Micro-sizing the Synopsis

I’m all signed up for SCBWI – Los Angeles in August and OMG I am so excited about it! Are you going?

I’ve not allowed myself to attend any more conferences or enter any writing contests with my current manuscript because I was procrastinating on the final edits. I’ve dangled this conference like a chocolate pastry in front of me to compel some much needed work.

Guess what? I fell for it! Seeing the light at the end here it feels pretty freaking awesome. That said, I’ll be pretty scarce in the next few weeks as I keep my head down in my pages and do the sprucing of the words to make it all shiny.

you can do eeet!

So, SCBWI LA:  I signed up for a manuscript consult while I’m there and when I read up on the submission guidelines I saw this:

Submit only the first TEN (10) pages, even if it cuts off mid-chapter, plus a ONE-page, double-spaced synopsis.

ONE-page, DOUBLE SPACED Synopsis. Can it be true?  How does one perform such feats? I’ve got a two pager that was tough to manage, and that is single spaced. I cried big fat baby tears when I worked on the single page that was single spaced. But a single page double spaced? That’s like five words.

Say it ain’t so.

A synopsis isn’t a teaser. It needs to reveal the whole shebang. This isn’t like the one paragraph and smaller theme-based summaries, this needs to have the beginning, middle, and the end. And it needs to be snazzy.

So I mulled. I complained out loud. I grumbled that it could not be done.

And then I googled.

Which brought me to this blog which mentioned this little series of goodness that made me go here and blew my mind open to micro-synopsis possibilities.

How much of the shebang do you really need?

Taking the advice of Molly via Holly, (thank you ladies, and google!) I read all of the blurbs summarizing all the Newbery winners and started taking a giant step back to zoom out a tad more on my novel. And you know what happened?  I got my main story arc down to one page.

I also realized that I like to add lots of details that are, in fact, ancillary. (Even if they are awesome.)  I felt like I was de-juicing my manuscript.

It’s been an interesting exercise to approach the synopsis from this angle, so I thought I’d share.  Molly’s 4-part blog series is especially helpful when looking at creating the much needed set of synopses for your arsenal. I especially like how she describes them as if they were food.  ;)

Do you struggle with your synopsis?

Leave a Comment:

9 comments
Add Your Reply