Tag Archives: motivation

That Dreaded Synopsis

Very interesting, but what’s going on?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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’?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?