A synopsis rant.

(A quick announcement: Next week I start the mini-series on Character Types. If you want to get in on it, leave a vote for your favorite kind of character.)

Okay, I'll just say it. I HATE synopses. Hate them. With a passion like a thousand flaming suns. Loathe, abhor and despise them.

We hates them, my precious, yes we does...

I know what you're going to say, you're going to say that it's a good skill to have. That it's a useful tool for editors and agents to get an idea of where your book is going and if you've plotted well. You may even throw in that synopsis writing never goes away, so it's best to learn to do it well.

You're probably right, but I don't care. I still hate them.

Right now some lucky person who's never written a synopsis is scratching their head, wondering why a sane, rational and intelligent adult is spewing out venom for what is basically a glorified book report.

To which I say two things:

1.) If I were a sane and rational adult, I'd be an accountant, not a writer.

2.) I just spent THREE hours staring at my computer, wrestling with plot points and characters and summaries, just so I could produce something that reads like this.

When Nisha meets with Matron, she learns that the House Council does not believe she can find anyone to speak for her at the Redeeming, an event where House girls are chosen as wives or apprentices. Nisha was left at the gates of the Houses at the age of seven, has no knowledge of her parents and, for reasons Matron will not explain, Nisha was never formally trained in any House. The Council has decided to sell Nisha as a slave in order to recoup their expenses in raising her.

Clearly my exposition skills need work.



  1. You can do it, Miriam! Somehow it all works out. Though it's easy for me to say since I haven't had to write a synopsis yet... But when I do, I'm sure I'll right there with you banging my head on the desk, lol. Keep your head up (Seriously, we don't want you inflicting brain damage. You won't get your synopsis done that way.) and trust the process!

  2. I'll raise my coffee cup in a toast to your rant ;)

    I've found that with synopses, the less said the better. When I just sum up the essence of the story with very few details, I get the most response. Keep writing, and good luck!

  3. I hates them too, yes me does, precious. But yes, they are a necessary evil.

    Keep stabbing at it, then send it to your lovely and wonderful critique peoples and see what they say. They is lovely and wonderful, yes we...er, they is. :)

  4. Laura- "Keep your head up". Lol. That's awesome. Thanks for the encouragement. I'll just keep plugging away, maybe invest in some nice desk padding... :)

    Joanne- Those are the questions, aren't they? How much is too much? How little is too confusing? How long would my computer smolder if I set fire to it? (Okay, maybe the last one is just me.) But I do think I'm getting a handle on the content. Now I just have to make it read smoothly.

    Amy- Yah for lovely and wonderful synopsis critiquers! And also hissing like Gollum when frustrated. :)

  5. =/ No, check out my latest blog post.

  6. When you get it done can you send me a synopsis of your synopsis :-)

  7. *sticks out tongue at Marty* Pfffpttt! :P

  8. I think we learn the most as writers by writing things that we find very difficult. So don't be a synopsis hater. :-) It's good for you. Like spinach!


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