Synopsis Magic Wand

Quick update:

Where is the synopsis fairy when I need her? She must wave her wand and write this thing for me!

Just when I thought I was armed and ready to query this tiny little problem popped up. I researched the list of agents who welcome science-fiction and most of them want your synopsis submitted with your query. And guess who hasn’t written her synopsis? Honestly, kids, the synopsis is a monster challenge that kicks your butt until you kick back. I thought a query letter was difficult, but this synopsis thing is astronomically more daunting. Something happens as you examine your novel from beginning to end in 600 hundred words or less.lilac-pen-orange-writing-th Under this close focus, this paring down to bone, your novel weakens or strengthens. Oh dear.  There’s no escaping the moment when you’ve written your draft and you realize your novel doesn’t come across as the amusing intelligent story you know it is. So, I have to draw the line in the sand, the sell it now or never line.

 Good writing  doesn’t always go hand in hand with good salesmanship  but, in this case, it has to. So, I’m forging ahead, fearlessly. Sort of.

This situation definitely goes on my list of mistakes I won’t make on my second novel. Don’t wait until the novel’s completed to write the synopsis. Write it first.

How will you handle the synopsis when the time comes?

Do you have any secrets you want to share? Any pats on the head as I continue to whine my way through this process?

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7 thoughts on “Synopsis Magic Wand

  1. One idea is to write a sentence from every page, then cut the insignificant sentences and link it together.

  2. There have been a couple of times during my revision when I had the impulse to sit down and try to write down exactly WHAT this story of mine is about. I usually ended up with about 2k words of beginning to end speculation and summary, along with a lot of snarky commentary by the Inner Editor. I also have the Lesson 8 scene/sentence synopsis technique to fall back on.
    In other words, you’re scaring me!
    I really like the idea of starting with a synopsis, (at least a vague idea of one!) before I start writing the next one. I might try that. 🙂

    Good luck with this! Summing the story up in 600 words sounds truly daunting, but I’m cheering for you. 🙂

    • Sorry to scare you! It is difficult but, with the help of my novel writing partner, I’m sneaking up on a good synopsis. One mistake I made was not using my novel’s voice. My main character is snarky and tough, so I’m adding more sassiness (but not too much) in the synopsis. Not quite done yet, but it reads much better. Also, I think after working so long on this project, I’ve become so invested in it, I lost track of my original idea. I wanted to write a fun, weekend-read book, nothing more. So, my synopsis needs to reflect those qualities: adventure and danger, romance and humor. 🙂

  3. Not that I know anything, but you seem to be on the right track to me. I don’t like looking at a synopsis as a chore at the end for sales purposes. I have approached it that way before and it was a drag. Instead, I use it to help me hone my plot and theme. I’ve written entirely different synopses for the same book by just changing focus — the characters, the romance, the action — and choose to make it a fun exercise. The same thing with a pitch, except the pitch is so much more compact. Once I adjust my attitude to make it something I look forward to, I find myself understanding my story better.
    I couldn’t agree more with your decision about voice. Although a synopsis is present tense (which your book may or may not be) and there is a lot more telling than showing, I think you definitely want to convey the feel of your book by showing your novel’s voice in a way that fits the format.

    • Thanks, J.C.
      I appreciate your upbeat attitude about synopsis! Since I’m a rooky, I just thought only a query letter was neessary. Yikes! However, with help from friends, I have completed the synopsis, and I feel much better about it. Now, I’ll create a brief bio, and I’ll be ready to submit. Thanks again for your insight. 🙂

  4. I’ve heard some people write the synopsis first, before the novel. I understand that philosophy, but since I don’t follow directions well, that hasn’t been a good plan for me. I like J.C.’s idea of making it an adventure in writing. Isn’t that what he said? Another reason to make it fun for yourself, I heard an agent once say she paid very little attention to the synopsis, because often the story she read and the synopsis were miles apart. But, the synopsis worked to weed out those authors who weren’t willing to work on their story. If other agents feel that way, you’re ahead of the game with not only a synopsis, but a good one. 🙂

    • I haven’t written a synopsis first, but I do use an outline. This time, I’m trying a chapter by chapter outline. I’d really like to eliminate confusion and duplication. Also, I want to learn to stick to a plan instead of wandering all over the place. Although, wandering is often the way to stumble over the best ideas.

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