Saturday, June 14, 2008

Synopsisphobia

What's Jack up to? Just being a Jack nuisance. I had a late night flood in the basement last night when the sink from the washing machine backed up. Well it was party time for Jack. How much fun was that? Sopping up water while trying to keep Jack out of it.

So I think I have a Synopsisphopia. You know a phobia of synopsis. Give me a book to write and sure it's tough, but I can make it though 300-400 pages with just a few battle scars. But ask me to do a 5- 10 page synopsis and the thought causes me to break out in a rash.
Why oh why are they so hard? Waaa-Waaa!!!!


Would someone please give me the magic formula? I want to hear from all you writers out there. Especially you pantsers. I'm itching over here!


Best,
Kwana

P.S. Scroll down for Ask the Agent.

7 comments:

Natalie Hatch said...

Oh Kwana, this is exactly how I feel... argghghgh. I recently had to write a synopsis, for a submission that Elaine might be judging, it was like pulling teeth, say the word 'synopsis' and I hear that dentist drilling sound, kind of like the theme to Jaws, but much much worse...
I found I had to quickly skim through each chapter doing dot points of the major issues, then try and write these out together, looking for the major themes etc. I've handed in 25,000 word thesis's before for university that weren't half as hard to do as write this blasted thing.
but in the end I did it... I did find some really good websites that another blogger posted which helped immeasurably.
http://lirw.org/synopsis.html

Kwana said...

Thanks so much Natalie. I'll check the sites out. My big problem being a pantser is the book is not done yet. Just the proposal. Eek!

Mary Lindsey said...

Love your blog, Kwana. I also love the term Synopsisphobia. Ha!

At this very moment, I'm having to rewrite my synopsis with my agent. Aaaaagh. This is the worst part of the entire process. Give me a root canal any day. Natalie is right. If I listen hard, I can hear the dentist's drill.

http://www.marylindsey.com

Natalie Hatch said...

I know Mary, it's there in the background, da dum, da dum, da dum da dum, daaaaaa dum! then instead of a shark swimming past the screen it's a piece of paper with synopsis written in big bold type....... writers everywhere run screaming, terrifying onlookers....
but on the other hand, we can all stop being big girlie wooses and just write the thing.... kind of like just ripping the band aid off your leg instead of trying to pry it ever so gently off.

PBW said...

Arrghh!!!! Synopsisphobia drives me crazy!!!

I write my story down as if I were sharing a juicy bit of gossip with my best friend. I don't think about it just tell it. Usually end up with 15 pages of blah, blah, blah.

The next day I go back, cut it and fix it.

Carolyn said...

I'm a pantser. I freely confess that. I also hate writing a synopsis. I think the absolute best thing to do is to pay someone else to write it for you. LOL.

Since I can't afford the bajillion dollars it would take to get someone to submit to that torture, I still have to write them myself. I find it goes best if I focus on telling the emotions of the story, NOT the plot. Plot sneaks in when you're explaining why and how emotions have changed. I try to accept I will put in too much detail in the first 5-6 passes and I concentrate on removing the detail and substituting emotional hit points.

Remember though, your synopsis is only a sales tool. It doesn't have to be fantastic. It just has to get the job done. That tends to make me less crazy when it's time to pull together the synopsis. That, and the fact that nothing I in the synopsis is going to show up in the book I actually write and by then no one will care. That's a bit freeing.

Good luck with yours!

Maureen McGowan said...

I find them painful, too... Have any of the plotting type methods/books/whatever you've read clicked with you? If so, pull out your notes or that book, or something.

I can't plot EVERYTHING out, either... but I do find that I can make a really rough outline of how it MIGHT go before I start and it really helps my confidence as I write. Even though I never 100% follow it.

I've used a different technique for just about every book. (Although they're all really the same when you get down to it.)

Used the hero's journey for my WF books... But didn't work as well on the second one, so I switched to more of 3 act plotting structure. The terminology just worked better for me with that book.

Then I tried Karen Docter's W/M thing on this last book and I think it helped because I have several subplots and it really helped chart out the peaks and valleys of each of the story lines and weave them together. Especially when I was just getting going (say past the first 50 pages) and it was just so daunting.

NOW... I didn't actually write a synopsis after doing my plotting... Didn't have any need to. But I think I could have. ALSO... I few of the major turning points in the middle of the book changed significantly when I wrote it... But I really think it helped me in spite of being a bit of a pantser.

I no longer think I can start a big book without a plan of some kind.

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