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Abridged angst

I've been working on a contest entry all afternoon, taking into account my own edits, as well as the comments of my CP. That was the easy part. It was the @#%$! synopsis that got me hung up.

Boiling my living, breathing story down to a dry blow-by-blow of the high points is mind-numbing and BORING! I'll admit, it can bring some plot holes to light, and it will probably be easier when I start applying what I've learned about structure to my future MSs, but I'm not sure I'll ever love writing them.

To make things worse, the contest I'm entering requires a max synopsis word count of 675! That's just about two pages. Who knew I could be so economical with words? I managed to cut it from an already spare 950 down to 668 (just for good measure). With only two pages, it can be hard to shoehorn in the motivations clearly. I find myself leaving out whole chunks of stuff, but maybe that's better.

It misses some of the richness of the complete story, but it's far easier if I don't have to explain why the heroine is at odds with her father and later asks him for money. Is it important? Kind of. Is it pivotal? Guess not.

We'll see what my CP thinks.

How do you handle the synopsis? (Except you, Christine. I have the handout!) 😉

Tell your friends!


  1. Christine


    haha–but you know I didn’t do the 675 word synopsis. I looked at the numbers and said, nope, and no way. I did think it was a way of coming up with a query.

    • Reply

      Scaredy-cat. 😉 Well, you’ll have to tell me what you think. I believe it’s better than my last one, but maybe I’m just too tired to be coherent.

  2. Reply

    I have no tips for synopsis writing. I’m afraid the one I wrote for my first MS was terrible, and I dread cranking out another one later this month before I start querying agents. So much seems to be expected in such a short space, and no one seems to agree on exactly what goes into one. I’m going to try working from an outline that my CP got from another writer friend this time, but I can’t recommend it since I haven’t tried it yet myself! Good job getting your word count down. And good luck with the contest!

    • Reply

      I definitely think having a well-structured book is going to help me next time. Then I can easily pull out the plot points, layer in the GMC and it’ll make sense. Let me know how the outline goes, and good luck with your queries!

  3. Reply

    I think of a synopsis as reduction without throwing away the heart of the matter. To get that ,try putting a lot of yourself i.e. feeling into a few words and fire those lines like bullets. I think of them as a book blurb on steroids. The more internalized your material the richer it will sound/feel without having to unload the whole book spoilers and all.

    I write mine like the house is on fire and I have to get it down and out of there.
    Makes for some tight writing. Not only does it generate tight writing it also puts energy into the synopsis. I think a synopsis is as much felt as it is read. Kind of like tons of feeling driving key words. Trust yourself and let fly.

    Anyway. That’s my best shot.

    • Reply

      “I write mine like the house is on fire…” Love that!

      Blurb on steroids is a good way of looking at it. In fact, I’m finding that I almost prefer the shorter synopses where I don’t have to get into too much detail.

      You mention not giving away the spoilers, but don’t forget that in the synopsis, the agent is looking to see the ending. They want to know that you’ve written in twists and turns.

      Definitely no spoilers in the blurb on your website or back of book, but for the agent, show them you can write!

      Thanks for weighing in.

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