Now. Onto more serious things: the dreaded synopsis. If you're not a writer, consider yourself very lucky that this is something you've escaped. For me, it's like pulling out my own teeth with rusty pliers while someone hammers nails into my eyeballs. Oh yes, it's just that much fun. Luckily, today I've got Crabbity Bat (her words, not mine) and absolute writing genius Nicola Morgan here to talk about her new book, Write a Great Synopsis.
Take it away, Nicola!
Hello Talli and Talli’s lovely readers!
Thank you so much for letting me visit again. I’m very honoured and in recognition of that I’ve brought some champagne. *pops cork* Cheers!
Since most or many of your readers aren’t writers, I thought I’d say something that might interest both groups.
Writers get horribly vexed about synopses. Many of us (not me, tbh) would rather eat witchety grubs than write one, and yet quite happily sit down to write a 100,000 word novel. Thing is, making a few words work well is hard. Blaise Pascal famously apologised (in French) for writing such a long letter, saying he didn’t have time to write a short one. And there’s a real truth in that. And what writers have to do is turn a 100,000 word thing into something very short – maybe 600 words – and that’s very hard.
On the other hand, Tolstoy said, “No book should be too complex to explain to a barmaid.” (Very rude to barmaids, imo.) Indeed, Anna Karenina may be long but it’s far from complex – omit the farming, and there’s very little left to go in the synopsis.
Actually, I also think it might be easier for a reader to produce a good synopsis of a book than its writer. In fact, one of the things I recommend to writers in Write a Great Synopsis (WAGS!) is to forget your book, or forget the details. If you forget the details and sequences, what you’re left with is the core – what and who it’s about and how the story ends, bringing the memorable driving forces together.
Writers, please stop worrying! WAGS covers everything about synopsis-writing, clearly and reassuringly. At the end of it I believe you truly will say to yourself, “Don’t panic – it’s only a synopsis!
And readers, next time you pick up a new book, spare a thought for the poor writer who almost certainly had to write a sparkly synopsis before getting the deal!
Thanks for listening, everyone. I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts.
Would you rather write a book or a synopsis?
NB: all commenters below (by Feb 15th) will be entered into the Big WAGS Competition, with chances to win a critique of your synopsis by the Crabbit Old Bat herself! One comment per person on each blog – though you can add to your chances by commenting on the other posts on the tour. Details of all stops on the tour will appear on my blog (Help! I Need a Publisher!) as they go out.
Details about the book, including buying options, here. The link direct to Amazon UK is here; Amazon.com is here. And it’s stupid cheap till the end of January!
Well, I'd much rather write a book than a synopsis. A zillion times more! How about you? Have a great weekend, everyone!