Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Here I Go Again

Here we go synopsizing along the... la la laaaa. I forget the words. Anyway, I'm back to synopsizing again. Weeeeeee.

This morning I re-read Anne Mini's series on writing a synopsis. It fired me up last time. This time? Not so much. I know the drill. I've done it umpteen times now; I can do it again.

So why the hell is it so damn hard?

*shrug* Hard or not, it has to be done. The first agent on my list asks for a synopsis up front. Of course, I could be a wimp and not submit to her yet, but that would be cutting off my nose to spite my face. There is no rational reason to handicap my chances by not doing a synopsis, so here I am. Again.

One of the things Ms. Mini says about writing a synopsis is to not get a 'tude about it. I don't have one. I seriously understand the need, and I'm happy to comply. My problem is, I don't feel like I write them nearly as well as I write the story. My stories flow out of me, and I have to drag a synopsis out.

Another thing she says, and many agree with, is that the synopsis should read like a story. It should not read like a laundry list of events. I get that. I try to write them that way. I really do. And they still come out that way. Turds that they are. So I edit the damn synopses almost as much as I edited the manuscript (maybe more... I know it feels like more).

Anyway, enough bitching. I got a good start out tonight. And this is how I've learned to do it...

First, I sit down on the couch with a notepad. Today I spent most of the day thinking about how to begin. I made a few lame attempts, and finally hit on the wording for the first paragraph. After that I did several more lame attempts at the second paragraph until I was irritated enough to walk my ass over to the computer. I typed in the good stuff, and let my fingers do the walking from there. It's crap, and it needs a boatload of editing, but it's better than sitting and thinking about what I want to say. (Never get writing done just sitting and thinking, I say.) After the first few paragraphs, I opened the manuscript, and checked to see if I was skipping anything. Yep, missed some important points. Added that stuff in, and moved forward.

Right now I have 713 words of synopsis, and I've covered the first six chapters. Not a bad start now that I think about it. Since part of my attack plan for these things is to write down every little thing, there'll be a lot of chopping to get it down to the typical 3-5 pages - depending on which agent wants it. Then there'll be those agents who want the whole damn thing, and the agents who only want a page or two at the most. I'll tailor it to whoever I'm sending it to, of course. (One thing about writing an in-depth synopsis is that you can always tweak it to whatever length it needs to be. If you've only got a two-pager, expanding it to 7-10 pages is so much harder, I think.)

So, the hope is that I will be able to send this out on submission soon. If you're reading this and you're still reading for me, keep going. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

How do you feel about synopsizing? Any tips?

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1 comment:

Anne Mini said...

I've been meaning for a month to thank you for posting this -- your timing was excellent, as I was just about to go back and revisit the problems of synopsis-writing. To tell you the truth, I hadn't really considered how differently my previous attempts might have looked to someone reading them for the second, not the first, time.

It did change the way I approached it this time around (the new series begins here, and I think it's meatier. So thank you for prompting me to look at it from a different perspective.

Keep up the good work!