Writing & Publishing

Let’s talk about the synopsis. Or not. (Please, God, no).

Let’s start with a brief history on the synopsis, shall we?

Once upon a time, Satan himself was sitting atop his throne of skulls and lava looking up at the nasty humans from above. He thought to himself, “What is next for me? What new torture can I device? I’ve already come up with the guillotine and juicing. What’s left?”

Then it came to him.

A dark and twisted thought. Satan giggled maliciously to himself. “Sarah!” he called, “Get Deborah from publishing on the line.” Kicking his cloaked legs up onto the side of his throne, he waited as Sarah patched him through.

“Hi Deborah. I’ve just devised the most horrendous plot to wreak havoc and insanity upon the world. Wait for it…” he said, holding back a giggle. “We shall make writers take a 300+ page novel and condense it in 1-2 pages without any dialogue or voice or adjectives, even! We will force them to divulge the secrets of their plots and reduce their characters to one-dimensional, completely boring entities! It will be a requirement for any poor soul wishing to find an agent or get published. Brilliant, right?”

The End.

And here we are today.

I’m convinced that this is a true story. I mean… What other explanation is there? The synopsis, my arch nemesis. How I hate the, thy vile beast.

Here you have this masterpiece, this beautiful creation. You have slaved and slaved. Your reward? You need to chop it up and mangle it into a horrendous price of work that RUINS the whole plot, murders your characters, and burns down your setting. Just you know, ’cause.

I’m at the point now that when I see “synopsis” in the submission guidelines for an agent, I think, Ah, well this is one is going in the reject pile.

Reading a synopsis is the peeing-with-the-door-open of a relationship. Mystery gone. Romance dead. Dreams crushed.

I don’t care how good of a writer you are. No one ever went to read a synopsis and thought, Oh goodie! What a great read this will be! No. The synopsis was created primarily as a torture device, and secondarily to weed out the weak. Can’t suffer through writing a synopsis? Well, then you certainly won’t be able to handling the horrific life of rejection and critique that awaits you as a professional writer.

So. I’m off to do one last read of my most recent manuscript and attempt to cultivate a non-cringe-worthy synopsis. Wish me luck.

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