I am currently working on three different synopses of my novel, since some agents ask for a chapter-by-chapter or 1-2 page summary of the work, and a short synopsis is supposed to be included in the query letter. This is the first time I've ever written summaries of my work.
The chapter-by-chapter summary wasn't too bad, but writing the 1-2 page summary and the short synopsis has been much harder (and more frustrating/discouraging) than I expected.
Has anyone else had trouble writing synopses? Why is it so difficult?
Been there, hate that. I suspect because we novice writers believe most if not all the threads of our stories are important. And conveying them to the agent/publisher will surely make our novel rise above the slush.
I also suspect that novice writers, or casual ones (like myself), see our creations as our children, and one or two page synopses requests is like asking us to lop off portions of our children for the sake of money and fame.
Professional writers see their creations more as industrial products, and will slice and dice with impunity to make a sale.
Synopses are also a test of an author's skill. The key is finding the essence of your novel, your child, andmake the agent or editor interested in seeing more. Thus, instead of describing your child from head to toe, you need the equivalent of saying, "Hers was the face that launched a thousand ships."
Respectfully, Dr. Bob
[This message has been edited by History (edited July 22, 2011).]
The snowflake method had helped me a ton (google it, I'm sorry I'm lazy and not getting you a link, lol!) It's a way of helping you think through the essence of the story. It's usually used as a way to outline or start thinking about a novel, but it works really well in reverse. Good luck, it's definitely hard work!
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I've seen discussions of the snowflake method here before, but I haven't ever used it. I'll give it a try--thanks for the suggestion.
While doing my first attempt at the 1-2 page summary, I tried to consider which plot points and side characters could be left out to focus on what really mattered for the story. I thought I'd done OK, but the 1-2 page summary ended up being 3 pages long (so obviously some more things had to go).
I managed on my second attempt to whittle it down to two pages, but then I found myself with a new problem: the descriptions of the plot and characters seemed dry, lifeless, and (even worse) completely unbelievable. I kept thinking, "Wow...it seemed much more exciting and credible when I was writing that part...."