Friday, August 6, 2010

Synopsis Hell

I love every aspect of writing fiction except one. I’ll give you one guess as to what that is. Okay, so the title of the blog gave away my weakness. When a synopsis is complete and my critique partners have given it the thumbs up, I forget what an effort it is to distil into a few pages the salient points of a story that comprises thousands of words. I suppose my mind blocks out the pain in the same way it did after having each baby. Otherwise, I’d never submit myself to the experience again.

But I’m pleased to say I’ve wrestled the latest synopsis into submission and it’s almost ready to go out the door.

My husband’s theory is that writing a synopsis is a left-brain activity, so it’s obviously too organised and methodical for me. Anyone who’s seen my desk knows I’m neither organised nor methodical!

Helen Scott Taylor writes adventure-fantasy romance. Find out more at www.helenscotttaylor.com

9 comments:

Jodi Lynn Copeland said...

I think a whole bunch of authors feel your pain, Helen! I actually don't mind writing synopsis but I write them too long. Most editors prefer 5 pages max. Mine tend to be 10 pages. I have to embark on a new synopsis this weekend and I am already dreading it. How can I possibly fit so much story with so many key points into just a handful of pages? I am very organized by nature, so I can't even claim that excuse. I think the bottomline is just that simply that it's hard to cram so much into so little space, and that synopsis is totally the opposite of writing the story. The story is shown, the synopsis is told...so we are basically "unlearning" the golden rule in writing one. Good luck on your next synopsis adventure. :)

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Congratulations, Helen, on completing your synopsis, and good luck with the submission. I agree with Jodi. Writing the synopsis and the manuscript uses two different skill sets. I'm guessing the more you write them the easier they become. :)

Do you write the synopsis before the story or after?

Mona Risk said...

I have been trying for two days to write a synopsis and already have four versions of the first paragraph. This is how far I have gone. An editor once told to write the emotional development and then insert the plot points. Easy to say. Why is that not working when I am trying to do it?

morgan wyatt said...

Hi,
I was recently forwarded a contest for the best synopsis. I left it in my inbox as something I was going to get around to---I wonder how many other writers did likewise.:)I am betting quite a few.

Jill James said...

Lee Lopez is giving a synopsis workshop to our Black Diamond Chapter tomorrow. She is amazing with a synopsis. She can take your story and have you write a synopsis in 30 minutes or less; all done. She did an online workshop this past year and still has students write her to say thank you.

GINA ARDITO said...

Not to toot my own horn, but I have the *perfect* article on writing the short synopsis. Answer ten questions, put them into narrative form and voila! Finito! You can find The Top Ten Questions for a Successful Synopsis at http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticleTopTenQuestions.html

Joan Leacott said...

HI Helen, I rely on Mary Buckham's method for my synopsis writing. She has two great lecture packets you can buy off her website at http://www.marybuckham.com/LecturePacketspage.html. But, even all this wonderful help, it's still a painful experience.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I've heard a clean desk is the sign of a sick mind. :)

Yes, most definitely, a synopsis is quite a task especially when we have so much to say about our stories. How do 'they' expect us to explain our characters is such a few amount of words? Since I am a panster I really can't write my synopsis until the story is over. But, I guess every business has its drawback, but the rest is great spending time with characters living in your head and deciding their future.

Joanne said...

Helen,
I can't believe you would have any difficulty writing a synopsis. I always envision any sort of writing to be so easy for you. I have such difficulty writing a synopsis. For some odd reason, the shorter it is, the more difficult it is to write.