Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Insecurities and Synopsis Writing

As part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, I am sharing my continual growth and self improvement that I've embarked on this year.

I will forever be a work in progress. And I'm down with that.

Though I've been writing for a number of years, I have a number of weaknesses to overcome. The important thing to remember is that a weakness can turn into a strength. It just takes time, work, dedication, and practice.

This week I'm putting a spotlight on synopsis writing. Now, I consider blurbs and log lines fun to write. A synopsis - not so much. I need practice writing them so that they're engaging and succinct, detailing the characters, plot, and important inciting events.

Mine reads like a book report. A somewhat dull book report.

And I don't get it. Because I'm super jazzed about my book. I LOVE my characters and the crazy ride I've put them through. I'm proud of the lessons my characters learned, and for their growth throughout the novella. But do you think I can convey that in my synopsis?

How can I spend months writing a book and not be able to clearly express what my book is about? Why can't I make it exciting and bursting to be snatched up by a publisher or editor?

This month I'm in a workshop taught by Sally Walker to help me gain some confidence in this area. My big hope is that weeks, or maybe months from now, I can scratch writing a synopsis off my list of weaknesses, and add it to my strengths :)

Do you find synopsis writing easy? Do you have a proven formula? Someday I hope to say YES!

~Ann Cory


Melisse Aires said...

I write a working synopsis, about 5-7 pages long, as my guide for writing the story. When I 'tell myself the story' I have more success at getting a plot without so many holes or dead ends or loose ends. After the story is ready to submit, I go over the synopsis again, but the bones are there so it is not so hard as starting fresh!

Alessa Hinlo said...

Man, I'm not even at that stage yet and it sounds hard!

Jan Springer said...

Oh Ann!

I don't look forward to writing a synopsis. Never liked them.

I have the same problem as yourself of working on a book for weeks/months and have difficulties putting the book into an exciting snapshot of a few pages. Arrggh!

Alas, one day we will master this evilness. *grin*


Theresa said...

hi! followed your post from Twitter. I just finished my synopsis, managing to whittling it down to almost three pages! I'm pleased with the final product, and I feel much more prepared to query this time -- this is my second query attempt. Even if i don't get any interest, I'm still glad I learned from my experience and went back and rewrote it, to better my skills, if nothing else.

Caro Clarke wrote a very good article on writing a synopsis. I recommend reading it. It helped me write mine. She also has some wonderful writing tips in there for other issues as well, including a great article about querying, and how to impress an agent.

Anyway, good post. :D

Anonymous said...

Wow, so nice to hear someone else is having a difficult time with the synopsis. I have been blogging about my annoyances on the subject for some time. I found two printouts online that helped clarify the process into simple forms. It has helped. I am still working on mine as well, I do find it amazing how smoothly my writing a novel came yet the synopsis causes such frustrations. Check out my blog, I have put the links up for the pages that pushed me somewhat forwards.
Cheers and good luck. We can do it, yes we can..

Ann Cory said...

Thanks for sharing your process Melisse - and I'm so glad you've found something that works for you! I'm going to have to try that for my next book.

I appreciate you stopping by!

Ann Cory said...

Lol - I'm just not a fan, Alessa. Course I say that about anything that doesn't come easy for me and I have to work hard at, lol.


Ann Cory said...

I sure hope so Jan - to conquer this would be most wonderful. We can do it, though - I know we can. Woot! :)


Ann Cory said...

Thank you Theresa - I've got the page you suggested favorited and am off to read over it in a few.

And good luck with those queries - I'm totally rooting for you!! WOO HOO :)

Ann Cory said...

So glad you stopped by Sabrina! It does help to know others find difficulty in writing a synopsis. I'm just so amazed that even though I know my novel well - I can't get to shine. I'm pulling teeth and that's how it comes across while reading it.

I'll definitely be checking out your page and the links. I'm all about trying different techniques until you find what works.

Thanks so much!!

Stacy Green said...

Synopsis's are no fun, period. I don't enjoy blurbs and log lines, either. My first synopsis for INTO THE DARK was rough and patchy, but thankfully I had a lot of help with it.

Now, with new novel, I wrote a rough synopsis before getting started, and while it needs work, I still won't be starting from scratch.

Looking forward to hearing what you learn in the class. Good luck!

Carolyn said...

I'll be writing a synopsis tonight and am excited to get home and tackle it! Really. I know, insane.

But! I am not worried, honestly - though this thing is due tomorrow - because I also do a working synopsis as I go along. More like a working outline to turn into a synopsis, broken down by 'this happened in this chapter, yadda yadda.' So by the time I sit down to work on the thing, I at least know what happens in each chapter/scene.

Now blurbs writing? That I pretty much hate and I have to do that too tonight and THAT is what I am all nail-bitey over!

Anonymous said...

Mine are like yours, Ann. They read like book reports. Very dull book reports too. I never look forward to writing them.

Shelley Munro said...

No matter how many I write or how much practice I ger, I find them boring to write, and I'm afraid I'm with you all the way. Like you, I keep working on this area because they're so important. Good luck!

Pamela Beason said...

I'd rather write a whole book than a synopsis, but it's essential to focus on the essence of your story. Years ago, an author taught me how to craft a pitch, and I find it easiest to start there and then flesh the pitch out to a synopsis. You need them both. I wrote a post about how to do a pitch here:
Good luck!