Monday, June 25, 2012

In which I moan about synopses

I've been trying for an embarassing number of weeks to do a seemingly simple thing: Write a synopsis for my next novel.  Honestly? I'd rather just write the whole book.  Why?  I think it has to do with the way I write.  I definitely start from character.  I find a main character.  I give her talents, interests and (you know) a PROBLEM that will ultimately drive the plot.  What I don't do is outline.  I've tried it and often I feel like pushing the plot tends to make me do inauthentic things with the character.  You know, forcing her down some rabbit hole so she can wind up in the Australia I've mapped in my outline.  A synopsis feels too much like an outline--a promise of a plotline that might be untrue to my character's wants and needs.

I was moaning about this (over wine) to a few writer friends who basically told me to just go ahead and write the damn thing and then put it in a drawer and forget about it, then keep writing in my usual way.  Sounds easy, huh?  Just, you know, write a 2 or 3 page pitch that can change later.  Know what, I think this whole synopsis thing has pushed me closer to writer's block than I've ever been.  Or maybe I'm just mentally ill. Or maybe those are two sides of the same coin.

Anyway, last week, I got it done.  It wasn't pretty but I muscled through.  I'm still reeling but there you go. 

Here are a few resources I found helpful (in case you're in the same boat):


storyqueen said...

I have a similar relationship with synopses....ugh. I usually don't write them until the book is done. I kind of fear writing a book on proposal....just call me chicken!


Tiffany Kadani said...

Oh man, I have a goal to do this today and I'm NOT looking forward to it. I am such a free spirit and I agree- you create a character and see where life takes him or her. That's the whole fun of it! But, the last time I didn't have a synopsis my plot was weak and that CANNOT happen again. So I guess in the end it's worth it.

JEM said...

Uff, this is so pertinent to me right now. I need to write a synopsis for querying (the thing is even done!), but it's like pulling my fingernails out with a pair of pliers. It's so unfun to boil down an exciting story to a couple of straightforward paragraphs detailing plot. Thanks for the links, though, I could definitely use some advice :).

Stasia said...

Shelley, Branflake, JEM--What is clear is that we are not alone. Synopses stress out lots of writers. Wishing you the very best of luck with yours!!!! - Stasia