Hi, SEers! Mae here with you today. Thanks for joining me as I ruminate over three items writers hate to write. Seems odd, doesn’t it?
Most of the time, we love to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and let inspiration fly. But, if you’re like me, there are several writing tasks that make you groan. Let’s take a quick look at each.
I love writing the synopsis for my novel—said no author ever.
Well, maybe that’s too harsh. Some authors write the synopsis before the manuscript, so they know exactly what journey their characters are going to take. Not me. For most of us, writing a synopsis after completing a 50K-90K novel is sheer torture. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit the mere thought gives me a pounding headache. To make it easier, I keep the following in mind:
Each publishing house or agent has specific requirements on length. Some may be okay with a five-page synopsis, but most require 1-2 single-spaced pages. I start long, then cut back as needed. I find it’s easier to spill everything then trim as necessary. Do whatever works for you to get the process underway, but do your research to ensure you’re not sending a three-page synopsis to an agent who has specifically requested one page.
Your synopsis should be written in third person present tense, and include the full story arc—inciting incident, motivation of your main characters, action leading to the climax, and finally the resolution. This includes any spoilers and plot twists. Don’t be afraid to give away the farm. Agents and editors need to know how everything plays out.
Confession time. I don’t mind writing blurbs, but many authors despise them. Unlike the synopsis, a blurb should tease and entice. No plot twists here. In some ways, a blurb is like a fishing lure. Dangle enough of the (bait) story, to tempt your reader into wanting more. Hook them.
Blurbs are generally 150-200 words in length. I’ve skipped a few books because the blurb didn’t include enough to interest me in the story, and others because they felt like a running commentary of the plot. Be creative. Blurbs can be fun to write!
If it wasn’t hard enough to reduce that 80K novel to a one-page synopsis, and then a 175 word blurb, now it’s time to reduce it further. A logline sums up the whole of your book in a single sentence with a hook. If you’re like me, you normally run screaming at this point. Loglines also work well for Twitter pitchfests. I admit, I haven’t written loglines for my last several novels, but if had written one for Cusp of Night, it might have looked like this:
After a near fatal car accident, a woman develops a sensitivity to the spirit world, becoming embroiled in the life of an eighteenth-century spiritualist with ties to a present-day killer.
Now that we’ve discussed synopsis, blurb, and loglines, it’s time to share your thoughts. Do you struggle writing these, or do you enjoy working through them? Do you have a favorite? One you dislike the most?
Let me hear your thoughts below. Ready, set, go!