Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Dreaded Synopsis

Jittery - yes I am and it's all because of the 'S' word. I don't know about you but when it comes down to writing the dreaded synopsis I want to run screaming down the road.

I don't know what it is about them that I dislike so much but somehow a synopsis can take me forever to write.

As I said on day one of the A-Z April 2013 Challenge (my A being for Adventurous) I have set forth to find myself an agent. The wheels are in motion but as any writer going down the traditional route will tell you, every agent wants to see your synopsis.

If I were to analyse my problem with the 'S' word, I would say I'm not very good at pitching. I struggle with the right way to put myself across and make my book sound interesting. And if I can't do that for my own book then, let's face it, no-one else can and no-one will think my book is any good. Right?

So take a deep breath. First things first. Check out your list of agents. Whether that be on-line searches, word of mouth, the Writers' and Artists' Year Book, Agent Hunter or any other means you plan to employ, remember to find out how long or detailed the agent wants this synopsis to be. Generally it is two pages but it is safer to check. Never send an agent what you feel like sending because they'll know straight off that you know nothing about them or their agency and you won't win any points. Chances are you'll never hear from them - no matter how great your story is.
 
So, a few general rules for writing the perfect synopsis for your novel would be as follows:
  1. It plots out your entire story from beginning to end. No cliffhangers, no guesswork. The agent wants to believe you have a good grasp of the story inside and out.
  2. Write in present tense, third person and don't use passive verbs.
  3. Leave out smaller sub-plots as well as lesser players as far as possible.
  4. A synopsis is not the blurb on the back of a book.
  5. Write it in the style your book is written in.
Well, I know one or two things to get me started. I need to start making my shortlist of agents now. I read recently it is a good idea to approach as many as possible. I won't go mad but I'll be doing my research. Really need to stop posting and get going - but I'm still jittery...

Enhanced by Zemanta

9 comments:

  1. My CP and writerly friends think I'm weird... I actually enjoy the synop. But I find the writing part a struggle for me. I know, how silly. I have the story in my head and the writing part just seems to take forever. lol.
    Dani @ Entertaining Interests
    #warriorminion

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Weird - well perhaps a little. The best combination would be to enjoy both and be great at both! One day...

      Delete
  2. I am really horrible at writing synopses. I appreciate your guidelines, they're super helpful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad they helped. I'm ploughing along - I'll get there eventually and good luck to you!

      Delete
  3. I can understand why you are jittery! I think writing the synopsis is harder than writing the book! I shiver just thinking about it.

    Stopping by from the A-Z and it's great to meet you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There must be a bunch of us writers with the jitters. Good luck writing yours!

      Delete
  4. This is actually pretty darn useful. Thanks! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your very welcome! Good luck with your synopsis.

      Delete
  5. Hello Fran, I've also had the synopsis nightmare. I had mine reviewed by Nicola Morgan and her comments on it may help you with yours. http://www.helpineedapublisher.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/synopsis-spotlight-as-if-i-were-river.html

    ReplyDelete