An experienced, published author disagrees with my "The Synopsis In Excerpts" concept (see Friday (2-15-13) posting, on this website)... and I respond....
"Earl-- Your synopsis reads like an outline. I think both a synopsis and an outline are helpful in writing a book. Yes, a synopsis can be a pain to write but there are simple rules that make it easier to do. And I can understand a publisher wanting one. Otherwise, said publisher is buying a pig in a poke.
"I'm one of those people who will turn to the end of a suspenseful story to see how it comes out, and then go back and finish reading it. As a writer, I'm as interested in a book's structure as in its story. Some of us can be a little wierd that way.
* * *
EM Response: Hi, Pat-- (grin) and not to fear (if, indeed, you might have been) my reaction re: expressing your opinion re: the utility of synopsis and/or outline (for writers, I presume, as well as for publishers). I'm an advocate of "whatever works," and many writers I've met feel as you do.
But I'd have to disagree that my "Tissie" -approach has much resemblance to any outlines I've encountered. In my experience, long and occasionally sad (but that's another story), outlines tend less toward excerpted narrative/dialogue and more toward "plot-elements-needed-for-each-chapter" (oft in a checklist of sorts, used as a writer's tool to ensure the storyline is advanced in discrete stages).
As for publishers and their affinity for a synopsis and/or outline: I suppose a publisher might find these items interesting, but I'd posit that if she/he is buying a novel, submitting an outline provides little utility to the decision at hand ...other than as a lazy-editor's tool to reduce the stack-size of the "under submission m/ss I have yet to read" via a premature purchase-decline.
The fact that fiction (almost always-- say, if you're not Steve King) must be submitted "finished" rather than in part is a tacit acknowledgement that factors such as voice, character development, and writing style are paramount in the novel.
An outline (and, I'd venture, also a synopsis) tends to limit any editor's insights to only one question: "can the writer 'plot?'" This might work in pondering acquisition of non-fiction (tho even here, "can the writer WRITE?" results in the demand for a sample chapter or three). In assessing fiction, IMHO, it's a myoptic approach indeed... to the point of near-uselessness.
You commented that "And I can understand a publisher wanting one. Otherwise, said publisher is buying a pig in a poke."
I'd disagree, countering with the viewpoint that only an about-to-be-bankrupted publishing house is buying anything --yet. The manuscript can be brilliantly outlined, but all-too-often the pudding itself fails the test of proof (see above comment re: "voice, character development, and writing style" --to name but three crucial elements).
Again, IMHO, an outline (or a synopsis) is merely a hoop-jumping/quick-read/quick-reject tool for those lamentably time-stressed acquisition editors. Before cash changes hands, that m/s still has to be read (or, sadly, scanned & "assessed" by one of the editor's freelance reader-assistants). No pig-poking purchases are allowed, unless & until.
I do, I hasten to mention, sympathize with overworked editors... which is why I suggest we writers help 'em out with a new tool that reveals far more, far more quickly of what they need to know in these early stages of the acquisition process.
(grin) "The Synopsis In Excerpts" is, IMHO, precisely that tool. But perceived needs & perceived solutions may (and do) vary.
Finally, I assure you that I do NOT feel you are in any way "weird" in your practice of reading last chapters of a suspenseful story first. (But I am unsure how much that tells you about, as you say, "the book's structure;" presumably you --like most readers-- don't have access to an outline or synopsis, where structural information might actually be advance-revealed).
Still, if that approach works well for the Reader-You, it would be churlish for me to try to talk you out of it.
But I do appreciate that an experienced, published author like you took the time to voice your opinion, and I thank you. I'm in your debt, Pat.
Happy reading and writing!
-- Earl Merkel