The Dreaded Synopsis

How-to-Write-a-Novel-Synopsis-2

Anyone who has ever submitted a book to agents or publishers will have had to write a synopsis of the entire novel, revealing all surprises, twists and so forth.

I find this process maddening. There is something profoundly depressing about condensing months or years of research and planning, not to mention the actual blood, sweat and tears of writing, into a massively reductive one page summary.

However the truth is a story doesn’t necessarily get better if it gets bigger. Obviously a summary isn’t going to convey all the emotion and nuance of a plot, but it can still hook the interest and provide the reader with a compelling reason to want to get their hands on the full version.

Perhaps the problem is that authors are too attached to their work. They aren’t objective enough in terms of what to include and what to leave out of a synopsis. Therefore, for any writers out there like me who hate summarising their novels, I wish to propose a solution: find someone you trust who can write well, and ask them to summarise your book for you. You can also return the favour in some circumstances.

Obviously this will involve them reading the book first, so they will no doubt have an opinion and want to provide feedback. But that opens up another potentially thorny topic: who should one trust read early drafts? I’ll save that can of worms for another day…

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