Synopses Are to Me as a Bulldozer is to a Swan-Shaped Meringue

Posted on 28/10/2016 by


Me: I am trying to write a full-length synopsis and it is terrible. So I am going to go to hockey and sulk. Well, maybe sulk and then hockey. Hockey should be fun. I can always sulk more after.
Rick: No sulking during date night.
Me: (sigh) Fine.
Rick: I will hug you until you comply.
Me: …I accept your terms.

I am writing a synopsis. No, it’s not for a new book. Why would it be for a new book? Just because I now have a query-length synopsis that actual agents have liked* doesn’t mean I don’t have to have a full-length synopsis. I mean, why would that be true? Other people have to get up in the morning and, like, wear shoes. I have to write synopses.

It’s gotten to the point where my physio has started asking, How’s the synopsis writing going? And I’m not sure if that’s depressing because it’s so much of my life now that she knows about it or because she says it with a laugh because she knows I’m going to claw at my face and flail about on the floor and moan about how I hateses it.**

In case you are wondering — cause why wouldn’t you be wondering? — let me tell you about the difference between a query-length synopsis and a full-length synopsis.

A query length synopsis is an elevator pitch, a blurb, a hook. Just enough to give a feel for what the book is really about, to tantalise, and no more. A full-length synopsis is supposed to introduce you to the characters, hit all the major beats of the story and give away the ending.

You get about twice as many words to do that. Two elevator trips. Or a really long one where some kid*** jumped up and down and pushed a bunch of the buttons.

It’s not easier. You have just enough to time to say something and not enough to actually explain. You have plenty of time for your reader to get bored or confused or distracted, it’s hard to make jokes, and almost impossible to use dialogue.

The point I am trying to make is that it’s horrible and so I am procrastinating by writing this post.**** I mean, obviously it’s also because I could tell you missed finding this sort of nonsense in your inbox. I am thoughtful like that.

And then Satan said, Make them write a synopsis.
* As opposed to, like, my mother.
** There are three ‘becauses’ in that sentence. There were four but I took one out. You have to draw the line somewhere.
*** Or an excitable adult who likes shiny things. Or a clever puppy.
**** Hi!