One of my pet hates is writing a synopsis. I have quite a lot of pet hates, as I think I’ve established previously on here, but writing a synopsis features right up there with riding a nasty fairground ride, whilst poking my eyeballs out with a rusty pin.
Happy as I am to write posts, poems, or 100,000 words of the latest tome, my blood is chilled by the prospect of penning the synopsis.
I am terrible at it. There are so many things to get hung up on.
- Length – There is a lot of discussion as to how long it needs to be. I have seen suggestions of ‘not more than one page’ to ‘one page per 25,000 words of manuscript’. That’s helpful for a start.
- Edit, edit, edit, we are told. But you must get in the main characters, the setting, time (if not present day), the entire story, including sub-plots and the ending. Just the important characters, the ones you want your reader to care about.
- Only tell the main bits, the things that move your story forward and give the motivation of the characters. OK, but what if the motivation of a character involves an entire sub-plot with another load of characters? Or thirty years of back-story you’re trying not to info-dump? Do they have to go in there? Or do we just say ‘driven by jealousy’ or ‘to avenge the death of her father’?
- Include themes and any symbolism you might have realised you have running through the novel. So I’d guess 50 Shades might have a bit of symbolism going on which should be included. I bet that synopsis would be interesting to write. No wonder she self-published originally.
- You should imagine that you are writing the blurb for the back of the book jacket. Or describing to a friend the film you just went to see. What you will contrive to do is to hook your reader, in this case the agent or publisher, giving a snappy guide to what they will find, only here, unlike in the blurb, you give away the ending.
- Plus the whole thing must be enticing, enthusiastic and as readable as the novel.
So that, apparently, is that.
Don’t know what I’m getting so hung up about.
Anyone know a good ghost writer for that dreaded synopsis?