Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Synopsis or Schnapps? -- Robin

I’m starting to wish I had spent my weekend with a bottle of Peach Schnapps rather than writing a synopsis for my middle grade novel. After three painful days, I finally emerged with a 2-page synopsis (don’t even ask me to get it down to one page!) so that my agent can get some sort of understanding of what my story is about. I have a feeling I should’ve just mailed her this bottle of Peach Schnapps.

I honestly can’t stand writing synopses. Maybe it’s because I have to use a different part of my brain (the part that is usually not used) in order to write one. I totally understand the necessity of it, but it seems like an impossible task for my underused brain.

It would be like asking an artist, “Could you look at your most beautifully painted masterpiece, then recreate it to express the essence of the painting, but not the entire essence, and include only the important parts of the painting, but not the boring parts of the painting, and be sure to include all of the techniques you used in the painting, but don’t actually use the techniques…just use stick figures, and, oh…would you please do all of that on this little note card?”

Luckily, the always-entertaining agent, Nathan Bransford has been blogging about this synopsis-writing crisis that all writers go through. And just hearing that agents and editors understand what a drag it is for us makes me a feel just a tad better.

Since I was stressed-out this weekend with all this synopsis writing, my boys decided to take me out on the town. And where did we go? To the 16th Annual Turtle, Tortoise and Reptile Show! Which sounded cute enough.

But I didn’t realize it was going to involve this…

Robin’s son, a large python, and Robin
(who is faking that smile for the sake of her son’s happiness)

But at least I learned something this weekend: if there’s anything I hate more than synopses…it’s snakes.

- Robin


Natalie said...

Interesting photo, Robin! (Was it taken after you'd ingested a few shots of Schnapps?)

I hear you about the synopsis, and what a great analogy with the art...my synopses always seem to turn out like a Jackson Pollock painting, and seem to make just as much sense. Maybe I'll try the Schnapps next time...

Hélène B said...

I'm doing the exact same thing--writing a synopsis for my middle grade novel for my agent. BUT, not only did it need to include a synopsis, but also a bio, comparision to other books in the genre, curriculum considerations and marketing ideas. All in 2 pages!

Nearly killed me, it did! (No Schnapps, but there was a lot of Diet Coke involved)

Good luck with yours!

Becky Levine said...

I'm doing the synopsis, too, but not yet for MY agent, just for any agent who wants it that MIGHT want my book, too.

It is a PAIN! Luckily, I got to delay some of the agony by sending it off to my critique group, who will make me happy today by shredding it to pieces & putting it back together in some semblance of coherency...I hope!

Good luck!

The snake picture is very cool--I actually like them, although maybe not QUITE as much as your adorable son!

Don Tate II said...

For me, it's the synopsis that's easy. Writing the book is hard. If I could make a living writing book synopsis' I'd be rich.

If I made a living writing books, I couldn't make my car payment. Of course, I haven't made it yet anyway.

Disco Mermaids said...

Funny, Don. I totally agree with you on the synopsis thing. I kind of like that part; writing it makes me feel like I actually have a whole story somewhere in there. So, Robin, send it on over and I'll hook you up with a synopsis...call me the Synopsis Whisperer!

And, OMG, GF! I thought you were kidding about going to the Annual Snake and Reptile-Palooza thing. You're tougher than me, for sure. It's making me hurl just to look at the pic!


Dot said...

Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?

And I don't understand why they ask for synopses. Ack. I've never read one that was fun to read.

Disco Mermaids said...

It's weird how people have definite opinions on the synopsis writing thing...either love it or hate it.

And Eve, you are great at writing synopses. I'll send mine your way so you can cut, cut, cut!! (A whole page, please.)

And Becky, good luck with getting the agent!


Becky Levine said...


Thanks for the good wishes. It's out "there" right now.

Man, it's hard to type with your fingers crossed!