Writer’s Trial: The Synopsis

Night to Dawn 27 features horror and zombie fiction by various authors.People have asked what I find most difficult about writing. Every job has an unpleasant aspect, and for me, writing the synopsis is the toughest. Basically, the synopsis is a summary of the story, or if you prefer, an outline in prose form. For a pantser like me, outlines and synopses can be particularly daunting. I’m getting to the end of reviewing the edits, making final tweaks, and putting together a synopsis for Blood Moon Rising. Meantime, another sequel is calling to me, pleading to be written, presenting an opportunity to write by the seat of my pants, suspended by Mylar balloons. Ah, but I’ve got to stick to the task at hand and quit daydreaming about balloons and what-might-be-next plots.

Why a synopsis? It gives a potential publisher an idea of what the story is about. Is it a story that interests the publisher enough to read the whole manuscript? Does it have a cohesive plot? The synopsis can answer those questions. I myself have requested synopses from authors before reading their books. The synopsis makes a handy-dandy tool when it comes to approaching reviewers. The shorter (maybe one to two pages) the better. It provides material that I might use to advertise the book on my website, or to send to people who are doing promos for the book. What’s more, it provides grist for a back cover blurb and later, a description which goes to Amazon and other distributors. These last pieces of wisdom were whispered to me by my Mylar balloons when I started grousing that the task was oh, so hard.

Writer’s Digest has some good articles on writing synopses. A writer buddy suggested I start with a short back cover blurb and highlight the scenes from there. I’ve gotten a few days off from work which I have in mind to make a serious dent in the synopsis project, among other things. First, I’m getting some fortification from my Mylar balloons. I’m hiring Gemini Wordsmiths for an edit. And after the deed is done, I’ll reward myself by reading Stephen King’s Revival.  Your thoughts?

Horror fiction by Kevin Doyle involving feral children

About Barbara Custer

Author of: Twilight Healer Steel Rose Life Raft: Earth City of Brotherly Death Close Liaisons Infinite Sight When Blood Reigns Infinite Sight Publisher / Editor of Night to Dawn Books & Magazine
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6 Comments

  1. Great article, Barbara. I like the idea your friend gave you of writing the blurb first. I’d write the cover blurb first, then flesh it out. I know you’ll do a great job!

  2. The synopsis is often hard to write because it comes as an afterthought. The book is already written and in the mind and heart of the writer it is its own explanation for its own existence. But something shorter is required that also does the job.

    • And the something shorter is needed for promos. When I had the Steel Rose video done, the fellow doing it said he needed a synopsis of the book. Barbara of the Balloons 🙂

  3. This is helpful… I have a hard time steering a course between saying too little and say8ing too much.

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