Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why is a synposis harder to write than the whole dang book?

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

First, the good news. Over the weekend I finished the first round of revisions for the fast draft that I did as my NaNoWriMo project this past Nov. It's called Kiss The Frog. I love the story and I'm having fun with it. YaY! Now just a gazillion more revisions to go . . .and I can send it out. ;0)

Now that I'm done w/ that, I'm setting it aside for at least a couple of weeks and I decided to sparkle up the synopsis for my YA Fantasy titled UNSEEN. I just started sending it out. I have a synopsis, but I don't think it conveys enough of what makes the story unique. Unfortunately I have to do better than the doggie in above picture.

The synopsis is hard. It's really really hard. Why is that?

In my quest for a better synopsis/query, I found a great resource on Agent, Kristen Nelson's blog. She gives real queries that she received along with her reaction to them. These are all books/authors that she ended up representing. You'll find them a little ways down on her sidebar. There are about 9 queries from different authors. Very helpful. Thnx agent Kristen. U R dah BEST!

Anyone else have any good synopsis/query advice?

21 comments:

Rena said...

Thanks for the link to Kristen's blog. I'm going to take a look at it. I've mostly only written PBs, except for one MG novel, so maybe I can learn something and fix up my synopsis/query. I agree that they're hard to write.

Suzanne Casamento said...

It's REALLY hard to write a good synopsis. One of the writers in my critique group has been working on a synopsis for the SCBWI summer conference for the last couple weeks. We've been critiquing draft after draft.

She's an excellent writer, but something about synopsis is soooo hard.

My agent, Kate, at www.ktlierary.com also does a series of blog posts called "About My Query" where brave writers submit their queries for Kate's critique and suggestions from other writers. They're really helpful too.

Good luck!

Kelly said...

Good luck on your synopsis, those are difficult. I'll check out that website!
I'd read that doggie's book just because he's pleading with his puppy dog eyes. :)

Lilfix said...

First...CONGRATS!!! On finishing your first round of revisions...I love the title!

It is a shame that the torture of thinking up an idea, writing it down and doing 1000 revisions isn't enough for a writer, but to do the dreaded synopsis on top of that...argh...Good luck with the synopsis...I know you can do it! Hugs...Brenda

Carrie Harris said...

I think synopses are so tough because every sentence counts. You've got very little space, and it's really tempting to just list off everything that happens in your book and call it quits, but then it ends up feeling about as exciting as a piece of cardboard. For me, the secret was to decide which plots made the cut. Obviously, I had to tell the main plot from beginning to end. And I added info about the MC's friends because she struggles with becoming independent from them. But the subplots about the love interest and the ex-boyfriend didn't make the cut at all. I didn't have enough room to do them justice, so I didn't mention them at all in the synopses.

I have no idea whether that'll help, but it worked for me. :)

Corey Schwartz said...

Good question. And what a cute photo. Beth Revis asked for help with a one sentence pitch on her blog and I think she got some amazing suggestions. Maybe is easier for an outsider to sum up your story?

PJ Hoover said...

I find the more I realize I don't need in the synopsis, the easier it is. Cut the plot and characters to a minimum, add the voice from your novel, and see how it turns out.
And good luck!

Keri Mikulski said...

Good luck with your revisions.

Hmm.. Synopsis.. Write, rewrite, read other examples, write, rewrite, and you'll know when it's perfect.. And PJ's advice is great. Keep it to a minimum.

Bish Denham said...

Cool Christy, thanks for the link!

Rena said...

http://renajjones.blogspot.com/2009/06/sinful-nature.html

You've been tagged!

Vijaya said...

That's interesting that you find the synopsis harder than the book. It's just the opposite for me. I know the general sweep of the book, but putting it down on paper how it's in my head is a lot harder than summarizing it.

One suggestion is to think back why you even wrote the book in the first place. That should help you to focus on just the main themes and ideas that you want to explore in the book. Then summarize the plot keeping in mind what you want the reader to take away.

Good luck with it.

Congratulations on finishing a draft! That's always a biggie ...

adrienne said...

Thanks for the link. I've only written PB's, but queries are tough for me. I've learned the most but reading examples of good ones.

Edith said...

Sometimes I think it's helpful to make it only 3 paragraphs long. Beginning. Middle. End. 1st Act Climax, 2nd Act Climax, 3rd Act Climax. Cut the subplots & the subplot characters where you can. Focus on the MC's arc & how he/she grows. And somehow you have to convey the "voice"/ "flavor" of the actual book. They suck. I hate them, but this seems to help me somehow.

Edith said...

That was advice for the synopsis by the way, not the query. For the query, spend the day in the bookstore reading the backs of every book in the teen section. Go home write the query like it's flap copy and hope that marketing ring has been absorbed into your consciousness.

Ian Sands said...

I hate writing.. all writing. i've been reading over the stuff i wrote for nano... it sucks so bad.. so i don't worry about synopsises

Solvang Sherrie said...

Synopsis writing is painful for me, too. I like some of the suggestions in other comments, though. I'll have to try their ideas :)

Saumya said...

I canNOT do the synopsis for the life of me. It is so difficult to pinpoint what is important enough to be in there and what is not.

And I thought writing a QUERY was mind-boggling....

Good luck to you!!

Aimee K. Maher said...

Definitely go read Query Shark. It's funny, and sad, but helpful.

http://queryshark.blogspot.com/

Christina Farley said...

Can I just say I hate the synopsis! Hate, hate, hate. There, I feel much better now.

C.R. Evers said...

Thnx everybody! I'll keep working. Maybe, once I get it together, I'll post it and see what you guys think.

Right now the stupid thing is 2 pages long.

I have a shorter version that is 1/2 pg long, but it's dull. I need to try to figure out a happy medium.

~sigh~ So difficult.

Aimee K. Maher said...

I just saw the NaNo reference...that's how I started writing. Someone sent the link two plus years ago and POW.