It’s almost as bad as saying a curse word, isn’t it? Synopsis. Syn-op-sis; noun: a seemingly innocuous document inflicting crippling anxiety upon unsuspecting writers since the dawn of time. And yet, this humble creation is one of the most powerful planning (and selling) tools any writer can have at their disposal.
Go look it up.
I’ll wait here.
So, if it’s such a big dealy, it begs the question: why all the stress? (I don’t know the answer, btw. This isn’t that kind of post.)
Prior to a month ago, I hadn’t even attempted a synopsis since taking an advanced novel writing class at night-school circa. 2000-andsomethingorother (I really don’t have a memory for dates, or dollars, or any kind of numbers, really). And let’s just say I was a little reluctant to relive the experience [read: filled with self-doubt, fear of failure and feelings of inadequacy]. I was second-guessing EVERYTHING and to be honest, at one point I toyed with the idea of scrapping the whole thing and just binge-watching season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, instead.
Much more fun, right? With the smooching. And Angelus. And Spike. Not too shabby at all.
And then I remembered that I’d set a goal for myself waaaay back in January (actually, I set several goals, but that’s a whole other post), which was to pitch my current manuscript to a publisher or agent at the Romance Writers of Australia conference, in Melbourne.
What kind of fool was I? (This kind! ⬇️⬇️⬇️)
Anyhoo, to enable me to pitch, I need a synopsis, and to have said synopsis, I need to overcome the niggling self-doubt, and actually write the damn thing.
So, here we are.
Confession: I totally procrastinated for months before I actually started writing the synopsis. I mean, I should have had this underway in February! Of course, I didn’t, but I eventually make a start in April, and guess what? It’s been awesome!
I’m not even kidding. No sarcasm. Nothing. I’ve enjoyed every minute of plotting and planning and imagining and dreaming of every possible twist, turn, and dark moment my story might contain. It’s been liberating and enlightening and oh so enjoyable. In fact, if I’d known writing a synopsis would be this much fun, I’d have done one years ago (other than the ones I did for advanced novel writing, that is).
So, what have I discovered so far?
- While it’s been quite a challenging exercise [insert amusing quip about pulling teeth HERE], I’ve also enjoyed the writing process, and can really see why they are such valuable tools for writers. Weird, right?
- Turns out my heroine’s love interest–not so much a hot, super-sexy alpha with a soft, chewy centre, and more a duplicitous creep who I can’t wait to maim or disfigure in some diabolical way.
- A big chunk of sub-plot I thought was soooooo important to the storyline and my heroine’s character arc, is just… gone. G-O-N-E. Don’t need it. Don’t want it. Hasta luego, baby. And the best part? I’ve totally replaced it with something that’s so much better. Squeeeeee!
- I’ve actually started to feel quite a bit more confident in this WIP, which in turn, has given me a little boost in the writing stakes. Woot!
Of course, this could all change in the next 24 hours, because I have–stupidly or not–committed to completing the first draft of my synopsis, and sending it off to a couple of wonderful beta readers for feedback, by Friday night.
WHAT WAS I THINKING?
I mean, I could wind up rocking in a corner somewhere, humming show tunes and painting clown faces, but we’ll cross that weird bridge, if and when, we get to it.
On the other hand, I could also finish the synopsis, be moderately happy with how it turned out, and treat myself to something special… like that season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer we were talking about.
For now, I’m feeling positive, and happy, and dare I say, optimistic? You might want to check in on me tomorrow night, though. There may be humming… and clowns.