Monday, January 23
The dreaded synopsis.
We’ve been doing some talking about synopses and proposals. Well, mumbling about them. Me, anyway. I finished my first manuscript sometime in the 80s—I don’t remember what year it was—and in retrospect, everything was wrong with it. (Except the title. I did like The Growing Season, and still do.) My point of view was all over the place, I had more people in the book than you could shake a stick at, my secondary characters were as important and more fun than the hero and heroine—you name it and I did it wrong. Including my synopsis, which would have put my own mother to sleep.
I don’t know how many stories I’ve finished since that one, but it’s been a lot more than the five that have been published. My writing has improved over the years, thanks to RWA and great critique partners and my own efforts. But—you knew there’d be one of those, didn’t you?—when I look at the synopsis for my latest book, One More Summer, I’m almost certain it would put my own mother to sleep. I can’t tell that it’s one bit better than the first one I ever wrote.
I understand what proposals are. You need a query letter that makes the editor sit up and take notice, the first three chapters (and the ability to back them up with the rest of the book, WRITTEN JUST AS WELL AS THE FIRST THREE), and…yes, a synopsis. But what is the difference between a great one and one that…well, just sucks?
I wish I knew.