I have covered the topic of the all mighty synopsis a few times. Yet, I find that this lingering evil needs more exposure. Overcoming fear by acclimation, I suppose. How does one go about a synopsis though? I know some people that will write the story synopsis first, others will wait until it is all done and over with.
Alright, perhaps I am the only one that waits until the very end. I’m okay with that. My writing style isn’t conventional as it is anyway, why would I bend to conformity now?
I Don’t Do Outlines
For myself, the synopsis is something near career-ending. I know it must be done, I realize this, I am not a complete moron (unless Hockey is on the TV, then I am a bumbling, drooling, idiot). I still loathe writing a synopsis. Perhaps most of my fellow author-type cohorts do as well. I really believe that my hatred comes from the fact that I don’t do outlines for my novels.
My ideas for stories start in my head and there they stay until I have enough going on to write a rough draft. Most of the time I will have an idea for a certain part of a story: a guy gets hit by a truck; a child falls on the ice and discovers a note in the water; a woman named Phillip enters an identity theft ring. Something.
Then I Start to Figure it All Out
I then take that idea and figure out two things. First I figure out what the hook is. Why does my reader care about the note stuck under the ice? What does it eventually mean? Once I have something that tickles my interest i.e. the note leads to a ring of baby fighting, I then decide how it will end. What is it that will make the reader close the book after reading the 300+ pages and sit back and go: “Cool!”
Once I have those I create my main characters, the locations and, if my brain cooperates, a few more scenes develop. Then I have the bare bones of my story, the rough draft, if you will. I put this on paper and I print it out, seeing all my words together at last. Then I edit, and rewrite and re-edit, and revise and polish and shine. I never do an outline. So, in turn, I never do a synopsis.
No Synopsis, No Problem
This isn’t a problem for me. I know the direction my story is going. I know where it ends up and I create such vivid characters that they end up telling me the story, not the other way around. By the end of it all I am just putting words on paper that describe what the characters in my head are showing me.
I want to write, I want to sell and part of the sell is the synopsis. Much to my chagrin. The query letter is tough enough. The synopsis is just evil. Yes, I do realize that it is simple. Simplicity doesn’t confer ease, though. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, however they aren’t always contributing to the same cause, either. I have even thought of auctioning out my synopsis writing to a “professional” but the thought didn’t last long. I don’t want to spend money and I don’t trust anyone else with my work until they have paid me for it.
So, I will trudge along and continue to hone my synopses as I continue to push out novel after novel. Even if that means I will have to create a synopsis after the story is over and done with.
Synopsis: It’s not about what I want.