Thursday, September 27, 2012

Synopsizes Suck!

I know, I know it’s something we all moan about, but we all have to do them if we want to be traditionally published. I haven’t had to write one for a while because it’s been all book writing for the last several months, but this past week I had to put one together for a book that’s going out on submission.


Now this is a book I’ve already completed. I already know the story inside and out. There is no figuring out what should happen next. There is simply telling the story of the book you already wrote. Simple right?

Nope. I still struggled. What elements to tell, what can be left out. How to show case the relationship within a few lines so the person reading the synopsis will get a sense of what the book is about without going into too much detail.

And the thing about the synopsis – there seems to be a lot of gray area around it. Everyone knows what a pitch is – 2 to 3 sentences that showcase your story. Something High Concept! Everyone knows what a query is – one page. A couple of paragraphs dedicated to the story and a paragraph detailing the author’s writing credentials.

But for the synopsis I’ve heard editors say 5 pages. 10 pages. Even as high as 20 pages. Let me tell you the difference between telling your story in 5 pages and 20 pages is a BIG difference.

Me – I’m a ten page max kind of person. My thinking is if you wanted to read 20 pages of something then you might as well just read the book.

So fortunately that’s done and I can say something I never thought I would say. I can go back to doing the easy thing of just writing the book.

6 comments:

Eileen said...

They so suck! I hate them. It's been a long time since I've written one on a completed book, but I recall it as still being hard.

You spend weeks and weeks teasing out the subtleties and layering theme and meaning and mood and then suddenly you're supposed to strip it all away!

Maureen McGowan said...

They are hard. So hard....

Maureen McGowan said...

BTW. Synopsizes. Cleverly invented word. :) Love it.

Should have mentioned that I prefer synopsize small. Even if small is sometimes hardest to write.

Anonymous said...

It's as if you have to write them logically instead of creatively. It's a completely different mindset.

MarcieR

Eileen said...

Yes, Marcie! And yet you still have to get some of your voice in there to get a taste of that as well. So so so hard.

Sinead M said...

They are, by a long ways, my least favourite part of writing

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