Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dear Synopsis ... Watch Yourself

I'm in the final stages of editing a book I wrote about a year ago. I've tried to explain this book to people, but I get all tongue tied and twisted. It's a very odd book. Its appeal lies in the strange alternaworld it occupies and the currents that flow through it. And, of course, the story itself takes some very bizarre turns. 

All of this is back story, of course, to my real problem. I've been asked to produce a synopsis, which will be submitted to an editor who is actually waiting for it. Oh crap.

[Insert sound of thudding heart.]

I've taken a few stabs at it, and so far, no luck. I've followed the excellent advice of my friend Erica Orloff, who is something of a synopsis master. But all I get is a sodden pile of words that, to me, just isn't cutting it. 

'Cause the truth is, I'm crazy in love with this book. The main character is totally my kind of kid. And it introduces a recurring character who is ... I dunno, the Coolest Guy Ever and whose complete story will be told in another series of books. Oh, and there's so much more. Pianos fall and burst into flames. There are dueling dirigibles. There's a girl named Cherry BonBon (who is, sadly, forever out of my league) and slingshots and fat suits and chocolate pastries and orphans and a horrible boarding school and street fights. 

So, considering all this, I have something to say to this freaking synopsis:

Dear Synopsis,

Please cooperate with me. I will be forever grateful if you help me explain why this book deserves to be read. But I'm warning you, if you screw this up for me, I swear on all that is savory and sweet that I will kill you. I'm just saying.


Mark Terry said...

You might try going through and for each chapter giving a sentence or two description: John Smith feeds his brother to a dragon.

Then, when you've got that done, you might find, oddly enough, you're pretty close to a synopsis after you smooth things out.

spyscribbler said...

Erica has a post, from about two or three years ago, called "Loving Your Synopsis." Since you're in the same critique group, LOL, you've probably gotten it straight from the source, but I recommend that post to everyone struggling with a synopsis. I love them, now. :-)

Jude Hardin said...

Synopses suck dead bears (I've been waiting for just the right time to use Mark's dead bears line).

My advice?

Drink heavily.

If that doesn't work...

Try to write it with some objective detachment, as though you're talking about someone else's book. Put your reporter hat on.

LurkerMonkey said...

Sucking dead bears ... eeeewwwww. I like it.