Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Query Question: what the deuce is a "brief synopsis"***

When an agent says they want a brief synopsis, what does that mean? I know you can't read the minds of other agents but would you assumethat means one page? two pages? six pages?

We really do love to torment you writers with our vagaries don't we?

My best guess, based solely on my ability to read minds of course, is that brief means one page. 250 words. 1" margins. 12 point font. In other words, don't cram 500 words on to one page with formatting shenanigans.

Brief means you're going to answer these questions:

Who is the main character?
What does he want?
Who/what is preventing him from getting it?
How does he prevail?
What does he lose/gain by prevailing?

Notice I've left out secondary characters, themes, sub-plots, backstory, prolouges, world building, and all the other things that will make your novel gorgeous, brilliant and enticing. A synopsis' job isn't to show any of those things. A synopsis is written to show me that you've got a complete plot, and that (in the words of the inimitable Lucienne Diver) "aliens don't arrive in Chapter 14."

If you've got more room (ie two pages) you can add sub plots and a secondary character.

If you can't write a 250 word synopsis to your book, you haven't learned how to revise well enough. Synopsis writing is largely a matter of spewing everything on to the page, and then taking things out, and then making every word count.

Example: Harry Potter is a 13 year old boy whose parents were killed and now lives with his wretched cousins. (19 words)

Revised: Harry Potter is a 13 year old boy whose parents were killed and now lives with his wretched cousins. (16 words)

we don't need to know his age in the synopsis. "Boy" conveys that he's not an adult.

Revised 2: After his parents were killed, Harry Potter is  boy whose parents were killed and now lives with his wretched cousins. (13 words)

Moving things around in a sentence can help. Don't worry about style here, the novel is where your style shows.

Revised 3: His parents were killed so Harry Potter was sent to live with his wretched cousins. (15 words)

Sometimes you go in the wrong direction. This is when you really get down to "do you need this"

Revised 4: His parents were killed so Harry Potter was sent to live with his wretched cousins. (10 words)

Remember, no backstory, no world building? This is where you revise that out of the synopsis.

Revised 5:  Harry Potter lives with his wretched cousins. (7 words)

19 words down to 7 but it took five revisions, one of which was going backward in word count.

Now, this example is probably not how I'd start with a synopsis of any of the Harry Potter books, I used it because most of us are familiar with the story.

Revising is a learned art.  If you hate it, you're not doing it right. Revising is what makes your writing shine. Revising is what makes your voice clear. Revising is what makes you a writer.  

**please notice I managed to go the entire blog post without mentioning underpants, which is one of my all time favorite words (Yes I am eight years old). 


Julie said...

1. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Did I say thank you? Thank you.

2. If they want it separate from the query (which already carries the 250 word synopsis), then what, esp if you've sent them the first 'x' pages of the MS (manuscript)?

3. How much depth goes into the ten-rwenty page 'synopsis' that some Agents want, and if they don't clarify length, how in the world can you discern the 250-word synopsis Agents from the ten-to-twenty pagers?

Merci, Danke, Salut!

Humble Fish Who Still Has Insomnia
(But Will Hit 50K Today)

Julie said...

("twenty" in #3 above, not "rwenty". Stupid iPhone. Stupid OCD.)

Kitty said...

I've read too many books which need more 'revision.' I know this because I find myself more involved with revising it as I read instead of concentrating on the underpants.

Julie said...

And do you or don't you include the ending?

InkStainedWench said...

Yes, I share Julia's concern: My query letter contains about 200 words of What the Story Is About. I can't imagine a separate 250 synopsis will accomplish much.

And yes, you should include the ending. Which I suppose accounts for the extra 50 words.

french sojourn said...

My new w.i.p. would be perfect, as it takes place during the Boxer Rebellion.


Susan Bonifant said...

I feel slow saying this, but I am not getting how a 250 word "brief synopsis" is different from the query.

