Posts Tagged ‘RWA’


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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