This is a guest post from DeeDee Davies, who is the author of a few awesome Sci-Fi/fantasy novels. she tackles an issue that has become a thorn in the side for many a novelist… the Synopsis. Check it out.
Tackling the Ultimate Demon: The Book Synopsis
So far I have two complete books under my belt, neither of which are yet published. One was written in a little over four months, and the other in dribs and drabs over the course of around seven years. Both were a labour of love and a challenge to my determination; each tested me and my writing skills in different ways, and both made me dig deep into the depths of my imagination and turn my mind to find new situations and innovative resolutions. There were times when I felt like giving up, but in the end, through perseverance, dogged determination and a healthy dose of stubbornness, I finished them.
Nothing I did for either book was one tenth as difficult as writing the synopsis. To try to spare others the pain I went through, here’s what I hope is some useful advice, along with some links to the information I used and exercises I followed to write my own synopses.
When preparing to submit a book to publishers, you need to condense the fruits of hundreds of hours of hard graft into a number of different formats, each more fiendishly challenging than the last. Each exercise is useful in its own way, and I found it helpful to do them in the order below, so you reduce the amount of information given each time, and focus on the crux of your story and the most important elements.
- The full synopsis (around 2 pages):
Outline the key events in your book in chronological order. Whenever a new character or key location is mentioned for the first time, bold the text. This will help you figure out which are the most important elements and characters in your story.
- The back cover blurb (a few paragraphs to describe your book and entice readers in):
While the above synopsis should be a straight representation of your story, the back cover blurb should be exciting enough to make your reader want to pick the book up and find out more. Read the back covers of your favourite novels to see how the information is presented, and compare it to what you know about the story. You might also find it helpful to think about the voice-overs in trailers for films, and how they present the information in a way that makes the audience want to find out more.
- The one-paragraph description (tricksy!):
Cut down your story into three or four sentences. I found this really challenging, but again, it helps you find the core of your story, and its unique selling point. You will probably only mention one or two of the most important characters here.
- The one sentence description (the ultimate demon):
Slightly less difficult than scaling Everest. If you can do this, you can accomplish anything. Hopefully, by starting at 2 pages and whittling down as you go, by the time you get to the one-sentence description, you’ll have a better idea what the heart of your story is.
I found the following articles absolutely indispensable when I was writing my synopses. It takes a while to work through all the different exercises, but I found I knew so much more about my book when I had finished them. Good luck!
Fortune’s Thief Blurb:
When Tal Sarokan deserts from a mercenary band to look for a better life, little does he know that his departure will bring an end to his friends’ supernatural good fortune. Al Salazar, the charismatic leader of the mercenaries, has stolen a stone from the Well of Fate and is using it to control his destiny, and that of his band, the Sarandani. When the mercenaries start dying, Al Salazar must somehow find Tal and convince him to return – by any means necessary. Meanwhile, the Keeper of the Well has set plans in motion to force Al Salazar to return the fate-stone through the subtle manipulation of his enemies. In time, Al Salazar learns that controlling one’s own destiny comes at a price, and that every man’s luck runs out in the end.
Fortune’s Thief is not yet published, but you can find Deedee’s published short stories in several anthologies:
The End Was Not the End: http://www.amazon.com/The-End-Was-Not-Post-Apocalyptic/dp/1937929078
Perfect Flaw: http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Flaw-ebook/dp/B00BWTKXZK
A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTVSC
Monster Hunter Blood Trails: http://www.amazon.com/Monster-Hunter-Blood-Trails-Boothe/dp/1940344123
Deedee’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00P20L9IK
Deedee Davies is a short story author and novelist interested mainly in the fantasy, horror and science-fiction genres. She has had five short stories published to date in publications from Seventh Star Press, Horrified Press and EMBY Press. Deedee is also a cover artist, with around thirty published book covers under her belt. She lives in Plymouth, UK with her partner, ten spiders and four snakes.
Social Networking Links
You can read Deedee’s blog at The Official Writing Blog of Deedee Davies: