Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Shortening the Synopsis

I really hate synopses. The synopsis is supposed to be a summary of the entire novel, and that's fine, but I have a problem getting it short enough. I originally had a six-page synopsis for Ninth Wave, and then managed to crunch it down to five pages for a contest. Now I'm trying to take the five pages and edit it down to three or fewer. For me, that's a tough order. It's hard to decide which plot details to leave in and which to take out. "Hit the highlights," they tell me. I'm trying to aim for the inciting incident, crisis point and climax of the story, but I know I also need to leave in enough of the rest of the plotline that those things will make sense. In my ideal world, no writer would have to write his or her own synopsis. Someone else would summarize it instead. I did the next best thing; took the five-page version to the Moxie last Sunday and got them to point out what they thought were the "highlights". Val's amazing...via her suggestions, I was able to get it whittled down to just under four pages, but it still needs a little more trimming. So with this last editing run, the book got a touch longer and the synopsis got a touch shorter. We'll see how it goes.

I'm trying to decide whether to change the name of the book yet again. It started out as "Beyond the Pale," changed to "From the Ninth Wave" to reflect the storyline, and has at this point been shortened to "Ninth Wave." However, even though it ties heavily into the storyline, it may fall flat as an urban fantasy title becuase a lot of people won't know without reading the book just what the ninth wave means. So I'm toying with several other possible titles. At the moment, one is standing out over the others and may just end up being a better draw for readers, so I'll probably ask Bob about it before we start to submit the revised manuscript.

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