And yes to the "art" of revising. The feeling of expressing something perfectly with fewer and fewer words is just yummy.

Donnaeve said...

This is why I love the flash fiction contests. Talk about word economy.

Funny about underpants. In my own personal repertoire of words I love/hate, the word panties brings me to a degree of loathing I can't quite understand. It just sounds so, so, namby-pamby. (How's that for a description?)

I've always said underwear, which somehow doesn't have the friendly hilarity of underpants, and sounds more utilitarian. I imagine the use of underpants in this book is why the title works so well. I can't see it as "THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN UNDERWEAR."

Kitty said...

Don't forget poor Tweek being tormented by the underpants gnomes.

Colin Smith said...

I too did a double-take at 250 words. Then I recalled that's about one page. I've been asked for a one page synopsis. It's really really really really bare-bones. But as Janet said, the purpose is to show that the basic elements of story-telling are present. Not that I've suddenly grown attached to synopses. They're still Beelzebub's underpants. :)

Matt Adams said...

@Julia -- My limited understanding of the world says that synopsi include the ending and the major plot points in between. The query doesn't, but the synopsis does.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

My no-expertise understanding of the difference between synopsis and query:

The query is to entice the agent to request your manuscript.

The synopsis is to let the agent know that you know how to structure and tell a story.

And both are a test in how succinct yet meaningful you can be in the telling.

Anonymous said...

I second Matt -

Query = entice reader into wanting to read books. This generally does not include "give away the ending."

Synopsis = prove you're book has bones. A massive infodump that shows you don't rely on the main character accidentally solving the problem. It probably won't be that charming or entertaining or have much voice. But its an answer to the question "Just tell me what it's about start to finish or I won't read it."

And then I had a rant but blogger had an error and didn't post it. I was happy it didn't. The jist (look Janet! I edited something!) was I did a lot of things before writing.

I tried architecture in high school but hated being confined to real walls when creating. Then programming in college but hated being confined to a computer screen (why can't I program a monster that jumps out of the screen and eats people?), and then music was my job, where I rearranged 14 notes in different orders and made money on it. But music requires notes. And there are only 14 of them. It felt limited.

Now I'm a writer. I create and destroy worlds.

LynnRodz said...

I think we're too concerned with what agents are asking for, when bottom line they want to know if you have a good story.

That was the problem with my query. I was adamant in getting it to be one page, one page, one page, I wrote a one page query using 145 words to tell my story. What did I end up with? A query that was boring! (BJ and Julie: thank you for your great suggestions! Janet: you can toss my query for QS away if you want.) Besides, I've seen many examples of queries that found an agent and they went on far longer than one page!

As for a synopsis, I had no trouble writing one at all. It took me one day. I wrote it two months ago and I just finished reading it again and there's nothing I would change.

If it can help someone, I followed Melissa Cutler's synopsis for The Mistletoe Effect. You can find it here. It's more like 3 pages, but it gives you a good idea of what one should look like. And I'm no longer going to be concerned with one page, two pages, or three pages.

LynnRodz said...

Am I the queen of exclamation points today?

Anonymous said...

I know revising should become something we embrace, but right now, I despise it.

I've made some revisions based on agent suggestions recently, and it helps the flow, but there are other places where I was slicing away for the sake of word count the story is so spare it's ugly. Yes, aficionados of lean writing will love it, but sometimes you want to just linger in the beautiful, like the opening to the Patrick Rothfuss books.

It's like comparing Twiggy and Sophia Loren. They're both beautiful but in much different ways.

S.D.King said...

Donnaeve - ditto on the word panties. It makes my skin crawl.

I find that some agencies ask for a cover letter and brief synopsis. I can't figure out if that means query plus synopsis or what possible combination. If I send two pages, someone will be mad and tweet out that I don't know how to follow directions.

I was recently mildly scolded by an agent for not including pages, but I did! I am really working on that "duck's back" thing.

