In summary

Cover me, I’m going in! I’ve begun tinkering with writing a synopsis of The Sleep of Reason.

I’m working my way through the blessed thing once again as I eagerly await my current reader’s review, and while I am making some “pencil edits” (as they call those one- or two-word “fixes” one inevitably makes) I’ve finished all of the structural work, and I don’t expect any profound or even minor plot adjustments. Thus I have the draft in a steady state. I think it is safe to put the effort into synopsizing it for eventual submission.

I know I’ve seen many writers on many blogs wail and gnash their teeth over the writing of a synopsis. I’ll respect that even while I don’t quite get it (spoken with true hubris — who knows what caterwauling and tooth loss may result from my effort). I have written novel synopses before. Remember I wrote three Finnegan novels before this, and I won a writing competition (at the Pike’s Peak Writers Conference many years ago) based on the synopsis of a young adult novel I had written.

I actually began a draft of a synopsis for this current novel some weeks ago. So much to say! So many brilliant and important details to incorporate! My artistry, of course, could not be contained by any artificial constraints! Which is to say my brief synopsis came close to 2,000 words.

Nice try. I took it as a lesson I needed to learn. And from that lesson I have drawn the conclusion that I need a different approach, which is this: I will write a one-sentence description for each of the 21 chapters. (Yes, 21. I took the overly long first chapter and chopped it almost perfectly in half. It works better that way.) I’m pretty sure I can do that, and if not, I’ll limit myself to two sentences each. That will be my framework for the synopsis. I will build on those sentences, adding only the most salient details.

Reading various agent websites, I’ve learned that a synopsis can be all sorts of lengths. (Enlighten me if you know better.) Some want a one-page synopsis. Others, three pages. Some are not specific about word or page count. Others want the synopsis to fit within an email. And so on. I think given my proposed method above, I can achieve each of these. If I start with the bare bones of one sentence (or two) per chapter, I’ll easily stay within the one-page limit. Save that. Then begin to build on it until I’ve reached, say, the three-page limit. Save that, too. Continue to build until I have a more thorough synopsis that captures the true glory and cleverness of my novel. And save that as well.

It all sounds so very good in theory.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Humble efforts, Sleep of Reason

One Comment on “In summary”

  1. Brian Keaney Says:

    I always write one page synopses which are quite a lot like back-cover blurbs really (blurbopses maybe). It seems to work.


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