Saturday, May 28, 2011

Synopsis Skirmishes

At the writing conference I recently attended, I had one agent ask me--ever so politely--if I wouldn't pretty please mind sending her my first three chapters AND a short synopsis?? I plastered the best sugary sweet smile I could muster onto my face and purred: 

"But of course, I would LOVE to!"

Inwardly, I was secretly doing this:

And, don't get me wrong, this was NOT because I wasn't tickled pink she wanted to hear from me (cause, lets be honest, I WAS!!) but it was--nonetheless--at the dreary prospect of having to write a synopsis. 

Synopsis. This should be defined in the dictionary as: Satan's spawn of writing.

Or at least something with devil, hell or Satan in the definition somewhere...

Because I received two other full manuscript requests at the conference, I put off writing said synopsis for a good two weeks--three, if you include how I dragged my feet through this one. I figured I'd get the manuscript all polished up fine and hunky dory before worrying about a synopsis, because which is more important, right?

But after clicking the "SEND" button on Monday this week, saying cest la vi! to my lovely manuscript, and with absolutely no more excuses to exhaust, I began working on my synopsis.  

After one day, the score looked like this:

SYNOPSIS: 1,562
JULIE: 0

Okay, maybe it wasn't THAT bad, but it FELT that bad.

I seriously loathe writing synopsises [is that a word??]... Its such a painful process trying to condense 90,000 words into 2 short pages. Why oh why do they make us do it?!

Fortunately, its Saturday, and I think I finally have a working draft of said synopsis. Unfortunately, I don't have any proof readers. I can't use my beta readers because then they'd know the whole plot line... doesn't it defeat the purpose of editing and reviewing if you know how the book is SUPPOSED to go? 

What are your thoughts, dear readers? And what, pray tell, what do you do when faced with an opponent such as a synopsis?

Any and all battle tips would be greatly appreciated!

8 comments:

Nikki said...

hahaha Synopses ARE the Devil!! But it's great experience for the future - my agent sent me an email a few weeks back for a book that was already SOLD, asking for a synopsis of it. I thought "Wait - didn't I already get past that point?"
But no, the dreaded synopsis strikes when you least expect it.

I usually have at least 2 glasses of wine before attempting to write one. LOL

Ru said...

Dude, if you don't mind sending it to a relative stranger, I'd be happy to proof it for ya.

Maggie said...

Sanderson talked about this once in his class, and it sounded absolutely awful. If I happen to find my notes from that particular class time, I'll tell you what advice he gave! For now, I must off to work soon. But hey, I also put in my offer to proofread, if you'd like. :)

Julie said...

Nikki: now that's just mean. I think I would cry. Then possibly throw a tantrum... yes, that sounds about right ( : haha.

Ru: YES! That would be quite helpful! Is there an email address I can send it to?

Maggs: I would LOVE to both see the wisdom that is Sanderson AND use you as a proof reader... that is, as long as you don't mind having every single major plot spoiler in two pages??

Barbara Kloss said...

Gosh, I know that feeling! I have two different versions of my synopsis...one is 4 pgs, the other is 1. I looked online at all the advice I could find. Then, I picked 2 people that were NOT reading my story to glance through to make sure it made sense.

Good luck to you! I think synopsis' are evil. They have horns.

Julie said...

Gah! Two versions... that's right, I need a long one too. Blast.

... [moaning and cursing to self]...

Also horns? Yes. And tails, I think.

m. christine weber said...

Ack! I can SO relate. I wrote one a few weeks back and nearly ate an entire gallon of ice-cream just to make it through. And then at the end of it, I was like--wait, that wasn't so bad! Until the next one, of course... (you can remind me of these words then) *sigh*

This site is what I went off of (totally helpful): http://www.kathycarmichael.com/articles-and-seminars/articles-and-workshops/general-fiction-synopsis/general-fiction-synopsis-seminar/

;-)

Julie said...

M. Christine: Oh, we all have our synopsis writing vices! I think I guzzled my weight in Diet Coke trying to wade through the whole process. So funny ( :

Also, thanks for the link! I'll most definitely be checking it out before attempting round 22 at the synopsis writing booth.

Musica