Three Items Writers Hate to Write    

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.

Exhausted female writer with head down on desk, laptop open, tablet nearby
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!

Serious, concentrated cat works remotely on a laptop while sitting at home.

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!

Bio box for author, Mae Clair


85 thoughts on “Three Items Writers Hate to Write    

  1. Great post, Mae, and I love your first image. I thought I was the only one who dreads writing a Synopsis or blurb. How can a few words be so difficult? You’ve answered that for me and so much more! Thank you for the smiles and confirmation. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Synopsis I don’t mind AS much…but the blurb is total balls. I had help on my blurb and thank God I did because I suck at them. I haven’t really done a logline before, but I tell you what I LOVE writing: the tagline. I’ve got all three taglines worked out for my current series (before books II and III are even finished)! Great post, Mae 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Three Items Writers Hate to Write     | Story Empire |

    • Good thought, Flossie. I’ve had to write the blurbs for books 2 and 3 of my series novels before I started writing the actual books, and you’re right–they did help me maintain focus. I also remember tweaking them a bit (especially book 3 of A Desolate Hour) before arriving at the finished product.
      And I’m right there with you on the synopsis being the hardest! Ugh! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I thoroughly enjoy writing the Blurb and the log-line, but the synopsis … not a good look. I tend to go all Wiley Coyote and fruitlessly chase that damned Road Runner all over the place. Sigh. My coffee and Tylenol usage increases for the duration of synopsis writing. Great post, Mae! 👍

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I haven’t done a synopsis in a while but they are pure torture. I have a hard time giving up my surprises in the story. I don’t mind blurbs, some are easier than others. Loglines are challenging to compress an entire book into a line or two. Great post, Mae 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Torture is the perfect word for a synopsis, Robbie. I soooooo dislike them. Is despite too strong a word, LOL!
      Like you, I don’t mind blurbs though. I think they’re rather fun to write. And I’m still adapting to the challenge of log-lines 🙂

      Happy writing!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Nice post, Mae. I’ll tell you a secret. I studied the blurbs for your Hode’s Hill series very carefully before I wrote the blurb for my new book. I tried to do what you had done. When I get around to sharing it, you can tell me if you think I succeeded.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m working on my blurb and logline right now, Mae, so your timing is perfect. And no, I don’t like writing them! I find blurbs extremely difficult. Ugh. It takes me months. I’ll have to go back again and make sure it’s got some barbs!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. All of these drive me nuts. The synopsis is the hardest for me. I’m not sure why but as a hint I think I hate to cut pieces of the story that seem relevant. I did a one-pager for Eternal road and found it can be done. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn to like them. Good post, Mae.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Good morning, Mae! You certainly hit on a topic that makes me cringe. Condensing a large body of work down to just a few words is not only hard but challenging, to say the least. One thing I’ve learned about writing the blurb and logline is that you need to approach them from a salesman POV. This is what will sell your book to a complete stranger. So, it needs to be concise (Like you said 150-200 words) and it needs to have something that will hook the reader or grab their interest so they’ll want to know more. When I click on an intriguing book cover on Amazon and the blurb is seven paragraphs long, I move on. 🙂 But that’s just me. Great post today!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Jan. I agree with everything you said!
      I can’t tell you the number of books I skipped on Amazon because the blurbs made my eyes glaze over. Either because they were excessively long, or there was nothing to hook my interest. Blurb writing is challenging, but it’s a lot of fun.
      As for the synopsis–BLECH! That kind of sums up my feelings on that one, LOL!

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:

    Mae Clair has a very handy post today on Story Empire. Confused about writing a synopsis versus a blurb? Wondering how long a logline should be? Mae gives some excellent tips on these topics, and I highly recommend you head on over to check out her post. You’ll be glad you did, and will surely want to pass it along so others can take a look, too. Thanks, and thanks to Mae for explaining the differences in what each of these requires! Super post! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Thank you for these great tips, Mae. I’m saving this post for future reference, and will have need to use the last two of these in the next week, I believe. Because I’m self-published, I’ve never written a synopsis, and after considering what you just described, I’ve found yet another reason I’m happy to remain that way.

