Friday, May 27, 2011

Writing a Solid Synopsis

This is the energy he puts into everything he does and says.
Did you know today was International Buy Bey Blades Day? It is according to my four year old. He told me very earnestly that his teacher told him so and she's always right.

I laughed (because he doesn't go to pre-school and thus has no teacher) and he did that cute four year old thing where they open their eyes wide, raise their eyebrows and nod their heads. "No, really mom. I'm serious."

"I know you're serious."

"Then stop laughing."

"I'm just happy C."

"Ok, so can I get a new Bey?"

That has been his only question all week.


Ok, now on to writing related topics. With my query under control (sort of), I looked at my synopsis again. Wow! It stinks.  I give it a 2 Tails Up for its insipid listing.
How am I supposed to cram 300 pages of story into 1-2 pages single spaced? And make it sound interesting?

Carefully? Um, yeah. I'm really struggling with writing a solid and interesting synopsis, but I've set a goal to work on it again this coming week. 

Yesterday I filled in the Star Wars Template (bottom of list) and now I just have to put it all together and add the connective "stuff".

So, here's my question for you: How do you keep the voice in your synopsis while obeying "the rules"?

Here are some links that will be helpful:

For the Synopsis-writing Challenged--that would be me. This post gives four different ways that you can approach writing the synopsis.

How to Write a Good Synopsis--a little more vague, but still has good points to think about.

Mastering the Dreaded Synopsis--This posts contains a lot of the basic "rules" if you will.

How to Write a Synopsis--by Marg Gilks. This one talks about how to make it exciting. "I used to hate them because the ones I wrote sucked all the life from the novel, reducing it to bare-bones sentences that did nothing to capture the depth of the novel itself." He goes on to talk about how we can infuse those bones with some excitement.

How to Write a 1 page Synopsis (Star Wars Template)--Uses Star Wars as an example. This was great because it give you a question, you see an example answer, and then you just fill in with your story. 

And my final question: How do you feel about posting your synopsis on your Blog? I've been thinking about doing it so I can get all of your wonderful help and input, but I feel like it is too much of a spoiler. And I agree with the Doctor on spoilers.

No Spoilers (whenever possible)!


  1. I had to write a synopsis about 2 weeks ago. It pretty much sucked. It's like the query where there's so much you want to say but you just don't have the space to say it. Another of those annoying hoops they force you jump through. Argh.

  2. Thanks for the links, because I need to compose a synopsis for my current work really soon. Hopefully it doesn't get two tails up!

  3. I wouldn't post the dreaded synopsis. It would give too much away. I wrote one for my shelved novel, and it was bad. Lol I don't look forward to the next.

    My son received a lot of bey blades for christmas, and he doesn't play with them at all. Lol

  4. What a great list of links. I am definitely in need of these. Thank you!

    Your 4yo sounds adorable! But what in the world is a Bey?

  5. My 4-year-old chanted for about 10 minutes straight "carmel apple! carmel apple!" after I told him he couldn't have one (he has spacers for his molars to grow in and can't have sticky food for awhile). Then he stopped and said "How about now? I've been waiting very patiently." It made me crack up, but no, he isn't getting a carmel apple. (we have way too many beyblades already, so thankfully he hasn't come up with that one yet)

    I felt a lot better about my synopsis after I read somewhere (I think from Kortizzle) that a synopsis is expected to be boring - they'll get your writing from your sample, but they want your story in your synopsis. And I've gotten requests off of my really boring synopsis, so maybe that's actually true??

    And I wouldn't post yours. Maybe put a post up asking for critiquers and then privately email them. Good luck!

  6. I think that everyone that requires a synopsis should be friends with Suzie Townshend so that she could tell them that they are evil.

  7. Rogue, I may not like the hoops, but I'm willing to give it a shot if it helps me reach my goals. :)

    Alex, I'm sure it won't get 2 tails up. Good luck!

    Miranda, my son's lose their beys, or at least parts of them faster than I can buy them. A neighbor recently suggested I start super gluing them together. I think that's a great idea.

    Nisa Ha! Sorry about that. Bey Blades are spinning tops. They are these metal and plastic things that you can take apart and put together, then you put them on a "launcher" (my 4 year old is explaining as I type), you put the rip cord in and count, "three, two, one, let her rip!" and then you pull it out and the Bey spins. You "battle" other kids with their Beys and the last one spinning wins.

    Erica, thanks for that note about agents expecting them to be boring. It makes me feel better too.

    Michael, I read that blog post too and put two more stars by her name on my "To Query" list. :)

  8. Synopses are no fun. The only way I got through it was to take my time and write out everything I wanted to say, and then pare that down to the right length. For some reason that helped me (write it--the novel has since been shelved).

  9. Synopses: the worst part of being a writer (IMO). If you posted your synopsis as a blog post, I'd skip it because I want to read your book and the synopsis would spoil the plot for me. :-)


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