I’ve learnt the value of working on a synopsis while you write your book.
I’ve also learnt to work on a blurb long before I need to send it to my publisher, but that’s not what this blog is about. I’m working on a novel that’s not suited to my publisher, so for the first time in ages, I’m writing several versions of a synopsis.
Out of the publishers I want to approach, a couple want up to 500 words, another wants 300, a couple are happy with a page or two, and one wants a summary no longer than 200.
I’ve used Margaret Atwood’s advice from this blog in the past, but through Twitter, I stumbled across Patrick Hopkins who also offers advice for book submissions. Hopkins says to submit to no more than five publishers to begin with. If all reject you, you have the chance to rework your submission for the next round of publishers.
And so I began this treacherous journey.
Someone mentioned how hard it is to not only pitch all your plot twists, but to also give the feel of the book. This work is set in the 90s, so the only place this decade is referenced is in the first paragraph. I would have loved to mention answering machines, Prozac and House Music in my pitch, but would have bloated my limited word count.
I wrote three versions starting with the 500 words. I left it alone and reread it several days later. I amended it, then went to the the 300 word version. I did the same before finally revisiting the 200 word summary.
To my surprise, the 200 word version worked best.
Like most authors, I feared my story might not be strong, but in 200 words I clearly saw the motives of my main characters without the unnecessary detail. So then I redid my two other versions using this 200 word one as my base.
If I do this again for a different book, I will start with just 200 words and embellish that version for the others.
Now, there’s no guarantee I got this right. Who knows what the future of this manuscript will be. But at least I’ve come this far with time to spare before I pimp this project.
UPDATE: I’ve instinctively felt there’s something that needs changing in this manuscript, and through this process I’ve worked out what it is. I’ve shared what it is in a new blog – CLICK HERE to read.