Synopsis Hell

J.K. Coi

The last few days have been hectic for me. I had to finish some edits for my holiday release, and then I was trying to write a partial and synopsis for something else.

Synopsis. The dreaded Synopsis.

Not fun.

I can’t even function now. I don’t know what it is about writing a five page summary of a book that kills me, when I know exactly what happens and what needs to be said. But it makes me so miserable every time!

My only recourse is to hopefully save some of my fellow writers some time and heartache by sharing these two resources that were recommended by members of my RWA Chapter and which have really helped me:

This query letter and synopsis package is available from Lisa Gardner for free, and I thought it was fantastic. Halfway down this page on her website, it’s called Conquering the Dreaded Synopsis: A Series of Ten Lectures (She also has a ton of other great resources available for writers and you should take a look around.)

There’s also this article by Joan Leacott, called The Unrejected Synopsis. It focuses on writing synopses for contest entries, but it’s wonderful reading and has some really good tips for synopsis writing in general.

I shall now go and lick my wounds.

J.K. Coi



  1. Jeannie Ruesch
    Jeannie RueschReply
    July 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Why is it that writing the synopsis and the query letter seem harder than writing the novel? Ugh… I feel you.

    I still remember something I read somewhere along the way (can’t remember), but it made the synopsis purpose a lot more clear. It said that the novel is so they can see how you write, the synopsis is so they can see how you PLOT. For some reason, it just helped things to click for me.

    I love Lisa Gardner, so I’ll read anything she writes! LOL

  2. Maggie Van Well
    July 27, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I just gave a lecture on writing a query (as part of a submission package workshop) and figured I’d have an audience of folks staring into space or doodling in their notebooks. Instead, they seemed very focused and asked a lot of questions. Queries can be very imposing. I think we’re so terrified if we do them wrong, we’ll never get past the query stage.

    As for synopsis, thanks for Lisa Garner site! I can always use more info on that. Out of all my reading on writing a synopsis, an article by Gian Ardito really stood out for me and I haven’t had trouble writing a synopsis since :)

    Thanks for posting prayers for a fast recovery!

  3. Lavada Dee
    July 28, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    The first few time I wrote the query packages with the synopsis I thought I was the only that struggled. Now though I still hate to write them I know I’m not along and that somehow makes them easier.

    Thanks for the resources. I’ll take a look, I’m still watching for better ways to write these pesky necessities.

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