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Snow and synopses

I have snow and synopses on the brain today. The DC area got about eight inches yesterday afternoon/evening. My kids got a snow day, and my husband had a five-hour commute home that culminated with his bus getting stuck at the offramp and him walking about two-and-a-half miles home because his car was socked in at the park-n-ride. (Holy run-on-sentence…)

Poor guy. All I did was shovel the driveway.

As far as synopses go, while my handy outline complete with turning points has made writing a synopsis easier, it’s still difficult to abbreviate the story into 675 words without losing some sparkle. I started with an 1800-word synopsis that I had written for another contest. It was perfectly serviceable.

I spent hours trimming and trimming in an iterative process that slowly weeded out more and more of my must-have events. It was downright painful, and the end result was a hack job.

I finally gave up and started over from scratch. Two hours later, I had something that got the gist of the story across, met the required word count, and didn’t suck too horribly. I hope.

One of the contests actually judges the synopsis, so I guess I’ll get some feedback eventually.

For now, I’m going to get my sparkle from the snow.

Tell your friends!


  1. KM Fawcett


    I find synopsis writing hard. Congrats on finishing yours. Lisa Gardner has a lot of great info on her website under her Writers’ Toolbox. It’s called Conquering the Dreaded Synopsis: A Series of Ten Lectures. It helped me as I was doing my synopsis. Here’s the link if you’re interested in taking a look.

  2. joannaaslinn


    Hi Gwen,

    We spend so much time learning to ‘show’ a story then have to turn around and ‘tell’ it in a synopsis. Someone once described the dreaded thing as a summary with the story music playing in the background (or something similar). Took a nine-pager, hacked it to five, then to two (for a contest); each had its flavor.

    I don’t like writing them, but I am happy when I see a finished product that does the job. I’ve actually read one or two in a contest that kicked serious synopsis butt.

    Good luck!

    Joanna Aislinn
    Dream. Believe. Strive. Achieve!
    The Wild Rose Press

    • Reply

      Thanks, Joanna. Good point about show vs tell. I hadn’t thought of the distinction that way. I think it’s also weird that we’re suddenly forced to write in present tense.

      Glad you stopped in!

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