At SFContario this year,2010, I was a panellist on the following panel. I thought a summery of the points and suggestions that came up might be of use to people who, like me, struggle with this aspect of the business.
How to write a synopsis. A synopsis is an important part of the submission package you will use to sell your novel. But what is a synopsis and how is it developed and polished? Is there an ideal length? How much detail should it include? Panellists discuss common problems and errors. (Erik Buchanan, Michael Martineck(M), Stephen B Pearl, Karl Schroeder)
This went very well with the general consensus being the synopses are hard but necessary. A few suggestions were.
1Take a sentence from each chapter as a key and use these to build the flow.
2 There is a big difference between a synopses to sell a finished book and a synopses to sell a book on speck.
3 If you have trouble, work out the key link words you’d use for the book on Amazon and the like as your stat point.
4 Avoid “Ly” words. (Adjectives and adverbs) especially suddenly, very and finally.
5 In writing, in general, look for and avoid superfluous characters. If you can combine two or more minor characters in to one do it.
6 If you are selling on speck don’t feel overly bound by the synopsis.
7 For blurbs look to the film industry for good examples.
8 As always, write to the publishers stated preferences.
9 Don’t get cute. This is a professional document so be professional.
10 Synopses don’t have to be boring.
11 If you are stuck just write the thing then edit. Write a synopses and don’t worry about the length then write a synopses of your synopsis then repeat until you have the length and quality you need.
12 Find your main theme and stick with that.
13 Don’t go into why your characters do things, it is enough to say they do them.
Does anybody want to question why I think aspiring writers should go to cons? It was a really good panel.
Causes Stephen Pearl Supports
World Wildlife Fund, SPCA, Farley foundation, CNIB,