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Squishing it all together…

I promised last week to cover the dreaded synopsis challenge every writer is forced to endure once they’ve completed their novel.  As far as I’m concerned, writing a synopsis is a hell of a lot harder than writing the damn book.  Seriously, you’re expected to squish 350 pages into 5….3 5 0   down to  5.  Do you see the problem here? Besides the fact that 350 has three placeholders and 5, a lonely one?  Yeah, it’s enough to make you want to spike your coffee with cynanide.

As much as I highly dislike this part of the querying process, there is no escaping it.  Really.  Just go out and look at any submission policies from any publishing house or agency.  I guarentee somewhere in that long list of how to send in your stuff will be the word “synopsis”.

It sounds simple enough.  Tell us what your book is about in 2-5 pages.  Ummm, can’t you just read it? Please?  (The whine factor here is off the charts, by the way.)  The honest answer is–no.  Agents and acquiring editors are inundated with queries every hour of every day.  I think the synopsis is a test of sorts.  How well do you know your story? Do you know the most important, intriquing parts of the story? Enough to hook someone into joining your fictional world in 2-5 pages?  If you do, you’re ahead of the game.  If you don’t, you’re about to find out.

Granted queries are suppose to be the first step to snagging someone’s attention, but once you have it, you want to keep it on you.  We’re not greedy, but we do want them to read what we’ve written.  They’re not going to want to come on the journey unless you have a clear path laid out with lovely cakes and pasteries (versus Hansel & Gretel’s breadcrumbs), so that before they realize it, they have completed the journey with you.   This is why your synopsis is so huge. 

How do you get it down? You have to mill down your story to the bones.  If you use Scrivner, it’s a bit easier. Just use the corkboard layout and if you’ve done it right you have a one to two sentence outline for each chapter.  If you’re Scrivner-less, you get to do the same thing.  Remember, high points here.  You don’t need to go into the fact your hero/heroine ate a blueberry muffin, spilled her coffe that made her late for work if what really happened was that by being late for work your hero/heroine walks into a robbery in progress. 

Remember, you’ve already written the story, now, you want to tell the major points.  Adjectives are not necessary, long descriptions are best kept in your manuscript, but you’re a writer so make sure your voice comes through.  Not every little event needs to be detailed, the big ones that impact the ending, those need to be shared.  Here’s the thing, a query doesn’t answer all the questions because you want them to go read your book.  A synopsis will set up the world, your characters, your overall plot and answer all the questions. And it does it, in a logical fashion–no jumping from scene to scene like a hyper Mexican jumping bean.

The best advice I can share: just sit down, write out your book as if someone asked you, “So what’s your book about.”  Don’t work about formatting, etc., just answer that question.  When you’re done, it won’t be pretty by all the necessary points should be there. Then you can go back and polish it up. 

Those who’ve survived the synopsis trials, please, please share how you managed to survive!


And to think you were done…

I promised to drag you along this journey of crafting a novel from beginning to end, but I have found that my OCD tendencies have put a kibosh to multi-tasking in this one aspect of my life.  I may be able to juggle the Prankster Duo, the hellhound, the knight in slightly muddy armor, the job that pays the bills, life in the Swamp, and various other aspects commonly referred to as LIFE, but when it comes to writing, I can only do one thing at a time.

So now that Shadow’s Soul is off my desk and on my editor’s, I thought I was good to go for book 3.  Until I realized I’m not finished with Shadow’s Soul just yet.  Nope, now I need a tag line, a synopsis, and a cover.  Great.  I’m so thrilled (and yes, that is sarcasm in my voice!).

Although the opening scene of book 3 is floating around in my head along with Eerie’s voice screeching “Just write it, damn it!” while Snarky’s whip is whispering along my prickling skin, I can’t do it.  Not yet.  Not until the tag line and synopsis is done.

I enjoy writing, because let’s face it, if I didn’t, I’d have to be a masochist to put my self through all this crap for some words on paper. Yet I have to say that trying to pare down 387 pages into two catchy paragraphs is like trying to get my hellhound into the backseat of my car for a vet’s visit.  It’s not pleasant and suddenly there seems to be a long list of things I just HAVE TO DO RIGHT NOW.  It stinks but it’s something that has to be done.

Plus I’ve found that my working line of logic to tie up the project known as Shadow’s Soul is somewhere along the lines of:  DO SYNOPSIS, CREATE TAG LINE, and then, go forth and try to piece together your cover so it matches what the book’s really about.  I have started but I just keep stalling out.

As soon as this post is done, I think I’ve run out of THINGS I MUST DO RIGHT NOW and will be forced to finish my dreaded synopsis and tag, then submit it to the other Evil 7 for dissemination.

Procrastination is now heading for the door and wiggling bony fingers in a very snerky way leaving me chained to my desk with a keyboard super glued to my fingers and a mental countdown clock is slowly driving me mad.

I will get this done, really…

Oh look, a text message from my BFF… movie at 5 tonight?  I think I can work that in…

Short but sweet…

Unfortunately, this week my post is short and sweet.  Thanks to having to travel for the job that pays the bills, I was marrooned in an aluminum container many, many hundreds of feet above ground for a couple of hours where viruses of all sorts and sizes were allowed topercolate.  Now I am the proud owner of a sinus infection.  So other than trying to get the Prankster Duo, the hellhound and the knight in slightly muddy armor back on track for the upcoming week, I’m wracking my brain for a good tag line and trying to gouge out the synop for Shadow’s Soul. Once I manage some sort of progress, I’ll submit it over the Evil 7 and pretend I’ve accomplished something this week!

I promise a better blog next week.  Until then…have fun, but not so much that you can’t afford the bail!


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