Thursday, June 24, 2010
The Seat-of-your-Pants Synopsis
There are many smart, proper ways to write a synopsis. They usually involve careful outlining, thinking about your main characters, your main plot points, and putting it down in a nice, concise manner. Very good. I applaud everyone who does it this way. It's probably a lot easier.
Then there's the "I need a synopsis and I need it now" way. This is what I went through today. My editor requested a synopsis of my sequel before we go into final edits of my prequel. Which was immediately awe-inspiring and daunting. I mean, final edits!!! That's way cool! And then I thought, "Oh no! What if she doesn't even like it?" I sure hope that's not the case!
But that's besides the point. The point is, I wrote a synopsis today for my novel sequel. This way worked well for me, and it might for you, so let me share.
1) Open your novel in a word document.
2) Resave your document with the word 'synopsis' in there (in this case, I saved it as "Altercation Synopsis").
3) Across the top, make one line with this information: Title, genre, author, word count.
4) Go through and summarize each chapter in 1-2 sentences. Make sure you write in the present tense and write each character's name in ALL CAPS the first time you mention them.
Once I got done with this step, I had 4 pages. I had summarized 146 pages into 4. Not bad! But still, a synopsis is generally 2 pages, double spaced. So next I formatted.
5) Format your synopsis. It should be double-spaced with normal paragraph indentions.
Now I had 8 pages instead of 4. Time to start trimming.
6) Go through and pull out every sentence you think isn't necessary. (Result: 4 pages.)
7) Go through and pull out every plot point that doesn't need to be explained yet. (Result: 3 pages.)
8) Go through and pull out about 6-7 sentences that might be important, but the synopsis still flows without them. (Result: 2 pages!)
This took me several hours. But I found it wasn't too painful. And I got my synopsis done! It's off to my editor.
How do you do synopsis? (Plural, anyone?) Any trial runs? What do you recommend?
Oh, and tomorrow, watch for a book review of Heather Justesen's new book, Rebound! She's already got some awesome giveaways going on, so be sure to check out her blog here.
13630 / 60000 words. 23% done!