Wednesday, June 20, 2012

POST REDUX: Why Writing a Synopsis is a Good Thing by JoAnn Weatherly

Originally posted 5/17/2007.

Call it what you will -- synopsis, suckopsis, stinkopsis, synauseous --it's one of the alligators of this business.

For a long time I tried to pretend I wouldn't ever need one. Stop laughing. I was young and stupid and, most of all, terrified. This scaly beast is hard to get your arms around, with all that jaw-snapping and tail-whipping.

But in the last week, I've taken a deep breath and stepped into the pit and cautiously approached the reptile.

And you know what? I've discovered some amazing things. The reason my hero is so damn stubborn. Why my heroine never learned to say no. And miracle of miracles, I stumbled upon a Big Black Moment that is bigger and blacker than anything I had ever thought of. All thanks to wrestling this alligator called a synopsis.

We're not best friends yet, me and this 'gator, but I will say this: I have a lot more respect for his power. And I think we'll be able to get along.

Writing a synopsis: Tell us how you really feel!


Lexi said...

Ugh, I hate writing a synopsis, especially before the book is done (or worse, not started!). I am a pantser. How can I write a synopsis on a book when I have no idea what is going to happen? Like having a tooth pulled.

Naima Simone said...

They're awful, stinky things! LOL! I hate writing a synopsis! Its harder than writing the doggone book! Synauseous...Snicker. I love that one! Suckopsis is a close second!

JoAnn said...

HA! I saw Heather's tweet and came over here to get some serious synopsis help from a Southern Magic expert. Good Lord, I don't even remember writing this. And what's with that peppy tone? I sound so young and stupid. Jeez Looeze! :-)

Rashda Khan said...

Yeah, synopsis is a challenge, but I always tackle it halfway through my story. By then I know where I want to go and it helps me pen the rest of the story.

Also, I scheduled my post to go online tomorrow...if it doesn't could you please check on it? I'll be in the air & unable to check. Thanks!

Chris Bailey said...

JoAnn, you're right. Identifying turning points and forcing yourself to say what they really mean can strengthen your story! And not a moment too soon. There's a reason so many agents/editors ask for the synopsis.

Louisa Cornell said...

Hmm. Given the choice between writing a synopsis and having a root canal done without benefit of anesthesia ... I'll take the root canal. AARRGH !! I will, however, admit I can see where some of mine have given me insight into my characters once I managed to eke the darn thing out.

Suzanne Johnson said...

So far, somehow, I've managed to escape having to write a synopsis. But I do 10,000-word outlines. Does that count?

Cari Hislop said...

After finishing my third book I decided I was ready to start looking for an agent, but that agent/Editor whole-book synopsis was like a barbed wire fence. I was determined to crawl over it, but months later my husband noting I was still hanging off the fence (he's a very intuitive person) suggested I self-publish. I thought about it for quite a few months and decided it was probably the best road for me particularly since it meant I could get back to writing and stop pouring energy into a synopsis for a book that might never be read because the synopsis was so bad.

How many of those soul destroying/ time wasting synopses get read anyway? If you want to know if a book is any good you open the first page and start reading.

As far as I'm concerned the Editor synopsis was invented by Satan to destroy the souls of story tellers. I'm glad if they help some people but as far as I'm concerned they can be piled in the eternal pit of despair and left there as reading material.