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In summary, we’re not very good at summarizing anything.

1 August 2011

This weekend, I managed not to finish a synopsis of the 47 Echo sequel for my editor (don’t worry, Rhonda, it’s coming). Compared to writing the actual novel, summarizing it into a couple of pages has been kind of rough so far.

Synopses are one of my weak points as a writer. (Funfact: also not great at self-promotion.) I tried to understand why writing a synopsis is tough for me as I stared at the screen this weekend, and while I didn’t come up with any definite answers — at least not ones that would help me finish the damn job — I did come up with a couple of theories.

First, I’m kind of long-winded. I tend to write stuff out, to explain the “why” behind character actions and plot points. The synopsis is less concerned with “why,” a bit more concerned with “what.” I like detail; the synopsis needs broad strokes.

Also, I tend to not put anything into the story if I don’t think it’s important. This makes it a bit difficult to boil a story down to its “most important” points, as they’re all important to me.

But, regardless, I’m forcing myself to kill off the synopsis tonight. I’m probably 75% through it, so I don’t have that much more to do.

What about you, folks? What’s the weak point in your creative process? How do you mitigate that?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 1 August 2011 1014

    “The 47 Echo Marine Unit, a special-forces team made up entirely of convicts faces the toughest missions in our war against China, North Korea, and about half of Russia. They’ve pulled off some pretty impossible missions thus-far, but nothing has prepared them for what’s next.

    If Nick and his team can make it through the end of the war alive, their freedom awaits them back home. But Chinese Death Machines stalk them behind enemy lines, one member of the team has a serious deathwish, and their last mission went so FUBAR that Nick is convinced there’s a traitor in the command structure at Camp ________ ”

    for example. You can add more details, but summarize book 1 lightly & then kind of hint at the dangers they have to face and overcome this go-round.

    “Their equipment may have gotten better, but the missions are more dangerous than ever.”

    • 1 August 2011 1018

      That’s not bad, actually. A synopsis is quite a bit longer, though — a couple thousand words — and basically puts together the broad strokes of what happens in each chapter.

      Now, as back-cover copy, you’ve got it nailed. 😉

      • 5 August 2011 1245

        Oh, sorry, I’ve not gotten involved in publishing so I didn’t know an actual summary was so complex! Good luck. But even with the summary I’d say always leave them wanting more…

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