Synopsize Me!

The bane of my existence of late has been the synopsis for my novel – or should I say the lack thereof? Yeah, probably. This is a puzzle for me, since generally speaking I haven’t much trouble writing anything. In my illustrious (or not so illustrious) career as a writer I have written menus, newletters, how-to articles, stock offerings, business plans, short stories, poems, novels, blurbs, ad copy, business letters and I guess pretty much anything else you can think of. Yet, this animal known as the synopsis stymies me. It sends me out to shop, pull weeds, clean baseboards, shampoo the dog, vacuum, even ironing. Anything so I don’t have to face the fact that I simply suck at these things.I’ve gone to countless websites, read countless how-to and advice articles on the thing, begged many of the writers I know for tips, tricks and advice and really to no avail. I do have one started. But you know it’s been started for quite a while now and despite constant watering and fertilization it hasn’t become a synopsis yet. Which probably means I’m actually going to have to do something about it, with it, around it.I have recently employed the help of a fellow writer and asked her to give me a deadline or something, to see if that actually helps. Well, she has given me the deadline, so she has held up her end of the bargain. And I’ve written it on a little piece of paper that I prop up against my monitor (and successfully ignore almost always), so I suppose I’ve begun to do my part. But…

Now, for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, a little background: A couple years ago, maybe longer, I wrote a murder mystery that was really quite a lot of fun to write. Then it sat, because…well, then there is that marketing thing that must be done. You’d think since I’ve done marketing for other people and was actually paid for it, that it’d be a snap for me to do some for myself – not so much. So, it sat some more. A few months ago I had a friend read the manuscript which sort of got me fired up again and again I was determined to do this synopsis and I did get started and about a 1/3 of the way through but then – clunk – stopped. The bitch of it is that I need the darn thing to interest agents and publishers in my novel. I can’t just send it to them with a note that says, please read. They just won’t go for that approach anymore. Too bad, but true.

So, here I sit, waiting for the synopsis faery to drop by and sprinkle some magic dust over my computer so I can wake up to a perfectly done and presentable synopsis. I am getting a little worried though, my last call to her wasn’t returned and time is zipping by.

So, now I’m going to do something that I probably shouldn’t – I’m going to tell you the deadline. That way, if you’re in a particularly naggy mood on that day you can rag my butt about whether or not it’s done. Or you can make fun of me because I am just a total synopsis slacker. Take your pick. The deadline is – June 5th of this year (damn it!). So synchronize your watches and get those water balloons ready. Otay?

WC

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14 thoughts on “Synopsize Me!

  1. Good luck with that! I’m sure you’ll be fine. Minding, of course, that you have until Tuesday. If you need me to do anything for you– send some cookies, melted ice-cream, or just a big picture of a smiley face…Let me know.
    M.

    Yes, do send all of the above. And a big bottle of scotch too. 😆
    WC

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  2. Can you put your finger on the trouble a bit more? Hazarding a guess, is it possible that you see all the woven subplots and plot and characters and have difficulty pulling out a few intriguing sentences to want to make an agent bite?
    So, if I’m flipping through a stack of books at the bookstore giving each of them about ten seconds as I decide what to invest a few bucks and hours of my future in, what about your story would intrigue me?
    Can you start with the hook, then give enough so an agent will know the book delivers from start to finish?

    Hey Ben,
    Compelling questions and all good ones too. Because of concerns about plaguerism, I can’t answer them here. But it’s also not the first time I’ve seen them. I think the simple answer is that it’s just something I really hate to do – promote myself. It always either sounds self serving and insincere or dry as dust.
    WC

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  3. Hi WC,
    Just write it! Do the best you can in an hour. Then every day spend an hour rewriting it. If you start today, it should be in pretty good shape by Monday. Post it here, and I bet you’ll get all kinds of advice for the final edit. Good luck.
    Oh, once you’re rich and famous with an agent and everything, I have a manuscript I wrote several years back…
    the Grit

    Hi Grit,
    Ah…I see you are from the Evelyn Wood School of Speed-Synopsising. Sort of like hold your nose and take the medicine fast before you have a chance to taste it? Yes, I’ve tried that approach – but it’s a 400 page book with many twists and turns and an hour won’t cut it. Still, I plod on. Thanks.
    WC

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  4. Ooooh. Putting it out for the world to see. Desperate, huh?
    No nagging from me…..I’m waiting is all I’ll say. You have the weekend. Heh, heh, heh.

    Aha, we hear from the evil taskmaster. Well, you’ll have your pound of flesh soon enough. Don’t you worry about that my lovely. muwhahahahahahahahahaha 👿
    WC

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  5. holy shit that’s Tuesday!! get off yer ass girlie!

    You mean get on my ass, doncha? I can’t write well whilst standing up. I wish I could get off my ass. 😆
    WC

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  6. Yikes! Threeeeeeee days.. Three. Only three. Are you done yet? Huh? Huh? Huuuuuh? Are you done yetttttttt?!

    Nope, not yet – but I am actually getting there. Of course, it’s probably still crap but probably it will end up being finished crap. Gotta look at the bright side, right? 😉
    WC

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  7. Why don’t you just use the James Caan/Kathy Bates approach from “Misery”. Lock yourself in a cabin, to be harassed by a maniacal fan who forces you to write the synopsis???

    Great idea Ham! Now…all I need is a cabin and a maniacal fan. Any suggestions? 😆
    WC

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  8. So, how is your synopsis going?
    Let michaelm write it. YOU don’t have to write it do you?

    Another great suggestion. Darn, if only I’d thought of that. Now, how would I convince him to do it? He has read the book after all – shoot where is that arm-twisting apparatus I bought last winter…. 😉
    WC

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  9. Hm, maybe easier to have someone else write the synopsis for you?
    It’s been successfully done before.
    OOOPs….. just saw Lolly’s comment and your answer…..
    And some people don’t need to be tortured to do something like this. There are (crazy) people out there who actually love doing this kind of thing. Again, it has been done.
    I doesn’t mean that you have to take it word for word, after all it’s your work. But I find it’s easier at times to see something written down and to improve it then to pull it out of nowhere.
    The other advantage is that you might be in too deep to write an efficient synopsis. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you are not able too do so, cause I know you are, all I am saying is, there might be an easier way.

    I love this suggestion, Spaz – but there are a couple of problems with it. One, there isn’t anyone who will do it for me. Two, it kind of has to be written by me so that the editor/agent can see that I can write and that I can write a synopsis. That’s the rub. Besides that, truth be told, it is a dragon I must slay if I ever hope to get published – goes with the territory and I can’t just blow it off. It’s a good discipline for me – and if I end up doing it and it’s okay, then the next one, hopefully won’t be as difficult. The learning curve is the thing that’s difficult right now. Oy.
    WC

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  10. Hi WC,
    I just find it easier to get started if I don’t expect perfection on the first pass. A journey of a thousand miles and like that.
    the Grit

    Hi Grit,
    I get it. And I often use that approach, sometimes with success. With this particular project though, it just wouldn’t cooperate.
    WC

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  11. It’s done! It’s done!
    Nice work! Two days ahead of deadline…..very impressive.
    Jess a.k.a. Evil Taskmaster

    Many thanks, Evil Taskmaster – I couldn’t have done it (this soon) without you. A thousand thanks. May the turds of a thousand camels fertilise your garden and grow cantaloupes the size of bowling balls. 😆
    WC

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  12. Cantaloupes the size of bowling balls? I’m not eating cantaloupes whose size is directly attributable to camel turds. Thousands of them. You’re gross.

    Muwhahahahahahaahaha…Otay, we won’t be having any in depth gardening discussions then. 😉
    WC

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