Dena Pawling said...

I wrote out everything that happens in my manuscript, chapter by chapter, and then deleted words until I was left with only the major plot points and enough flavor to give the emotion of the story. My finished synopsis is about 825 words, which is 2-1/2 pages double spaced.

Here's an example of a shorter synopsis, from a story we all should know, which I just dashed off so I'm sure it can be improved. Total word count 250 [without the qualifiers].

Long ago, Cinderella lives with her parents, who love her. Her mother dies, and her father marries a jealous lady with two beastly daughters. [set-up]

When her father then dies, Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters treat her as a slave. She's moved to an attic bedroom and her only friends are the mice. Her home falls into disrepair because the family has little money left. She dreams one day someone will love her again. [inciting incident and goal]

Meanwhile, the king wants his son to be married so he can see his grandchildren before he dies. The king decrees a royal ball, with every eligible maiden in the kingdom required to attend. [first plot point]

Everyone is excited. Cinderella, with the help of her mouse friends, re-makes her mother's old gown into a beautiful dress. But her stepmother and stepsisters destroy the dress so she won't be able to attend. Cinderella runs out into the garden and weeps. [mid-point]

Her fairy godmother appears and makes her a magical dress, complete with glass slippers and a coach. Cinderella attends the royal ball and dances with the prince. They fall in love. At the stroke of midnight, she dashes away before the spell is broken. One glass slipper falls off, but she arrives home with the other one, which she hides. [third plot point]

The heartbroken prince travels the kingdom to determine which lady fits the glass slipper. Her stepmother locks Cinderella in the attic [black moment] but her mouse friends help her escape [climax]. The glass slipper fits her, and Cinderella and the prince live happily ever after. [resolution]

Becky Mushko said...

I assume that your first example was actually a revision of this: "This book is a fiction novel about a 13-year-old adolescent boy named Harry Potter whose parents were both tragically killed so he is forced by cruel fate to lived with his aunt and uncle and wretched cousins until something totally unexpected happens." Thank you for not including that example.

Anonymous said...

Completely off topic. So, being the happy puppy someone just let out of the box, I'm glancing through twitter yesterday and notice an agent I like has posted a picture of his rooftop view in NY where he had breakfast. It really is quite lovely for a city view.

Being nosy, I asked him what he had to accompany that view.

"What or who?"

Well, the whole conversation devolves childishly from there, though there was no mention of underpants. I'd like to get him at a conference and ply him with drinks. He might be quite entertaining to watch.

The whole stupid conversation makes me want to query him even though he doesn't rep what I write. Plus, he apparently hangs with the shark according to his feed.

Why yes, I am always professional in my approach to agents. *rolls eyes*

MNye said...

Success - for me, would be finding a place to put a comma in my 32 word sentence. Expressive I am.

Laird said...

Prevail? Oops.

LynnRodz said...

I just noticed the reference to underpants and being 8 years old. LOL! I was wondering why Donna brought up underpants. And speaking of underpants/panties/underwear (sorry Donna and S.D.) it reminds me of a friend of mine. Wil is a true polyglot, but sometimes there can be hazards in knowing so many different languages. (He's fluent in 5 and does quite well in 2 more.)

Anyway, I've known Wil for decades. Back in the late 70s he came to visit me here in Paris from Germany. It was the disco era and so on Saturday night we decided to go to the disco. The dance floor was small and we were dancing away. As the night progressed it was getting really crowded and hot.

I was wearing a long thin-material skirt so I had a slip on underneath. Now slip in English is called a jupon in French, but slip in French means the 'P' word or underwear.

I shouted in Wil's ear over the loud music,
"Wil, it's so hot, I'm going to take off my slip."
He looked at me, "Really, do you think that'll make a difference?"
"Oh yeah, big time. I'll be right back."
I came back to the dance floor a few minutes later.
"Did that help?" Wil asked.
"It makes a world of difference."

