caroline xx

  4. the only thing that keeps me alive while writing is the synopsis, am a pantster and the only thing that keeps me from loosing focus is the synopsis i did at the beginning. AGreed characters come to life and things change mid writing. but the synopsis is my friend

  5. I feel your pain Donna! I hope those three chapters behave themselves. Good luck! :)