    So far, I’ve been able to do blurbs and loglines without too much trouble, though I imagine there are ways to improve them. (One more thing I could take a look at during my break between books.) Definitely passing this along on TWS. Super post, Mae!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Marcia.
      The synopsis is the worst, IMHO, so I would say stay blissfully indie happy. I am probably headed that way myself, at least for a few of my releases. There’s another part of me that is gearing up for the torture of seeking out an agent.

      You always do a great job with your blurbs and log-lines. I have to get better at the second one. I can do teaser lines as an intro for my blurb, but the log-line usually eludes me. Happy writing!

      Liked by 3 people

      • I’m not sure it’s always so blissful, but I suspect at this point in my life, I’m not going to make any drastic publishing changes. 😉 Indie, it is. And thanks for the kind words, too! 🙂 Happy writing to you,as well. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. In my world I only really need the blurb. I gave up trying to capture the attention of traditional publishers. Honestly, I only tackle the blurb as I’m publishing the book. My sales might be better if I took it more seriously, but it’s one of those things I could obsess over for months otherwise.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think the synopsis is the bane of most authors when looking for a traditional publisher. Indie subbing has so many wonderful benefits—like not having to deal with the dreaded synopsis. When I was traditionally published, I had to submit blurbs and synopsis before I wrote the books (when doing a series). Otherwise, I wait until the end to do the blurb as well. It makes it easier for me when I have the whole story behind me.

      Liked by 3 people

  13. I know most writers shut down at the thought of these, but I really don’t mind writing any of them. Of the three, the synopsis is my least favorite, probably because it’s the least creative. I have clients I write back cover copy for, so I’ve done more than just a few for myself. And I think loglines pose a challenge in a good way. It’s almost like a game to write them. But then again, no one ever said I was normal. lol

    Great post, Mae.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I’ve been able handle the synopsis, but the other two are always rough. Especially the blurb because of the reasons you mention. I can never tell if it’s enough or what I should touch on to draw people in. I’ve been told colorful language is a no-no, but I need to use words to attract readers. I need to be to the point, but explain the story in some detail. It’s like trying to make a soufflé in the middle of a heavy metal concert.

    I’d like say author bios are a nightmare too. I find myself to be a boring topic.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I love your description, Charles “like trying to make a soufflé’ in the middle of a heavy metal concert.” LOL!

      I would much rather write a blurb than a synopsis — ANY DAY! I have the same problem with the synopsis as you have with the blurb — sharing what’s required without delving into sub plots that I think are important (for the synopsis). That’s why I start longer and then chop it down to size. I think blurbs are fun to write, and good ones should always leave me as a reader, wanting more. I think that’s the key.

      I don’t mind writing my bio as long as I can keep it short.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Of the three, the synposis is the one I hate. I quite enjoy blurbs … but then, I know I’m weird! lols. It seems I’ve been writing loglines without knowing what they’re called, ha ha. With those, I find some stories easier than others to come up with a simple one-liner. Does it make sense if I say it depends what mood I’m in as to how easy/hard the logline is for me?

    Great post, Mae. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I stress about all three, procrastinate as long as I can. But then, as soon as I start on any of them, I can spend hours writing them… and enjoying it. Odd! Thank you for writing this, Mae, it will be fascinating to see others’ thoughts here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I procrastinate with the synopsis, and then, like you, once I start I’m committed and will spend hours. But I definitely don’t enjoy it, LOL. It’s a traumatic experience for me, second guessing every word I use and whether or not I’ve hit the key elements without delving into areas a publisher or agent doesn’t care about. I shudder just thinking about it now, LOL!

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Hahaha I was just whining about writing synopses and blurbs on another blog and here’s a totally relevant article to the topic once more. I find the synopsis the hardest to write, because it’s basically condensing your story for the benefit of the editors/publishers. The blurbs could at least be treated as something separate. I didn’t even know loglines were a thing because I never had a need for it yet. Loved this. Thanks for sharing, Mae!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Stuart! Thanks so much for visiting and sharing 🙂
      I see I’m not the only one who DREADS writing a synopsis. They are awful to tackle, IMHO.
      I do enjoy blurb writing. Blurbs are more creative and can be fun to play with. If you ever have to tackle a log-line, I wish you well. They’re always a stretch for me, LOL.

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Happy writing and tackling all three of these as the need(s) arise!

      Liked by 1 person

We'd love to know what you think. Comment below.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s