It wasn't until later in the evening when we realized I was talking about a slip and Wil was thinking about the French word.

Donnaeve said...

LynnRodz - LOL! Did you notice Wil dancing any closer after the fact?

Julie said...

Lynn - there's a tale circulating FB right now about a little kid who sent a get well card to his teacher with the following admonition: "Whenever I don't feel well, Mommy makes me poop. You should go poop, and then you'll feel better." And there's a helpful crayon picture and curvy arrow and everything.

Remember last week when I said that occasionally the thread feels like a road trip in a wood-paneled station wagon and we're all the kids in the back seat, and sometimes we take side trips, and sometimes mom threatens to pull the car over ("Don't MAKE Me pull this CAR over!")?

I feel that way right now.

And since we're heading that way anyhow, Colin, disn't you have underpants (I hate "panties" too) on your head last week?

DIDN'T, iPhone, DIDN'T!

Stupid I-can't-go-back-that-far iPhone.

Anonymous said...


That was hilarious. Good job.

I don't mind panties. It's better than bloomers, which I am thinking about searching for simply for nostalgia sake.

Jenz said...

This, from Miss Congeniality

Eileen said...

Only writers and 8-year-old boys can spend this much time talking about underwear. This is why I love writing. Word choice matters. There are dozens of ways to describe underwear, and each word, for me at least, evokes a different image. For example, panties are stolen by fraternity boys, bloomers are hung on clotheslines, drawers are worn by my grandmother, skivvies are gray from too many washings, boxers are quite civilized, and tightie whities will forever remind me of Breaking Bad.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Great discussion.

Nice link Dena.

I have a question. I see that Harry Potter lives with his wretched cousins. Not lived.

Does the synopsis tense need to be parallel with the m/s tense?

I love revising.

Speaking of intimate clothing. When I saw Frank Zappa in D.C. long ago. Girls ran to stage to give him their p____. By the end of the concert the stage was strewn with lacy things. I won't tell you what he did with them or what he sang about them.

Christina Seine said...

Jenz, I was just going to say that. That is such a popular joke in our (obviously refined) house that at least once a week you'll hear a "those are Satan's lima beans" or something along those lines.

As to the art of revision: once, years ago, I made a big ole wedding cake for some friends in our church. Their wedding colors were blue and purple. Did I mention that the wedding was in August? I should, because it was nearly 80 degrees outside, which is rare in this part of Alaska even on the doggest days of summer. Well, this being my first wedding cake, I went all out. There were roses of icing, leaves of icing, swirlies, whifferdeals, and whatnots on each of the four layers. It was nearly Seuss-ian in its complexity. If Cindy Lou Who got married, she would love this cake.

And then, I put it in the car. And the car was hot. Mighty hot, even with air conditioning. Suffice it to say, the cake that arrived at the church 20 minutes later was not the cake I had created. It was like Satan's wedding cake. Remember that movie Beetlejuice? That, exactly.

I revised the hell out of that cake. Off went the wilted icing roses, off went the melted wifferdeals. Off went the swirlies and the drooping polka dots. Because they’d melted, I couldn’t remove them cleanly, so they smeared the white icing underneath, and when all was said and done it created a rather tie-dyed effect, which was actually okay because the couple were a bunch of old hippies anyway. I scrounged a couple extra blue and purple flowers from the bouquets and stuck ‘em on top. The end result was simple but pretty, and much better suited to the bride and groom than what I’d started out with.

Oh, and also, little fluffy white dogs will eat melty icing if you leave it on a side table in a bowl. And then the fur around their mouth and their paws and the tip of their tongue will be purple. Which is pretty damn funny, especially after a couple glasses of champagne.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding insensitive, which we all know I'm not. Yes, I know about that commandment, Lord.

Back when Brandon, oldest son, was rodeoing every weekend, there was a solid group hitting the same circuit. So, they all knew each other pretty well. Cowboys are notorious pranksters at best, but amongst friends, well, it soars to new heights.

