Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Synopses are for Masochists

I'm convinced of it. Ask me five years from now, and maybe I'll have changed my mind on this particular subject, but for RIGHT NOW, I'm wondering why I'm putting myself through this kind of pain.

In my weird little world, I used to think that the synopsis for my 90K word book would be three pages, double spaced. Where I came up with that, I have no idea. I didn't know what query letters were, much less how to write a good one, and the same holds true for synposes. Thankfully, one of my chapter-mates (I love you, Janece!) said: This size book needs a 10 page synopsis. (my paraphrase). So okay. I stretch it out to 10. Then I got it to five. Then 1. But how, exactly, am I supposed to show my voice, show the conflicts, both internan and external, show the plot, introduce the characters and wrap it all up in five friggin' pages?! I'm a WRITER. I use WORDS to an extreme! I don't know how to make things simple. I think I was cursed or something. "From this moment on, the girl child that will be known as Brenda Gay Bobo Bradshaw shall never have a simple solution to anything!"

I think it's written in stone. You think not? Convince me otherwise! ~waaaa~
I sound like I need a pacifier!

So I've been entering these contests, right? I already know I finaled on The Merritt, and the way sucky thing is they changed the final judging editor. I'd hoped for Jessica Alvarez. She was supposed to do this one plus the Fab Five of Wisc, but I heard they changed it. Kinda ticks me off. Anyway, I entered The Merritt, Fab Five, and then The Daphne. (My book is really the strongest in The Daphne because I made some solid changes in yet another revision ...side note: First chapter has been revised like 398570348 times. I did NOT just make up that number randomly!) And now I want to enter The Sheila. Well, in THIS contest, they need a 7 page synopsis.

Sadists that they are.

And yes, I know I need a good synop. I flooded every agent listed with RWA, I believe, last year. Which totally sucks because I've learned SO much in the last 9 months and more importantly, I APPLIED it to the story. BUT, I've already been rejected by just about everyone out there. And with good reason, looking back! I sent the stuff out when I had no idea of anything, my tenacity coming and bitin' me in the butt. But the book is changed. Even the basic premise is changed. (For those that knew Jon, you'll want to strangle Jake! ~grin~) Do I think this story would sell NOW? Absolutely. Did I burn a lot of bridges already by sending it out too soon and before I learned so much? Absolutely. ~sigh~

If I continue to place in the contests I'm in, I'll resubmit it to my A-list agents I want (Evan Fogelman, this means YOU!) I'm hoping to get the synop totally re-done today to go out for The Sheila tomorrow. Deadline is Friday. Have I mentioned yet that I procrastinate? I'll blame it on the four kids.

I know I'm whining. I understand that completely. I'm sure by the end of the day, this particular post will have been editted a billion and one times with updates and pictures of me being bald from pulling my hair out.

A special thanks to Gina Welborn for the fabulous critique of my synop. I'd eagerly welcome you as an additional critique partner. You not only give solid advice, but any mother of four deserves special treatment anyway. Have I mentioned I have four kids? ~wink~ Seriously, you did fantastic work and I truly appreciate it.

I had planned on using today to start a "book review" area, but that ain't happenin', I don't guess. Be sure to check back every now and then to see my reviews.

And to see if I'm bald yet. ~grrr~


chryscat said...

A synopsis was formed in the fiery depths of hell. And so it should remain.

Anonymous said...

The trick to synopses is to grab their interest -- something along the lines of blurb/tag as on the front and back cover of a book.
Tell them about your protag(s), just a short summary.
Show them your voice -- tell the story the way you might summarize it for a friend. Use the same voice as in the manuscript so they get an accurate idea of what to expect.
I agree that it's hell having to writer a dozen different synops for various contests/editors/agents, but we have to bit that dang bullet and that's it.