Ugga-mugga. I hate writing synopses even more than I hate writing queries. I suppose I wouldn’t mind them so much if I felt confident about writing them, but since my measurement for success is a sale of my novel for publication, and my batting average is 0 and 2, you can understand why I’ve been reluctant to start writing the synopsis for GLAMOUR.
While I do realize that a good synopsis might not make any difference in my ability to make that sale, I believe that a bad synopsis is going to make it harder to interest an editor or publisher in my work. At the PNWA Writers Conference a couple of weeks ago, I managed (in the 14th revision) to come up with a pretty good pitch. In fact, when I mentioned the response rate I got from said pitch to an agent at the Cascade Writers Workshop, he told me to hold off on pitching to any more agents until my manuscript and synopsis were as good as my pitch. Excellent advice, I thought.
So for GLAMOUR, I decided to present the synopsis using the same story structure I’d used for outlining the manuscript. Not an original idea, but one I hadn’t tried before. This is how I organized it:
· The Story premise (4 sentences, showing conflict)
· The inciting incident and 1 or 2 major plot points (two short paragraphs)
· The first turning point (one sentence)
· The next three (complicating) plot points (three short paragraphs)
· The second turning point (two sentences)
· The following three (complicating) plot points (two short paragraphs)
· The dark moment (two sentences, showing emotion)
· The resolution (one big paragraph/12 sentences)
When it was done, I surprised myself. The first draft of the synopsis was cohesive and (relatively) concise at four pages, and the whole story is right there. I usually end up doing three versions of a synopsis (long (5 pages), medium (3 pages), and short (1 page)) to satisfy all the different submission requirements, but I think I’m pleased with my four-pager. I think it’s good to go.
Hope this helps you too.