Remember that Bachelor episode with the cowboy? Yeah, he was one of this particular crew.

So, anyway, Brandon is a rough stock rider, which means he rode bareback broncs, saddle broncs, and bulls. Another saddle bronc rider had been swapping out pranks, with Brandon, but they were fairly tame seeing as John was rather shy.

At one rodeo, John hid some panties in Brandon's rigging bag for him to find. Brandon is pulling his equipment out and here comes these bright bikini panties flying out also.

The panty wars are on.

Panties started appearing in odd places.

One day Brandon helped John get on his saddle bronc and unknown to John, tied some very, very large panties underneath the back of the saddle. When the horse bucked, the saddle raised and the panties would come loose in theory, like two colorful banners.

Brandon, being the friendly sort, was on good terms with the announcer and told him to say that John had a new girlfriend who tied her panties to his saddle for good luck like the knights of yore with their lady love's scarves.

John is busy riding his bronc. The panties deploy as intended, waving gaily behind the saddle and there isn't a whole lot John can do, but ride his bronc and plot physical harm to Brandon.

Thus ended the panty wars.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Two words explain my life, GRANNY PANTS. How about nana pants, or old lady undies. Ugh, just the thought...

Julie said...


Isn't it odd how things come up at just the right time?

In this-here-novel that I'm currently experiencing more than writing, I happen to be in a braie conundrum. My male MC is standing in front of his suitcase pondering removing his tweeds. I logged off the blog this morning to work on the novel and got to said MC staring at the suitcase and then - lo and behold - I don't know what kind of skivvies to stick him in.

So I finished my Louise Penny novel ("Bury Your Dead," if you're wondering, and I still have no idea what to do when I get to the end, I'm reading them faster and faster... it's a geometric progression...) instead.

And then I blogged back in and wrote the "Station Wagon" vomment of equal Use To You.

And came to the library to work some more on the chapter.

And decided to scrap the question and have him go into the shower and emerge with a towel wrapped around himself, simply because I can't picture what kind of Underoos my Macho-Macho-Man would want hugging his personal parts. (BTW, search "Crocheted Men's Underwear" on Amazon. Yes, I'm serious. Or "Crocheted Men's Bathing Suits". But not at work, and not in front of children.)

So this whole underwear thing is strangely pertinent to me as An Emerging Author.

That is all.

Anonymous said...


Boxer briefs. Preferably ones with something unusual, like the

Captain America shield on them.

Or maybe Snoopy and the Great Pumpkin

Kitty said...

Pee Wee Herman does upskirt

Anonymous said...

But... what if aliens do arrive in Chapter 14? Oh right. I write science fiction. And the aliens are known about from the start.

Angie: Synopses are usually present tense.

Christine... *I* would eat melty icing if you leave it on a side table in a bowl... And a purple-mouthed fluffy white dog makes me want to... D'awwwwww!

I have seen agents and editors ask for a 'brief 3-page synopsis'. I was under the impression that a synopsis is supposed to be single-spaced. Or maybe that's just some agents.

But I've also read, if an agent or editor isn't specific when they ask for a 'brief synopsis', they'll read what they get. But they probably won't get a 10-page or longer synopsis. They hope.

I've read so many sites that belabour such things as format (point form vs paragraph form, for example), that it really comes down to: If the agent (or editor) doesn't say specifically what they want in a synopsis, then you give the information that Janet said to give in the best way you can and leave it at that.

Something else I've heard from agents about synopses? Agents say they only want - as Janet said - to make sure there's a full, logical plot. They're not going to reject your novel because of the synopsis. If they read the synopsis, then reject your novel, it's because they don't think your plot works.

The best thing about writing a synopsis is what *you* can learn from it. Because if you're trying to show that your plot works, you're more likely to see where it *doesn't* work, and you'll be able to fix it before any agent or editor finds the problem.

