Thursday 6 March 2014

That dreaded....synopsis? A question for fellow writers...

     Yesterday I wrote about overcoming a current snag with working in some transitions to better connect some of my scenes and chapters. Thankfully I have the confidence to push through and get on to another task at hand, because let's face it: there is always another task at hand.
     While I may not be 100% finished my novel, I am at the 70,000 word count milestone and since I know the additional scenes to work in, I also have to start thinking of the bigger picture: the finish line and all that comes after that. Not only was I fortunate enough to pique the interest of an agent at the 2013 Surrey International Writer's Conference - my first time attending and my first pitch ever. I also recently won a critique by a published author while attending a Romance Writer's of America Greater Vancouver Chapter Valentine's event. Okay so February may have come and gone already, and not I have not submitted my pages for critique yet. And I can honestly say fear is not standing in my way of progress: I need all the feedback I can get so I can make my novel as wrinkle-free as possible and ready for submission. It's just that, with this critique, a synopsis was required.
     I'm going to be brutally honest here, I had to look up and refresh my memory what a synopsis is. Ridiculous coming from an aspiring author, right? I have taken writing courses in college, but it's been a decade since I had heard, seen or read a synopsis.
     Really, how hard can they be?
     Harder than I thought, that's for sure. I know what my story is about, that's not the problem.
It's the giving away 'the goods' - all the plot twists, conflicts and so on - that I'm finding most difficult. Yes, I know. I've checked into this and learned that it's mandatory. There are no exceptions. A synopsis must include all the secrets of the story.
     There is a part of my that wants to shout out: "what's the point of that?" Why would anyone want to read the full story if they pretty much have all the details summarized for them? They know exactly what's going to happen. Where's the fun in that? Where's the surprise? That to me is like accidentally seeing a spoiler for your favourite TV show or a newly released movie before you get to watch it for yourself. Seeing as I loathe spoilers, I can easily see where the reluctance comes from.
What I need to know is, how do I suppress this defiant part of myself that wants to hold onto these details. What's the best way to approach a synopsis for someone who hasn't had a lot of <recent> practice writing them? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!



  1. I understand your point *completely*, however, keep in mind that you are dealing with professionals -- they've done this before and that's the way they operate. They require synopses and they don't go into reading the full novel blind. It's amazing that you've got someone interested. Chances are likely that they'll look forward to reading the whole thing after your synopsis.... And that's the point, right? So, write it, send it in, and get published :)

    1. Thank you for sharing your feedback. I really need to bite the bullet and get over it. You're right, I am beside myself that the agent wanted a submission. I feel very lucky about that and don't want to be tripped up over this. I just have to get this synopsis out of the way, receive feedback from the critique, work with that feedback and wrap it all up in a nice bow!! Thank you again for your feedback, I appreciate that very much!