Monday, May 24, 2010

The Dreaded Synopsis

I have been struggling for a long time writing a complete synopsis for my novel. The book cover blurb- I got, the elevator pitch- can do, the teaser- read it and you can't wait 'till I'm published.

But the synopsis of the complete story with ending and in 500 words or less- brick wall.

I've tried to "junk it out" several times and am not even close. At a coast retreat last month I wrote a short summary of each chapter. 23 pages later...

I've tried to distill that into 2-3 terse sentences per chapter. I've slashed every character that isn't (IMHO) critical to the plot from the synopsis and still it runs thousand's of words. I dropped two entire chapters that I realized weren't moving the plot forward- a positive result of this assignment.

Problem: I've written a complex mystery/thriller with several sub-plots that all come together at the end. There are three twists to the ending and each of those relies on a sub-plot. The manuscript, as with most thriller/ mysteries is all about the ending- surprise, revelation, gotcha's, and resolution.

A brief synopsis doesn't allow for even a cursory description of the sub-plots and twists that give the ending meaning.

Solution: Figure out what sub-plots can be minimized or deleted and still allow the ending to happen.

1 comment:

  1. James, I took notes at the coast retreat last month as you read your short summary. Would it help you to see what points I noted?

    Totally love your slide show.

    Diane Lemery McDonald