That’s not a word, you say! No, I don’t think it’s a word either, but I like it. And it’s about as difficult to spell as it is to write a damn synopsis itself.
How do you sum up your novel in one page or thereabouts? Or even in one sentence, for that lucky moment when you find yourself in a lift with a publishing-type person and you need to approach them in that split-second between telling them you’re a writer and the moment their eyes roll wildly looking for the ‘Open Door’ button?
So, I’ve decided to give my Facing Up synopsis another re-write. Mainly because I would like to get it published traditionally eventually. And also because I need the practice for my second almost finished YA novel (yes, I swear, it’s almost finished – I know I’ve been saying that for at least a year! It’s amazing how many degrees of near-completion are covered by the phrase ‘almost finished’).
Where was I? Oh yes, in the middle of attempting to leap ship from self-publishing to traditional publishing. Whoops, caught. Well, I’ve had a go at it, and I know I’m not great at the publicity thing, so I thought why not use the knowledge I’ve gained and try to sell my novels to agents and publishers? There’s not a lot to lose, as I’m already well and truly caught up in the enjoyment of writing. Just a matter of some slightly dented pride with the coming rejections, but I know I’ve survived all that before.
This time, I figure, if I give it a red-hot go and work on all the things needed, like synopsis, blurb, tagline – and of course the novel itself – then I’m putting a lot of things in place that can be used if I decide later on to self-publish the second (and third! yes, there is a third in gestation). They do say it’s hard to get noticed as an author, especially self-published, until you’ve got several books out and have built a following.
So I’m working away on the Facing Up synopsis, summarising 55,000 words to preferably less than 1000. And then preferably around 300 words, going by what the publishers seem to be wanting. All this for something that may or may not be read! But writing a good synopsis shows your ability to build a story arc, to hold interest, build tension, and bring it all home to a satisfying conclusion, so here goes for what may be my fiftieth attempt to produce a decent synopsis for this book.
Here’s a few different articles I found useful – in this one, the plot for the Hitchcock classic movie Vertigo is used as an example (spoiler alert!).
In this interview from Writers Victoria, Aussie YA writer Shivaun Plozza gives an insider’s view, both as a published author and as a manuscript reader for a major publisher – how I wish I could attend her workshop in July, but my full-time job is getting in the way.
And here’s a challenge – write one sentence for each of your novel’s major plot turns. Phew.
Good luck with that, and wish me good luck too!