The Dread Pirate Synopsis!

   Posted by: Faith   in Creating Coldcuts

This month, I’m taking an online workshop with Camy Tang called ‘You Can Write a Synopsis!’. Now that I’ve decided to go ahead and edit my chick lit/women’s fiction manuscript, I thought it would be a good idea to start really getting serious about things like queries, synopses, and so forth, so when I saw this workshop pop up on the Black Diamond RWA chapter, I scrambled aboard at the last minute.

The first two lessons were tough — really tough — and I suspect I’ll be working on revising and changing what I submitted for quite awhile.

The first assignment was the one-line synopsis. This is what Holly Lisle calls ‘The Sentence’ (and you may have heard me talk about that before), but Camy’s instructions were a little bit different. Still, I did my best to rework the one-line summary of the story. It’s hard! It’s so difficult to put yourself on the outside of the story and pare it down to about 15-18 words.

The second part was the 5-sentence synopsis. While this wasn’t quite as difficult, it was still an enormous challenge to summarize the entire novel in just 5 sentences. You don’t have room for subplots, romantic interests (unless that’s the main point of the novel), or anything beyond the main things that set the character back from accomplishing her goal.

Wow. Talk about some serious big-picture work.

I struggled with this, and I’m really looking forward to hearing Camy’s feedback on the assignments I submitted. She’s going through everyone’s work and commenting, which has been incredibly useful — I’m enjoying reading the work of others and reading her comments, as it’s fantastic to see so many examples of the concept put into action.

Next up… the character summary paragraph. That’s tomorrow’s challenge!

How about you, have you accomplished or attempted the one-line synopsis? How about the 5-sentence elevator pitch? Do you enjoy this part of the process, or are synopses something you dread doing?

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 at 6:33 pm and is filed under Creating Coldcuts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 comments so far


I’m glad the class has been helpful to you so far! Thanks for blogging about it! I’m giving another synopsis class in May this year in case you wanted to write another synopsis for another manuscript. :)

February 19th, 2010 at 6:03 am

Thanks for stopping by Camy! I’m behind on assignments again, but they’re tough! In a very good way :) I think I’ll look into the one in May as well, it would be great practice and a good experience to do a second round with a different manuscript. Thanks for the heads up!

February 19th, 2010 at 4:40 pm

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