07 August 2010

Synopsis Writing

If you're looking for professional advice on synopsis writing -- sorry. If you're looking for encouragement to write your synopsis -- come on in!

Today is the day I write the synopsis for my PNR novella, "Syrian Dreams" (still working on that title).

It used to be that I dreaded the synopsis. I never knew where to start. At the beginning? Thanks for that. I knew the synopsis began with the beginning of the story, but how did I capture the "voice" of the book? What did I include, and leave out? Could I include a snatch of dialogue? How much should I write? What would impress an editor?

Now I start the synopsis by reading the guidelines of the publishing house I'm submitting the MS to. That way I know the length of the synopsis and I've refreshed in my mind the "voice" I was aiming for in the MS and which I want to come through the synopsis.

Then I remind myself that a synopsis is written in the present tense. It's about hitting the high points of plot, character and what makes the story (and makes the story unique). In a sense, as well as outlining the story, the synopsis is a marketing exercise.

Now I'm ready to write. So what do I do? I start reading.

Yup. Reading. Because what I've found is that if I combine the final revision of my MS with the process of writing the synopsis I not only enjoy both more, but I find the plot holes. Believe me, hitting the high points of the story as you revise it gives you a good sense of if the MS has enough oomph to engage readers.

So the truth that would get me kicked out of any writers' den is that I like synopsis writing. I don't love it the way I do editing, but I do enjoy the fact it's my chance to polish and sell the MS.

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