Synopsis Fun

I’m debating applying for a writing workshop, because I think I’m about at the point where I can get myself writing-wise without some sort of added outside boost.  (And pretty soon I’m going to need new beta readers, because my mom is feeling a bit overwhelmed by my “prolific” writing–after all, I have shown her four short stories so far this year.  I figure it may be time to find other writers at a similar point in their careers who want to exchange critiques and a workshop with a selection process is a good place to start.)

Anyway.  I took a shot at writing a synopsis of my novel yesterday.  And learned a few interesting things.

First, it’s hard to summarize an entire novel in a few pages!  Right now the synopsis is close to four pages long and it’s not even done yet.  And some folks want it to only be a page long.  Ouch.  But, my little mind was processing as I slept last night and I think I know how to cut a bunch of it down once I’ve written this longer version, so that’s good.

I’m hoping not to lose the flavor of the description, though.  That’ll be the key – cut back the words, but keep a sense of the tone of the novel.  I know synopses are meant to convey the facts, but every word we choose creates an impression.  For example:

“The chicken crossed the road”
“The chicken raced across the road to escape the mad butcher.”
“The chicken, while wandering around in a drug-induced haze, found himself on the other side of the road.”

Bad examples, but you get the point.  (I swear, my actual writing is better than this…)

Second, I’m 75,000 words into the second draft of the novel and I’m somewhat bored by it at this point, even though this is when a bunch of the juicy bits all come together.  I already wrote most of that in the first draft, so it’s “been there, done that” at this point.  Writing this synopsis reminded me how much actually happens in the novel and suddenly it sounds interesting again.  (Whether my writing conveys that or just kills it with an overly-wrought-words stick, I don’t know.  I’m going to pretend it works when I send in those sample pages.)

So, writing this synopsis has made me happy in the sense that I think I kind of sort of have a good story here.  And it’s been a nice change of pace, too, to write it.  I think it’s my new recommendation for writer’s block.  If you’re halfway through your book and just think it’s crap and can’t move forward, stop and write a quick synopsis of what’s happened so far.  It’ll jazz you back up.

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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