Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Synopsis Short-Circuit

Writing a synopsis is not exactly my cup of tea.

I should say, it’s a nightmare beyond comprehension.

The problem lies in the fact that I had this story to tell and the only way I could tell it adequately was to spend 70-90,000 words doing that very thing. Now, once I have all those words down and have completed necessary revisions and edits, I feel my story is polished and as perfect as I can make it. That’s when someone wants me to describe it in 500 words.

Well, ok, but see, if I could have told this story in 500 words, I would have. Really. It took a considerable amount of time to write and edit those 70-90k words and now you want me to sum it all up in 500.

I understand the value of a synopsis, I do. I just find it a gut wrenching experience to write one.

It’s like this…

You hear that a Mr Leonardo da Vinci made a little painting called the Mona Lisa. You’re interested in this painting, but you don’t know if it will be worth your time and effort to actually travel to see it. Instead you ask him to send you an example, three brushstrokes, that are ‘similar’ to the Mona Lisa. You will use those brush strokes to determine if it’s worth your while to then view it.

Ok, I’m not da Vinci and my writing may not be any Mona Lisa, but I’ve spent considerable time, effort, and a little part of myself to create my ‘work of art’. It’s a hard thing to do to then pick those three brush strokes, carefully put them on paper, and present them in lieu of all the time and effort you put into the original piece.

Not impossible, but not easy.

So, to all those out there who may run into a synopsis I have painfully created, please bear in mind, it is a fraction of the whole. It’s an oyster without her pearl, the Mona Lisa without her smile (or her whole face for that matter), a commercial and nothing more.

I try to make it the best commercial I can, but there are so many layers to tear away, so many details to be left out. It’s like picking the cutest part of your baby and only sending out photos of that part. So if you get a nose, a very cute nose, remember the whole that you’re not yet seeing.

Thank you!


Kim Mullican said...

I absolutely agree! Crunching months or years worth of story-telling into a few pages blows. Why leave out the juice?

Even harder was to write the blurb on the back of my book... grab them in a few hundred words or less.


Jennifer Hillier said...

I feel your pain. Very little in a writer's life is worse than writing a synopsis. It's a soul-sucking, energy-draining, headache-inducing nightmare. And yet, I know you can do it!

Btw, you won CREEP! Email me!

Lorena said...

Julie, love your Monalisa and body-part analogies, and I'm still laughing from your entries in the "Worst Storyline Contest". Rooting for you!

Julie Geistfeld said...

Thanks for all the comments!

Kim - Yes, then there are blurbs to think about... yikes!

Jennifer - So excited about reading Creep!

Lorena - Thank you! The worst storyline was kind of a fun one :)