Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Dreaded Synopsis

Since my synopsis is staring me down like its a bull and I'm a waving red flag, I thought I'd temporarily tame (or at least distract!) the beast by sharing my woes! =)

(for any none writers out there, a synopsis is a short summary of your entire novel, in full. No surprises or hooks, like "Will Little Timmy stay in the well forever, or will Lassie save the day once again?" No, this is a detailed summary, generally 3-5 pages, to show the editor point by point how the story goes!)

You've probably heard of writers talking about their "dreaded synopsis". Usually, a synopsis isn't so dreaded for me. I guess because when I write it, it serves as my intial plotting of the novel. I plot the book as I write the synopsis, which works better for me than writing the synopsis after I've written the book. Besides, I am selling by proposal now to my publisher so I HAVE to have the synopsis first as part of the proposal package. So its usually a fun process because I get to see the story unfold as I go.

This time was indeed dreaded, however, because of the details involved in my particular plot. Ever had stories like that? You have the idea in concept, think its going to be clear cut and simple, but then as you start charting it out, little tentacles begin spreading and weaving sticky arms around new problems and new issues to address. The more you fix, the more new tentacles sprout.

The end result is usually (hopefully!?) a deeper, layered, flawless plot. But fighting those tentacles...

Well now I've realized I've used both an octopus and a bull as metaphors for my synopsis. Can you tell I am ready to get past this stage? lol

To make matters worse, the dreaded synopsis I thought was done is now in need of mild revisions that have created new legs. Tentacles. Horns. Whatever. In other words, I'm not done yet afterall! Sigh. Must finish today before the beast overtakes me!

What about you? Is your synopsis always dreaded? Do you have a new method to share of how to deal? What animal do you fight? =)


Georgiana said...

LOL, I saw a documentary the other day on bull fighters. In your long battle, don't get gored!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I find Writing the Fiction Synopsis by Pam McCutcheon VERY helpful!

Erica Vetsch said...

I used to dread the synopsis, but now, not so much. Since becoming something of a plotter instead of a pantser, I wind up with a fairly detailed synopsis before I ever write the book.

My dilemma now arises when the story needs to veer a little off the prepared synopsis. Does it mean my synopsis was wrong or does it mean the writing is wrong? ARGH! It's always something!

Lori said...

Which animal do I fight? My synopsis is a tricky little monkey--Curious George always getting in trouble. But he and I, we've learned to care for one another. :)

Don't worry, girl, you're becoming a champion bull-fighter as we speak! Andele!