Thursday, October 15, 2020

Clever has its place, but it's not in the synopsis

Can I write my synopsis in my characters voice? My book is written by my main character and one of the goals is to sway readers to believe the character is the real life author.... so would this be a good move or would it be harmful? Thank you,


This is one of those ideas that come to authors in the middle of the night.
Thinking "oh wow, this is clever" or "oh double wow this is really fresh and new!!"
and the next thing you know

Let's step back and think about what a synopsis needs to do to be effective:

1. Describe the plot and the major twists or unexpected turns.

2. Include the ending

3. Introduce and give a quick idea of the main characters.

All this in narrative form.

A synopsis is very useful for making sure you've got enough plot to carry the novel, and that the plot unfolds in a way that does not confuse me.

While you may want your reader to be persuaded your character wrote the book, that's for the NOVEL not the synopsis. The synopsis isn't supposed to be tricky or clever. That doesn't mean it has to be boring.

But I know who wrote your book. You did.

Don't waste time or my short attention span trying to be clever.

The place for clever is in the plot twists.


Mister Furkles said...

This is the kind of response that is very helpful to us great unpublished hamsters. We would otherwise not know how to write queries and synopses.

Okay, back to the wheel.

Adele said...

I can see this. I spent a few years working around actors. Sometimes beginner actors will think it is oh-so-awfully-cool to practice acting by taking on a character in their real life. They will pretend they're drunk or that they are in a motorcycle gang, when they're actually just a student hanging around the holding tank with the other extras. I always fell for it, and when I twigged to the deception I'd feel foolish and stupid, and then irritated with them for making me feel that way.

Experienced, rhino-skinned agents probably just go straight to irritated. The problem is not that the writer has a character who is not what they seem. The problem is that the writer is pretending to be the character in a situation where the agent expects straightforward communication.

JEN Garrett said...

Dear Reader,
Although Janet is right and you should NEVER send a synopsis in the characters voice, it might be good PRACTICE to write it anyway. I say this because we hamsters finish the book, type the end, and then try to switch over to our author voice, stare at the blank screen again listening to our characters scream at us, "will you just write the synopsis already?"

Turn to your character and say, "Fine! You write it!"

After it's written in your character's voice, print it up and highlight the important bits (the plot, characters, ending, etc.)

Then tell your character to shut up and write the synopsis again in your own voice. That's the one you send.

Craig F said...

Ladies and Gentlemen of the clash of 2020, you are not as clever as you imagine. Every odd thought you have has already been thought by a bunch of other writers.

It is all trite and somewhat boring, so find a way to put the words together with verve and passion, make them your own.

MA Hudson said...

I can see why someone would be tempted to do this, especially if their book is written in first person POV. It must be quite a shock to go from writing the MS, deep in the character's voice, and then have to write the query and synopsis in 'normal' voice. It probably sounds unbearably boring to them, but it's not boring to the intended recipient - it's hopefully just a clear outline, carefully balanced between no-frills and a smattering of author voice.

Ann Bennett said...

This hit my funny bone. I don't guess narrating the voice of a serial killer is always best. You might get someone visiting your home to learn more about you. All the irresponsible narrators, incredible confusion could reign.

But in all humility, this is something similar to some bright ideas I've had in life.

AJ Blythe said...

It's scary in the trenches and there are a lot of whispers about things you should do to sand out, so I can understand why a writer might think this is a good idea. But following rules and not confusing the agent are some of the things that show we are professional. Might be boring, but writing ye olde synopsis is what we have to do.