Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Dreaded Synopsis

I've been working on submissions lately and that includes the dreaded synopsis. I don't actually know anyone who likes writing these horrible beasties. You spend an inordinate amount of time trying to strip a novel that you drafted, crafted, edited and generally made sure that every single word had a purpose and need to exist and then - just when you have it polished and perfect - you have to summarise it in one or two pages and in such a way that whoever reads it will be overcome by your skill and wit and will want to buy it. Well there's only one thing to do in this situation, isn't there. No, screaming abuse at the computer or the person demanding this of you or, for that matter just screaming, won't cut it - although you may temporarily feel better.

What you have to do is to write it. So I have. I'll let you know if it works.


Rosanne Dingli said...

Oh good luck, Helen. I don't like writing synopses - sometimes I think they take longer to write than the book. They take different skills, of course, that's why authors find them so hard. Those precis-writing skills we learned in school aren't enough, either. I had help - other writers lent me two, and I got a lot of advice online.

I'll look out for your Success Sign!

Helen V. said...

They are diabolical to write, aren't they. Just part of the job though, I guess. Even worse is when you are also expected to include a one sentence summary which also has to whet the interest. I've just had to do that too and I swear it took as long as the synopsis.

Satima Flavell said...

I don't know anyone who actually likes writing synopses! They were probably invented by publishers to torture writers.

Helen V. said...

I suspect you're right, Satima. What possible other reason could there be?