If you are here as a potential Pitch Wars mentee, don’t freak out! I’m not expecting voice if I ask for a synopsis! Take a deep breath and enjoy, maybe try this one out next time!
Synopsis, a four-letter word for writers. Many hate even the thought of writing up a synopsis. How does one boil down their 50-100k manuscript to one to three pages?
I’m not going to lie, it’s hard!
But it’s also a vital skill to have. At some point in a writer’s career, someone is going to ask for a synopsis on a novel that doesn’t already have one. Oh, and they’re going to want that synopsis yesterday. The more of them you write, the more they will be easier to spit out.
My go to guide has always been this post from Publishing Crawl. It helps me figure out that bird’s eye view. In an ideal world, I love to write one up after I’ve finished editing and the novel is ingrained in my mind.
But life isn’t an ideal world. And this pantser has run into another problem: writing up synopses on unwritten novels. Which was scary as hell, so I started with a novel I had already finished a first draft on. Shined it up, focused on the key points.
It didn’t work.
So I did what I do best, I pantsed a synopsis. I had an opening in mind, that’s it. Nothing else fleshed out. I wasn’t bogged down by plot points I had already written or in mind, nothing but the barest hints of characters and plots.
I started it like a blurb and kept going instead of stopping before the ending reveal. And when I finished, I sat back and thought, “OMG! VOICE!”
That’s right, the synopsis had voice.
Up until this point, I’d always focused so much on the plot that I forgot to focus on the feel of the novel. Furthermore, I write romance, and romance is all about the feels. I promptly turned around and rewrote a synopsis with a blurby feel, once again getting the voice on the page.
I lost plot points, but I gained feeling. Which is almost as important as those plot points. Romance without feeling isn’t romance.
Now, is this always the right answer? Nope. Different types of synopses will be needed for different situations. But when you need to convey the feel of the story, or are just tired of writing another boring synopsis, try writing it like a blurb. Let your voice come out and see what happens on the page.