synopsising today

I’m currently between projects. What this really means is that I should be going even more head-long into more revisions of my two complete YA novels, but the truth is, I hate revising. And I especially hate revising with no given direction. A good friend of mine read my most recent novel and replied with paragraphs of suggestions and responses for it, and I’ve been working off of that. But — if there’s one thing I know I’m no good at, it’s revising. I can go through my work for typos and word choice and sharper detail and conversation here and there over and over and over again but major edits / changes? Forget about it. It’s something I know I need to work on.

Another thing I am horrible at is writing a synopsis. In addition to a query letter, a lot of agents (and, eventually, editors — when I’m at that stage) ask for a brief novel synopsis. Now the problem is, my YA novel comes in just over 51,000 words (about average for a YA novel, which generally should be between 40,000 and 60,000 words, though authors like JK Rowling have pushed that envelope), which is 150+ pages in Word. Now tell me, how am I supposed to condense that into a 3-4 page (if that) summary? What do I leave out? What’s really important? How can I make it out to be as good as it is in full? What details aren’t really necessary at all? How in the heck am I supposed to write this?

My synopsis for my previous YA novel came easier, but I think that plot was more straightforward than this one. This one is — there are lots of little details and scenes that come together to create the atmosphere, the climax, and the conclusion. But I can’t summarize every scene else I would have a much too long synopsis. To put it more simply: I’m struggling.

I am currently outlining the novel, scene-by-scene, in the hopes that eventually I can boil the outline down into something resembling a synopsis. An example of what I was talking about above is this: I am halfway through the outline and writing about an important moment when I realized I didn’t introduce something earlier on that should have been said then in order to make it apparent and important later. Ugh. I know, right?

But this needs to be done. I send out query letters in stages. I’m currently at the stage where I need a synopsis accompanying my next batch of letters. That means, this synopsis needs to be done. It’s been “overdue” on my To-Do list for at least half a week. I keep putting it off and finding better things to do (like playing The Sims3, Farmville, or RPing, or, you know, blogging).

Today I’m going to get it done, at least a first draft, even if it kills me. Which, really, it might.

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