Absence makes the heart go ponder

It has been an age since I last blogged.

Miss me?
Didn’t think so.

I am in the throes of scrawling a synopsis / Kindle blurb for the novel I have finished writing and thought I would have a quick flurry on my blog so I could write a sentence without analysing it twenty times just to delete it and start again.

So, any writers out there? Any tips for putting together a good synopsis?

So far, my efforts are cliche free, but I can definitely feel a panicked
‘It was a dark and stormy night’ coming on.

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12 thoughts on “Absence makes the heart go ponder

  1. Rareity 11/01/2015 / 8:22 pm

    Ok hmmm…. What is the conflict, and the resolution base your synopses off of that…

    • Curlydaz 12/01/2015 / 10:06 pm

      I’ve centred my synopsis on that, but it’s how to sell the story without making it sound too generic to its genre. It’s science fiction but very human too. Struggling with it. Thanks for your comment though. Have you written one? Any good examples I could use? Thanks again. D

      • Rareity 12/01/2015 / 10:09 pm

        Hmmm…. That is a hard one… What type of Syfi you talking about? Robots, Supernatural status, or so forth. With a human race??

      • Curlydaz 13/01/2015 / 7:57 pm

        Thanks for replying Rareity. It’s a human sci fi, dystopian thriller noir (it’s always complicated isn’t it?

  2. kagmi 16/01/2015 / 12:52 am

    If there is one thing I have found, it’s that it’s possible to put together four completely different synopses for the same book by focusing on different aspects of the thing.

    So I would ask, “what does this particular reader or published need to know about the book?”

    Are they going to be most interested in the dynamic of an interpersonal relationship that’s central to the story? Are they going to be most interested in the technology your world has that ours doesn’t? Are they going to be most interested the events of a story, like an adventure or intrigue?

    Lots of different things to think about. As a sci-fi reader, I personally avoid anything that says “dystopian” or “human sci-fi,” because damn near everyone seems to be doing those two things now – which doesn’t mean that a story that has those things can’t end up being very, very good (see the book I just reviewed on my blog!) but if those two generic labels are the first thing I see, I’m likely to put it down (like I did with the first book in the series, as mentioned in my review).

    I would be most interested to hear of the social and relational aspects – is someone gathering a community, or is an unlikely relationship triumphing over all odds? Does the new technology have truly revolutionary social implications? Will the action keep you on the edge of your seat? Is the plot twist truly mind-boggling to our preconceptions?

    Juts throwing ideas out there. Clearly I don’t know very much about your story, nor do I work for a publisher. But I read sci-fi like nobody’s business. 🙂

    • kagmi 16/01/2015 / 12:53 am

      P.S. – It occurs to me that “does the SUSPENSE keep you on the edge of your seat” would be a better phrasing for one of the lines in my earlier comment. “Action” is another label that possibly gets over-used.

    • Curlydaz 16/01/2015 / 9:19 am

      Thanks for your reply. Great advice re emphasis. Tricky one to answer though, my story (like most sci-fi) is multi faceted and I have endeavoured to get it to work on four levels – edge of your seat action, personal / human relationships, engaging plot and fallible hero.
      Picking what to emphasise is difficult as that can alienate other readers. no one has ready my book yet (save a couple of nearest and dearest.)
      Let me know if you would like a copy – maybe you could review it and lend me your experience and critical eye? Would help me when I try to launch it on Kindle soon.
      I hardly read sci fi, so I would be interested in your take on the story, to get an ‘insiders’ point of view.
      Let me know – and thanks for taking the time to comment. Really appreciated. Darren

  3. renardscifi 16/01/2015 / 2:36 am

    For synopses, or book blurbs, the best advice I’ve found tends to come from Literary Agents, simply because it’s their job to sell things, and they recognize a good one when they see it. They’re used to looking at query letters, blurbs, and elevator pitches and noticing what works and what doesn’t. Writing short, succinct copy is an art, and it’s HARD to do.

    The legendary Miss Snark has some useful advice on synopses:

    http://misssnark.blogspot.ca/search/label/synopses

    Janet Reid has also got some useful tidbits, though her rants and advice tend more towards queries and pitches:

    http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/

    My personal favorite, however, is the advice of bestseller Jim Butcher:

    When [SOMETHING HAPPENS], [YOUR PROTAGONIST] [PURSUES A GOAL]. But will she succeed when [ANTAGONIST PROVIDES OPPOSITION]?

    That’s essentially what it boils down to, with each bracket a sentence. Start messy, and throw in everything you want to say, then trim back. Get rid of extra sentences. Prune it down to the above structure, and replace bland words with ones that have emotional impact.

    And if you’re really stuck, run through the house and find every single book that hooked you in with the blurb on the back. Writing those little bits for Amazon and Smashwords is essentially posting the back cover where people can read it. (Since ebooks generally don’t have a back cover.)

    I hope this helps!

    • Curlydaz 16/01/2015 / 9:09 am

      That is really REALLY (no need to shout) helpful. You are right about the difficulty of the task in hand. I will definitely check out those links to help hone what I have. Thanks for the advice and tips, draft number 37 here I come. D

      • renardscifi 16/01/2015 / 10:04 pm

        Sorry for the shouting, I just pasted it in from the site I found Jim Butcher’s example from. I should have edited it first, my apologies.

      • Curlydaz 17/01/2015 / 12:15 am

        I didn’t even notice it in yours. I was just trying to be funny (wuth an emphasis on the word ‘trying’.) There are too many sensitive souls on here who get offended at ghe slightest slight, but I aint one of them. I genuinely appreciated your comments. They were helpful. And I honestly wasn’t having a dig at you either. I am going to post my synopsis attempt. Your opinion would help. Also i was really impressed with the pics on your blog- no wonder people are always asking you about covers. Did you design it?

      • renardscifi 17/01/2015 / 1:53 am

        Oh! No worries, I wasn’t thinking you were having a dig at me, I just realized after seeing that I’d left a shout-y comment in my reply. I am actually bad about it – same as in real life. I have no indoor volume. XDD

        Be happy to help, if I can. I’ll definitely read it, it’s nice to find a fellow sci-fi writer on here! 😀

        Heh, thank you. I didn’t do the actual picture, I just have permission to use an existing image from that artist. I did the text and slapped elements together, that’s all. But thank you!

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