Today, I’m beginning a series of blog posts on writing a synopsis for your novel. One of my readers asked why synopsis writing is hard.
I’ll tell you why it’s hard. Because you just spent years of your life writing a novel, learning the craft of writing fiction, learning about Three Act Structure and Scenes and Sequels and MRUs and how to Show it, not Tell it, getting inside each POV character’s head in third person past tense, double-spaced and now . . .
Now somebody changed the rules on you. All the rules.
A synopsis is single-spaced. A synopsis mostly Tells, rather than Shows. A synopsis is written in third-person, present tense. You do NOT get inside any POV character’s head in a synopsis, because a synopsis does not have any POV characters. There are no Acts visible in a synopis. No Scenes, no Sequels, no MRUs.
Somebody changed all the rules on you, and it’s not fair. A synopsis is a completely different genre from a novel. Forcing a novelist to write a synopsis is like making a sonnet-writer create 4-line Google ads.
That’s why writing a synopsis is hard.
By the way, just about all novelists hate writing synopses. Just about all editors hate reading them. If life were fair, synopses would be done away with.
There is only one reason why a synopsis is required for a book proposal, and that is this: It is the easiest way to see whether the story has a decent structure. If your editor doesn’t hate the story after reading the synopsis, then it may well have a good structure. If you don’t hate the story after writing the synopsis, then it might have a good structure. If either you or your editor hate it, then the structure stinks like rat pudding.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about that pesky structure and how you show it in your synopsis.