Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Dreaded Synopsis

No, I didn't make that wonderful title up. It's on the Steeple Hill website. You can find the link on the side of my blog.
I find myself in a scary place. A request for a synopsis for one of my manuscripts has reached me. The problem? I hate synopses. I have no confidence in my ability to write one in an incredible way that makes someone want to read my story. Structurally, I know some basic rules.
So for the last two days I've been procrastinating. It's make or break here. I want this synopsis to be awesome, so titillating that the editor throws her hands in the air and screeches, "I Must Read That!" And then she calls me in the middle of the night to talk contract.
OUCH. Sorry, just pinched myself so I'd wake up.
Anywayyyyy. Thank goodness for critique groups. I'm going to toss my synopsis out there and tell them to eat it up and spit it out.
Ew. Okay, nasty image.
Big Sigh. The important thing is to do my best and trust God to guide this manuscript (and my life) in the direction He wants it to go.
Alrighty then.
Now I need to write it. :-(

1 comment:

tina gray said...

Hey Jessica! First off, CONGRATULATIONS on getting a request for a synopsis!! That is awesome progress!

Second, take a deep breath and hang in there, girl. Writing a novel is a thousand times easier than trying to whittle it down to three to five pages of highlights. You are not alone in your anxiety!

Some of the best advice I ever received was so simple, yet so brilliant. Tell the story as if your telling it to a friend. Like you told us in your earlier blog what Tang's book was about, but just use a bit more detail to spruce it up and make it sing.

A couple of things that have helped me with mine in the past is to whittle down the character list. The agent doesn't need to know about anyone but your hero/heroine/antagonist and their journey. They don't need secondary characters' subplots, no matter how delicious they may be. Find no more than the three of the most crucial characters in the story and spout out the plot following only their journey.

Also, you can sit down with a few books that are the same basic "genre" or theme as yours and read their book blurbs. Now, write a short two paragraph blurb of your own, using their's as a "frame" for yours (replace names and events to personalize to your book). After this, expand it with just a bit more detail.

But don't forget. You have to let them know the ending. Agents don't want you to withhold that info. It annoys them. when they ask for the synopsis, they want a play by play of the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Oh, and saying a prayer is never a bad idea, either.

As to that book I told you about earlier, the author is Dianne Setterfield. Like I said, I'm only a few pages in. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews as to the story itself, but so far I find the writing is beautiful and captivating. I'll have to let you know in few months what I think of it when I'm done. (It takes me a long time to read a book when I'm writing one of my own). ;-P