Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day Two - In House Retreat - the dreaded synopsis

Dear Readers,
Such a high to finish the revision. Such a low to tackle the synopsis. This one isn't tooooo bad - it is the one for the contest and can be up to four pages. That's a ton easier than a one pager. It is such a specific game. Let me reiterate the rules for those of you who need a refresher course. My pain should be your gain!

1. It is written in 3rd person, present tense. Yes, even if your novel is in 1st person, past tense, or 3rd person, past tense.

2. It must cover all the key points of your story—the initiating event, the conflicts, the turning points, the climax, and, unlike the cover blurb, the resolution.
so far, no big problem - I used The Hero's Journey as a template - worked a treat

3. It is a sample of your writing and may well be the only one read. That means it has to be good writing, and make sure the voice of your manuscript comes through.

now we have a problem - there is a contradiction between the first two rules and the third. Do you see it? If my novel is written with a certain cadence in 3rd person, past tense - it doesn't sound anything like 3rd person, present tense. When you start squeezing in all those plot points, the theme, the setting, and a good idea of the place (if it is important and in my wip it is) then one's fresh lively prose sounds like...uh, a teenager telling you the plot of a movie - 'then the guy eats the big pizza and then the bad guy - oh his name is Ralphie - thumps the main guy and the pizza goes splat and then the girl'
4. When you first use a character's name, put the entire name in caps.
looks ugly but other than that I have no problem with this.
5. Don't put in too many character and place names. Stick to the main characters.  
 here is another problem - which contradicts the second rule. Sure you can do this but it makes for odd reading. Not having written a book about a boy on a boat with a tiger - I have a fair number of characters and if they are part of the main plot points it gets tedious calling them 'the father', 'the crazy twins', 'the guy from the tax department'.

OKEY DOKEY - enough complaining. I've got a good start and now I'm going in for the polish.
Here's a photo.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

I never enjoyed writing the synopsis. Not to add to your list, but it also needs to be done with a minimum of adverbs and adjectives. Fun, huh?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Looking back at my original synopsis and query letter, I'm lucky anyone asked for more!

Jan Morrison said...

Diane - very, very fun, humourously speaking, and with no reddish tongue firmly in taughtly held cheek. Yep, undress the work, lay it bare.

Alex - but they did!!! You're an inspiration...