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Sunday, May 20, 2018

The dreaded synopsis on my computer screen

cj Sez: I’ve been toiling on the dreaded synopsis for an unnamed work-in-progress. 

What is a synopsis, you may ask. The very successful publishing consultant Jane Friedman defines the synopsis this way:
“The synopsis conveys the narrative arc of your novel; it shows what happens and who changes, from beginning to end.”  (“Back to Basics: Writing a Novel Synopsis” )

  Basically, the starting sentence of my synopsis is my elevator pitch . . . twenty-five or so words that might pique the curiosity of an agent in the few seconds I have if we’re caught on an elevator together.

  The synopsis also reflects the same voice/tone as the manuscript. The document will be chronological in terms of where things happen in the manuscript and to whom. All the story threads will be neatly tied up, but it will include only major characters and major scenes. Beginning, middle, and end which means even if it’s a mystery, it will (must) reveal the ending. This is, after all, going to an agent or publisher.

  When I’m finished with the whole thing, I’ll ask another writer if s/he can make sense of what the story is about and if are there questions that need answering. Of course, that means I’ll need to get into edit cycle four, five, et al.

  Normally, I wait until the manuscript is complete to do a synopsis, but a friend of mine suggested doing a synopsis for each chapter as it’s completed. That does sound easier since everything is really fresh in my mind.

  The interesting thing for me about writing the synopsis is that it helps me identify plot holes; hopefully, all of them.

Three questions:
Ques 1: When do you write your synopsis…when the manuscript is complete or when each chapter is complete?
Ans: . . . .

Ques 2: We’re about a month out from the first day of summer so I’m asking…why are we seeing hellacious heat and humidity on the Gulf Coast already?
Ans: Okay, I know the answer to that one. It’s because Mother Nature doesn’t pay attention to humankind’s calendar.

Ques 3: Next week is Memorial Day weekend…anyone care to guess how high the national average for gas prices will be? They’re already on the way up.
Ans: And your guess is. . . .   

That’s it for this post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


A review of Deadly Star from Rebecca Barrett, author of Trouble in Paradise: "cj petterson has crafted a tale of murder, espionage, and romance which builds to a dramatic and satisfying conclusion. With a gift for well-written dialogue and a deft touch at creating suspense, Ms. petterson delivers a must-read story in Deadly Star."           
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