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Synopsis Hell

The title of this post will not come as a shock to my crit group.  They know I absolutely hate this part of the writing process.  But in this case, instead of coming at it from the perspective of someone just sitting down to write the much-maligned synopsis, I thought I’d come at it from the other side.

I just finished my query letter, 1-page and 3-page synopsis for Dragonfly, my YA steampunk novel, so the group can critique them in a few weeks or so.  It occurred to me while I was working on all three that on some level, I actually do enjoy the process of breaking down the novel to its essential elements and putting them into various forms, whether it’s a fairly detailed 3-page summation or a quick 3-paragraph pitch that reads like back cover copy.  It’s a challenge, and it can be fun if I let it be.  The part that I actually hate is the pressure associated with composing these documents.  The make-or-break, oh my god if this sentence isn’t just perfect the agent is going to wad up the query letter and play wastepaper basketball with it kind of pressure.  The stakes are high, and I can’t ever really forget that.

To combat the pressure, it’s helpful for me to remember that, for one thing, I have a crit group that has my back and will help me write the best synopsis possible.   On top of that, I’ve actually started showing the query letter to my husband and brother to get their opinions.  For a variety of reasons, I usually don’t have family members critique my work, but in this case it’s actually helpful because it’s a way for me to talk about the book with them and share my excitement by showing them all the shiny bits and exciting twists.

It’s a safe bet that I’ll never love this part of the process, but it’s necessary, so it’s  important to find what enjoyment I can in it.  I also promised myself some chocolate when I was finished.  That always helps.

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