Synopsis Fever

A while back I worked up a synopsis to my novel. It’s about 25 pages long, and while I had to leave out some of my favorite nuances, it did a good job communicating the intricacies of the plot. It shows I have a good story, but it does nothing to demonstrate my skills as a writer. There’s the tricky thing—how do you condense hundreds of pages down into a quick read and keep it compelling?

You don’t.

The other day I needed to create a 1-3 page synopsis. Obviously my previous tactic of combing through the story and lifting out the most interesting events was not going to work. So I sat, blank page in front of me, and wrote a new story.

It was only a tiny fraction of the original story, really, but the little bits I did show, I tried to make compelling. I built to a moment that is only a fraction of the way into the novel, then skated the rest, but I did not hold back (as much) on the atmospheric language I love so much. I put in a rambling sentence or two, added a few details that in the grand scheme of things are small, not deserving of mention in such a drastic condensation. It still needs some (ok, lots of) work, but it is vastly better than the longer version. It’s a synopsis Jerry would write.

There are other writers out there right now saying, “Well, duh.” Thanks, guys, for making me learn it on my own. Really. It means so much more this way.

Today I needed a ten-page (maximum) synopsis. “Hot dang!” thought I, “I can take this little 3-pager and add the richness and detail to really make it rock!” I did just that. I developed the reasons Hunter must always be alone. I included a couple more moments that define how the characters are interrelated. Once I get this sucker just right (a ways to go on that score, to be sure), agents will faint dead away from the sheer power, the artistry, the raw truth that mankind has struggled for so long to find. With luck, it will even have a passing resemblance to the novel. But really, that’s secondary.

Four and a half pages. Five pages to burn, and I don’t need ’em.

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