Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Writing Tips and the Dreaded Synopsis

Yesterday Barbara O’Conner posted on writing for kids. It’s all there in a nutshell.

Her advice also applies to writing a synopsis, especially her question, What is the story about?

I had an interesting experience at the Whole Novel Workshop. We had to submit 20 pages and a synopsis of our novels. In some cases, the story described in the synopsis differed significantly from the story told by the manuscript. That sounds impossible, but it happened. Writing a synopsis is difficult, and it’s tempting to get distracted by subplots and tangents.

The part I found most disconcerting was that I tended to believe the synopsis over the manuscript, and based my critique on what the author said she was going to write instead of what she wrote. This was the wrong approach. Of course, some manuscripts (or maybe all manuscripts in early drafts) meander before they get to the substance of the story. Once we determined what the novel was really about, the direction for revision became obvious.

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

That was a great post. Thanks for sharing it. And yes, the synopsis (and outline and query) is dreaded. So hard to do.