I'm sorry. I have no underpants stories. Other than my nephew was a reluctant reader who voraciously read Captain Underpants. While Captain Underpants isn't actually a novel (more a comic or graphic novel) this was a huge improvement. He's 18 now, and has grown into a thoughtful, even philosophical reader.

Got pizzas! And the pizzas actually looked like pizzas!

Then OpenID hated me again, so had to try sushi. Only one of the sushi looked like sushi. And I feel another bout of the pun game coming on... If you knew sushi, like I knew sushi, you wouldn't be able to do this ReCaptcha, either.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Christina, Julie, and Julia--I am roaring with laughter. Thank you for the wonderful lunch break!! did I press recaptcha's verify through hearing? And I'm hearing impaired!! ratsratsrats

Kate Larkindale said...

I hate the word panties too… It just sounds naff. I prefer 'knickers'. There's something almost wicked about the word.

Craig F said...

Thank you my Queen. This changes a lot for me.

I was hoping to get a brief synopsis down to a page and then fluff it up a bit to a page and a half. Now I am going to re-write my original outline and bring it up to date. That seems like all I really need.

The query shows your writing chops so the synopsis doesn't have to.

Is a milk shake really ice cream?

Julie said...

@Lisa - Captcha is making you eat rats? Ergh! :P

I don't know how you all feel about psychological markers when writing, but I just passed 50K words. To me, that's when things get "Real." So I'm a happy camper, now.

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.

Another underwear story.

My daughter had her first big dance this year. It was a Valentine's Day dance. I decided to Do It Right. (Watch out, kid. Too bad for you. Should've signed on for some other parent.)

Got her the dress, the tights, the leggings - now it's time for the Victoria's Secret Bra! Very special Mom and Me time.

Only, Mommy doesn't really DO Victoria's Secret very often, so Mommy actually went in there and found out what Victoria's Secret actually WAS.

The store was packed (PACKED) with guys of all ages - like 14 to 80 - picking out lacy bits and bites and bytes and megabites for their girlfriends / women friends / wives. And I went in, tra la la, naive as anything, probably more naive than my daughter, and ordered up a Special Black Bra For My Daughter's First Special Dance. With fitting, please.

We got a wonderful girl to help us - very pleasant, kind, compassionate - treated us with kid gloves.

We stood in a line that could've been at Disney World given as long as it was. It's a Screwed Up World, After All. (You're Welcome). Then, we got to the front of the line, and the Nice Helper Girl rang up our purchase and presented me with a dollar figure. I won't tell you what the dollar figure *WAS,* but I'll tell you this.

I generally don't swear.


But that day, at the top of my lungs, in a room packed full of guys and with my nubile daughter by my side, I shouted, "HOLY HELL, ARE YOU SERIOUS?!"

I couldn't help it, it just flew out of my mouth like some demented Raven.


And then I spent the next half hour saying, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. But... really? I'm sorry. Really, I'm so sorry. But did you say... $$$?"

Meanwhile, my daughter tried very hard to impersonate a catatonic corpse by my side. After jumping so high that she clawed the ceiling. Her and everyone else within a five-mile radius.

We got out of there with a Less Special Black Bra, and my daughter saying over and over again, "You scared them to death, Mommy. Oh my God. I can't believe you just swore at someone. Oh, my God, Mommy."

We don't say "OMG" in my house.

But that day, I made it fair game because I swore at the Victoria's Secret Angels.


Angel Fish

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

BJ, Thank you for the answer. Great advice also as to why synopsis writing is important.

Anonymous said...

When I was eight, the only mention of underpants was in that old taunting rhyme:

"I see London, I see France,
I see Jessie's underpants!"

Jessie was a fearless golden-haired tomboy who liked to hang upside-down from the highest bar of the jungle gym during recess. Her poor deluded mother apparently thought forcing her sweet precious girl to wear hair ribbons and a dress every day would stop this behavior. Unsurprisingly, Jessie went on to accomplish great things.

