SOS – Save my Synopsis, by Celaine Charles, June 9, 2019
I cannot write a synopsis to save my life! Summing up the most important and magnificent pieces of my three-hundred-plus-page story, in one to two pages, has been a wrecking point.
Two years ago (when I believed my manuscript to be done), I took a workshop class at a writing conference and wrote what I thought was a good synopsis. Then I revised it again and again and again. I followed the instructor’s tips, processing my story through the main events of my plot in an “I-sure-as-heck-tried” concise manner. After several other classes at the same conference, and still struggling with various drafts of a synopsis, I realized my story needed more oomph. I sailed home to begin the deep work of revising.
This, of course, led to a new synopsis.
By this time, my little trip through the world of writing crested on the giant blue ocean of online resources. So much is out there! Too much, really. The sky bled into the horizon, and I felt incredibly small. But the good news; formulas. I love a good formula. One I can follow, fill-in-the-blanks, and it won’t run me ashore.
I found a few I liked and wrote my new synopsis. This one followed more of the “hero’s journey” or significant parts of my main-character arcs. It felt complicated because I have two main characters, but a couple of writing friends looked it over and helped me edit – edit – edit. Finally, I called it quits, ready to query.
Now, readers who follow me know I have a tiny obsession. I call it, The Art of Revising. If I read my story again; I will revise it. As I sent my newly written synopsis out to a few agents (seven to be exact), I made the mistake of reading my story again. In my defense, I had paddled out to begin the second book in the series and wanted to continue writing under smooth sails.
Unfortunately, this led to my complete rewrite of 2018… which brings me to shore once again, today. My rewrite is now in my editor’s lap. I will not look at another chapter until she sends it back for me to work on… once more. But she is now demanding a synopsis.
A synopsis! That word again. That thing I keep trying to write. That formula NOT telling my story the way I want my story to be told. Thankfully, I have a writing critique group. I shared my past attempts and let them critique away. My next steps? Look over their notes and attempt needed repairs.
Except… they brought up several new questions and concerns. Each of them had been told, instructed, or advised to write their synopses slightly different than the path I had chosen, and in a couple of cases, completely different.
I searched online again for an eleventh-hour miracle route to synopsis writing paradise. I didn’t find one, necessarily, but embarked on a few innovative ideas. All of them curious and sound as if they might be effective. All are from published authors who have been through the storm. But, here’s the catch: All of them are DIFFERENT from each other. I’ve linked my newest finds to the bottom of this post.
I imagine I will comb through them to find the treasures that shine for me, along with the intriguing feedback from my writing group and carry on down the current. But OMG – I refuse to go down with the ship. I’m flailing for a life preserver. I’m sending an SOS. Can somebody out there save my synopsis?
Writing Advice: Just Keep Swimming
I suppose my only advice for this week is to keep paddling your feet. Keep your face above water. Wherever you are in your writing process, face it head on. This synopsis has haunted me for years, and no matter my steps to improve as a writer and finish my book, it’s still there needing moored. I wish I knew the secret gateway for writing a synopsis. If and when I find one, I will share it with all of you.
For now, look at one area of your writing you feel less prepared for. Research it. Ask about it in the writing world, through online and in-person writing groups. Buy or borrow a book on the subject. Maybe if we put all our heads together, we can nail down these tricky parts and grow into the writers we long to be.
Happy Writing (because at least you’re writing),
~ By Celaine Charles, June 9, 2019
Image and Content Links:
https://www.courageouslygo.com/sos-bottle-on-beach/ (SOS Bottle)
https://www.icanvas.com/canvas-art-prints/tag/nautical?product=canvas&sort=popular (sailboats on shore)
http://www.getfoundnow.com/living-online-throw-me-a-life-preserver/ (life preserver)
http://smallboatsdeshiyuka.blogspot.com/2017/04/small-boats-in-big-seas.html (small boat big sea)
https://gfycat.com/gifs/tag/just+keep+swimming (duck feet)
Categories: Thoughts on writing...
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