Snarking about short synopses

I like to have everything nice and neatly tied up – and I’m not referring to bondage, either, just in case those of you who might read erotica etc were wondering. A finished ms is not a finished ms as far as I’m concerned, unless there’s a synopsis and a catchy blurb to go with it. So even though I’d recently finished writing a ms and entered the full in a competition for some feedback, I couldn’t leave it at that. It just didn’t feel ‘finished’. Hence the drive to write a synopsis – my least favorite thing about writing – and a blurb, so I could file them all neatly away in their own dedicated computer file and close the book on them. Ha. Pun intended, I guess.

I figured I’d finally have time to get back into some serious ‘research’ (i.e. reading every damn book I could get my paws on) and to finishing the third ms in my Crystal Warriors series, which I’d abandoned in order to write that latest competition entry. “Yay!” I exalted, buffing my nails on whatever clothing I was wearing at the time and boasting to my long-suffering hubby about having it all done.  “Now you can finish that other one you were writing,” he said. Obviously a man after my own heart – I always knew he was “the one”.

The next day, when I sat at my desk a click away from opening up the Crystal Warriors folder and getting down to work, a sly pink piece of paper peeking out from a pile of Conference emails and stuff I’d been meaning to file caught my eye. Hmmm. Another competition – for partials this time: beginnings, if you want to get specific. Which of course diverted my attention to my current wip and a couple of my other mss that no-one’s read and wondering whether their beginnings were up to scratch.

Not bad! I decided, after cutting and pasting the beginnings of the three mss and reformatting them as per the competition requirements. Might just enter these and see what sort of feedback I get. Then…. eek! The horrendous realization. Beginnings are the easy part (well, sort of… okay, not really) but each entry needed a synopsis, too. Now don’t panic, M: you already have synopses for two of the mss. But… this darn competition requires a 2-page synopsis only! Alright, it’s single spaced pages, thank god, but still! Maybe I won’t enter the darn competition at all… Chicken…. bwark, bwark! (Incidentally, how do you spell that noise that chickens make???)

After two days spent ruthlessly whacking the delete key on my poor, unsuspecting keyboard, I had my two short synopses completed. Two down; one to go. Only problem is, I’m only 3/4 through writing the 3rd ms I want to enter and I’m not entirely sure how it’s all going to end yet. What to do? I mean, I think the beginning is really good, with the best first line I’ve ever written. I really would like to chuck this in the competition and see what others think of it.

So what’s the problem? I hear you yelling. Make something up, you stupid woman! That’s what writers do, isn’t it?

And I guess that’s what I’ll do. I’ll treat it as yet another writing challenge for me, personally. It’s going to be a challenge because I’ve only EVER entered competitions after I’ve completed a full manuscript. No matter whether the competition required a partial or a full, I always had a completed ms behind the entry. So for me, the synopsis was just a matter of getting the guts of what I’d already written down on paper and then spending hour after hour tightening it up until it met the page-length requirements for either the query I was writing or the competition I was entering. Luckily for me, it’s not been often that the synopsis requirements are so… limited. This is going to be the first time I’ve had to write a synopsis with only 3/4 of a manuscript to go on – and I only have 2 pages to do it in. I had a go yesterday, but ended up writing another entire chapter instead. It’s going to be interesting, to say the least, so I’ll keep you posted .

Talk to you next month – after I’ve finalized the end of year accounts for the accountant… the end of the financial year is nigh and the real world (and the IRD) intrudes, unfortunately!



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