DeadSpiderEye said...

This was a real insight, 250 words and -no- world building, that's gonna cause some sporadic hair tugging. Meanwhile, some cultural drift was evident in the comments again, so I had to look up Victoria's Secret -- that was an hour and half ago.

Anonymous said...


My geriatric lady sleuths spend a lot of time perusing a male lingerie catalog named Duds For Studs at the senior center. Research.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Maybe agents ask for a synopsis just to see if you'll do what they want you to do. Maybe it's a control thing. Maybe it's a, "I like to see you squirm thing". Then again, maybe it's not. And then again maybe it is.

I am scurrying to my wheel now. My little squeaky wheel makes me feel much better.

I got house numbers. Whose house numbers are they anyway. If I saw my house numbers I'd freak.

Craig F said...

I am sorry my Queen but I feel the need to lodge a complaint.

It is not that the information you so freely give us is not timely, valuable and important. It is that it is timely, valuable and important. It is like you are reading the thing I call a mind.

If I had known all of this some time ago I would not have made the promise. I would not have let people piss me off so much that getting published became personal.

Almost every day you give another jewel that I have to do something about. It is beginning to look like I will never get around to querying because there is always something else. Like a 250 word synopsis.

You really need to write that book. It could be the first of the new "SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE" series. "SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE: SO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER"

You can explain how the money works and all of the peripheral things that it takes before even contemplating making a venture into publication. How you might have a better chance of winning the lottery and things of that sort. I'd buy a couple.

Donnaeve said...

Oooo, ooo me, me!

I have an UNDERPANTS STORY!!! (I am practically screaming that in case ya'll didn't catch it.)

On my lovely wedding day, what did my dear husband pull from under my wedding dress rather than the "virgin" white garter I'd yanked up my thigh only an hour or so before?


Oh yes. He did.

The "wascally wabbit" tucked it up his sleeve and when he spent oh, like WAY too much time up under there, as if hunting around - which was QUITE embarrassing to me with my Dad and Mom STANDING RIGHT THERE, he yanks those out, and says, "What? What are these????"

I actually screamed and it was all captured by our wedding photographer.

Not exactly an underpants story...but still..., worthy of sharing, no?

Anonymous said...


Too funny. He's a keeper.

Poor Janet. She gives us this great information about writing a synopsis and puts a post script in tiny print at the very bottom about underpants and what do the woodland creatures run with? Yeah.

DeadSpiderEye said...


I like that, how do you work that into a plot, something like:-

'Notice the footprints in the flower bed, the impression of of the left toe digging in? That can only mean he's adjusting his crevice creep. What we have here ladies is man wearing thong, a leather one, two sized too small judging by the tight spacing of the footprints'.

LynnRodz said...

Donna, no, Wil and I have always been best of friends, nothing more. Lol. I love your wedding pants story.

Julia, yeah, I hesitated before commenting with my story, but then Janet wrote she was 8 years old. I thought, she won't mind she's too busy reading comic books. Loved the story about Victoria's Secret.

Julie, because so many people are against panties, I was going to write knickers, but then I opted for underwear. I should've thought of bloomers. Poor John, but that rodeo must've been hilarious. You're right, though, we do go way off topic at times.

Kdjames, it goes to prove, sometimes showing your underpants can lead to great things. Who knew?

Karen McCoy said...

Sorry all--late to this party. More sinus surgery complications this morning (blurg) but things seem to be better this afternoon.

I was put head-first into the shallow word pool with my SCBWI WIP contest submission--painfully squeezing the full scope of my novel into 250 words, per the contest requirements.

After I did it, I was proud because it was something I didn't think I could accomplish.

We must get rid of our doubt monsters. Only then will we accomplish the seemingly impossible.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

My grandmother used to hang her gotchees (sp) on the clothesline out back, along with my pop's longjohns. There's something really personal about letting your undies hang out for all the world to see.

