Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wicked Little Synopsi

Octopus Vulgaris Merculiano; from Wikipedia
Synopses.

May I suggest an alternate plural version: synopsi.

Why? Because trying to write them is like wrestling an octopus. 
Because I feel inadequate at crafting them, I despise the wicked little synopsi. Yet, as I put together this post, I found myself learning a few things that shrink the KRAKEN LEVEL OF DREAD down to a more manageable size.
And speaking of size...it seems that there is some variation on this aspect. I saw articles about a 3 page synopsis, 6 page synopsis, and 20 page synopsis.

1.) FIND OUT WHAT THE EDITOR/AGENT YOU ARE SENDING IT TO PREFERS
You don't want to send 20 pages, if he or she is expecting 3.
 
2.) DON'T WAIT UNTIL YOU FINISH THE BOOK TO WRITE THE SYNOPSIS
January 15, 2008 by Therese Walsh
http://writerunboxed.com/2008/01/15/writing-the-synopsis/

Write the synopsis "...sometime between the first and third drafts of your WIP, then leave them to improve like fine wine." 

3.) SIX SENTENCES
THESE ARE A CHEAT SHEET TO GUIDE YOU THROUGH A SYNOPSIS
July 29 Natasha Lester
http://www.natashalester.com.au/2015/07/29/writing-a-synopsis/

The six sentences I focus on are:
  • what is life like for my main character at the start of the book
  • what is the thing that sets the protagonist off on their journey (the inciting incident, described in a compelling way)
  • what is the journey or the goal of your character and why is it so important to them
  • what are a couple of obstacles that get in the way
  • what is the biggest obstacle of all (doesn’t need to be described fully if it gives away too much, but the drama needs to be hinted at)
  • end with a question/hook
Then, in my synopsis, my first two paragraphs will be about points 1-3 above. The next 2 paragraphs will tackle a couple of the obstacles. The final paragraph will be about the big obstacle, and the question/hook.

4.) FOUR TIPS
Thursday, December 04, 2014 Book Ends Literary Agency
http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2014/12/synopsis-tips-from-expert.html

Melissa's Top Tips for Synopsis Writing
1. Don't include any secondary characters' names if you can help it.
2. Don't include backstory in the first few paragraphs.
3. Write the synopsis in the same hook-heavy language and tone as a back cover blurb--in your written voice--because that's what your proposal is actually selling: a hook, the tone, and your voice.
4. Contrary to what editors and agents say they want, don't "just tell me what the book is about". Only use plot points and backstory as supporting details to explain characters' emotional arcs. This means you're not utilizing very much plot. 

5.) I DIDN'T KNOW THIS: 
February 27, 2012 by Chuck Sambuchino

Capitalize character names when characters are introduced. Whenever a new character is introduced, make sure to CAPITALIZE them in the first mention and then use normal text throughout. This helps a literary agent immediately recognize each important name. On this subject, avoid naming too many characters (confusing) and try to set a limit of five, with no more than six total. I know this may sound tough, but it’s doable. It forces you to excise smaller characters and subplots from your summary — actually strengthening your novel synopsis along the way.

 
So there you have it, a smattering of thoughts on synopsi.
Happy wrestling!!!

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