Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Rewriting the Synopsis

Did you ever hear the one about "the best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley?" (Robert Burns, and you'll notice the famous title lifted from the line of his poem.)
Version Two of the synopsis was better received by my critique partner than Version One, but she still had plenty of suggestions to make it, and the novel, better. So, it's off to rewrite land to start over.
First things first. My cp advised me to start with a character sketch of the heroine, leaving out nothing important. I had left vital information about her until later in the synopsis, which affected the flow of timing and pacing. By putting everything pertinent about her into the first paragraph, I eliminate the need to mention things later, and the reader (editor) will know that the story is character-driven.
After the heroine, describe the Hero. (Unless you're writing something other than romance...male oriented action/adventure may not even have a heroine.) Everything that makes him who he is should be put on paper right at the beginning.
Then get into the story. Make sure the pacing is right. I had the Hero & Heroine admitting they loved each other on page three of the synopsis, which looks like it's halfway through the book, even though it doesn't happen until the last chapter! My cp's advice was to make it clear that it happens near the end, so that the editor won't think things are going too smoothly for the protagonists.
In addition, my cp had some wonderful suggestions for the story itself. We brainstormed a bit, and now I need to do some rewriting on the novel as well. All in all, it shouldn't take too long to fix, and it will improve the book. That, hopefully, will also improve its chances of selling!
In conclusion: if you're working on a synopsis, make sure you get all the important character information in first, and then leap into the storyline. Make sure you really care about your characters. If you don't care about them, no one else will!
Happy writing!

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