I am attending a writer’s workshop next month and have to write a synopsis for my second book. I have to be truthful here. I hate writing synopses. How do you condense 400 pages of narrative into 1 page? It’s not easy.
I have attended a few workshops, where published authors have given up their time and experience to share it with aspiring authors. When it comes to writing a synopsis, they all had a different approach. This makes it really hard when you’re a novice and trying to get a hold on the creative process, making sense of this industry and how it works. I have also read many to get an idea of what to put in, and they vary so much. Some are short and to the point, while others a longer. And these were successful in obtaining representation. So which is the right way?
There is a lot of information out there on writing synopses. Some say one page, others say 3 to 5, and then there’s the extreme of 20. The idea is to write what your book is about. I know what my book is about and can tell you in one paragraph but that’s not enough. Why? I am going to paraphrase John Harman here, what he calls ‘the bare bones’:
- what happens at the beginning
- what the characters want and the problem they are to solve
- the obstacles, external and internal, that as a writer you’ve created to prevent them from achieving
- what happens at the end, how did they solve the problem
I understand the why and can appreciate agents and publishers are busy. In a way, that’s not really fair, after all it takes writers time to write a story. To answer the question in the second paragraph, it all comes down to voice, whether the story connects with the reader and the mechanics of the writing. Though, I’d like to reiterate a comment made in an earlier post: there are books published and I wonder how???