Easy: ask for a 500-word synopsis of their 100,000-word opus magnus.
Synopsis writing is sheer torture. It beggars the mind. It hobbles the spirit. It cramps the style.
Seriously, writing synopses is hard word. Paring down all that work, with all the well-planned detail, the clever nuances, and the deft sleight of hand, is nearly impossible. It actually makes my brain hurt. It’s exhausting and emotionally taxing and makes me hanker for a nana nap.
The good news–and the reason for this post–is I’ve found a brilliant shortcut. Now, stop–hold your horses. I can hear you writers scoffing and puffing and muttering how there is no shortcut, damn it. I beg to differ.
Today I came across a blog called Let the Words Flow. One of the bloggers posted a fantastic article that offers not only some handy how-tos, it offers a worksheet. If you answer the questions and fill in the worksheet with well-crafted sentences, more than half the work of compiling a synopsis is done.
I know, I know. It sounds too good to be true. The author actually goes so far as to suggest that we writers merely add some connecting words–meanwhile, back at the farm, under the cloak of darkness, et cetera–and voila! One synopsis at your service.
Before you knock it, you should try it. I did, and I liked it! It actually worked. Writing my synopsis took under 3 hours, and normally I’d be at eye-gouging stage after 6 hours, with only half the thing done.
Here’s the link. The creator’s name is Susan Dennard, and she has a new book coming out in July. I liked her worksheet so much, I adapted it and made a template for future reference.