Thursday, 12 April 2012

My Battle with the Synopsis

As some of you may know, the Valerie Parv competition opens for entries at the end of this month. As a newbie writer, I aim to enter at least one competition a month for the value of the feedback. Of course, it's great when you get a place and even better when you're No.1, but when you sitting a little lower on the ranks, that feedback is your gold star. I've had some great feedback and truly, sometimes it's what keeps you going.
Anyway, to enter the Val Parv Award I need a synopsis that will be judged. I've never done a synopsis and I tell you what, now thati have i can say its easier writing a novel!
Thankfully, I was a little prepared. I'd done my research. I searched a few sites and I took their best points and used them. The week before my editor requested a summary of my novel and so the job was more or less, half done.
Now, to write the 1k word synopsis for the 130k word novel...
It wasn't easy. It was hard. Very. I had so much to write and yet I couldn't fit it in. I need to say this and I need to say that, but I just couldn't get those words to form the way I wanted them to. I felt like I wasn't giving my plot justice.
And then, my computer crashed. BLACK went the screen and GONE was my synopsis. I wasn't happy.
So, I rebooted my evil, demise-plotting computer back up and I searched, hunted that synopsis down. I found it eventually - after the panic attack and the mental break-down, of course - but I still had to finish it.
1215 words later and I was finished. A first draft of course as I need to cull some words, but hey! it's a start.

So a few tips to help you when you write your synopsis:
- Summarise Your Chapters - That way you'll know where you're going. It's harder to ride a bike blind is it not?
- Highlight the Highs and Lows - These points are the bones of your synopsis. Use them.
- Brainstorm Some One Line Hook - If my research is correct, start your sysnopsis with an opening hook. It'll draw in the reader and you'll get a gold star for it. And if you can, maintain that exciting persona, maintain that voice.
- Present Tense - Always write in present-tense, no matter what tense your novel is in.
- Update Your Computer - Don't let what happened to me  happen to you.

And remember, your synopsis is NOT a blurb, is an evocative re-telling of what happens in your novel.
I hope this has help someone and I hope whoever you are that you don't experience any of the technical difficulties I did.
Happy reading/writing everybody!

Aspiring Romance Writer and owner of an Evil, conspiring computer


  1. Glad to hear you're entering the Valerie Parv competition. I struggle with writing synopses myself!

  2. They really are a bother aren't they. All you want to do is write the novel. If only it were so simple :)
    Hope things are going well for you Coleen.

  3. I hate them - it's easier to write the book!

  4. It is isn't it. And far more enjoyable.
    Thanks for stopping by Nicole :)