Donna, love your husband's sense of humor. You should rent him out.

Julie said...

Karen - Silly Creatures Wear Boxer-briefs Inappropriately?

And as for leopard-print thongs, thanks so much, now I need brain bleaching for the indelible image I have of my overprotective male MC standing in tan twill, bent over his suitcase, considering, "Hm. Will I scare her off if I just get undressed? Perhaps I should put on my exercise shorts. Nah, this leopard-print thong will do the job nicely."

What's a Catholic radiologist to do?

The 50 Shades of Gray as read by Gilbert Gottfried video on Youtube was less jarring.


Anonymous said...

Good for you, Karen. And great lesson there. You're absolutely right.

And if anyone is wondering if Janet will mind all the underpants talk, she did practically tell us to do it.

"**please notice I managed to go the entire blog post without mentioning underpants, which is one of my all time favorite words (Yes I am eight years old)."

It was practically a dare.

Anonymous said...


Martha and Tilley just enjoy looking at the male models and ordering the risque underwear and costumes for their husbands. One of their escapades leads to a murder of another senior.

Senior delinquents, what you gonna do with them?

Christina Seine said...

What jolly comments today! All I have to say is that I hope Janet uses the word "underpants" in her next flash fiction contest. ;D

Julie said...

Yeah, where DID that underpants thing come from? I thought I was random.

Not that I'm saying she's random. I want to be quite clear, here.

Not risking exile over this.

Just asking.

Julie said...

Do Woodland Creatures wear underpants? Do they look at risque catalogues? Now I have this slightly disturbing image of Mrs. Tiggle Winkle and Mrs. Tittlemouse sitting around in rocking chairs squinting and periodically exclaiming, "Ooh!" and "Look at that!"

You know they do.

Just look at their names.

In fact, I bet Beatrix Potter had all kinds of off-color subplots in mind when she wrote those stories. 50 Shades of Bad Rabbits and Squirrel Nutkins.

And don't even get me started on Mr. Toad and what happened at Toad Hall.

(Colin and Karen, aren't you proud of my obviously apparent mastery of italics? I'm going to work on BOLD next!)

Julie said...

Ah! Sixteen hours later, but I get it! Brief synopsis = Underpants synopsis.

Well, at least you know wherethis Woodland Badger shops for her lingerie where all Creatures of Discriminating Taste shop: Teasing, Tantalizing, and Taming the Shrew, found in high-end forests everywhere and online at

Woodland AngelFish

Anonymous said...

Huh. We call 'em pants and underpants here in Aus. Or knickers. Panties always sounds rather naughty, like g-strings and lacy stuff and demi-briefs.

As for synopses, I always find them pretty easy to write. Kind of enjoyable, in fact. It's like a challenge. I've got a limit on words, and a set of ideas I have to present within this framework. It's like a literary jigsaw puzzle. And I LOVE jigsaw puzzles.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the Harry Potter example. It was very helpful. Hm...looking at it again, I think this could have gone one step further. It seems it can be just 6 words! "Harry lives with his wretched cousins." After all, does his last name really matter? His first name conveys that he's a male and "boy," as you said, that he is not an adult! SIX words! ;)

Gingermollymarilyn said...

Oh, late to the panty again, whoops, I mean party. Poor 'panties', someone has to be on 'panties'' side, so I guess it will be me! I do like the word, feminine and delicate. Now, take the word 'Moncton.' I do not like that word, not at all. The sound of it is hard and ugly. I know nothing of the place. In my schoolyard, we called underwear 'ginch.'

@ Eileen - lovely, articulate sentiments.

@ 2N's - Most of the time, I get house numbers. One time they were pretty close to an actual past residence of mine! Who lives in those houses, anyone special we should know about?

And about us all having 8-year-old minds, I love it! I've always said I'd rather be youthful, happy and crazy than old, bitter and sane.