Condensing your writing – why there’s no harm in starting early.

I feel there’s no harm in providing this advice. Writing a synopsis can be time-consuming, but there are multiple benefits to be gained by condensing your work early.

I moaned about how hard it was to condense 80K words to 300, to use your voice, to illustrate your writing style. What I didn’t stress though is what I uncovered.

When you write a synopsis, from what I’ve read online, you have to  also include: setting and age early on, the character’s motivations, the problem, the obstacle, and what need’s to be resolved.  What I found  further from researching loglines is that it’s also important to highlight a contradiction. This helps to  create tension  and an interesting read. eg  control freak who has her choices taken away.

Firstly, I’m from Australia, so it’s important you research how you go about querying or submitting your MS straight to a publisher in your country.

I’m sending my MS to Australian publishers directly and am tailoring my submission to meet their requirements. That doesn’t mean I won’t be contacting agents soon. **UPDATED** I have been informed ( thank you brixmcd13 🙂 ) that when you query an agent, you are to reveal the whole plot in a short synopsis. Please see Christine’s comments regarding the synopsis – you are to reveal the entire plot to publishers as well when a synopsis is requested. I will have to read that book, Christine! I was originally confused by one publishers advice which I misconstrued :S

It won’t hurt to research what the requirements are in your circumstance.

From there you cut the information down further to a blurb (what the reader’s see) , and then a logline ( one sentence summing up the whole book)  and then a tagline ( something you would see to promote a movie for eg.). The shorter it gets, the more difficult it is, and the more intense the themes.

Whether you’re querying an agent or sending to a publisher ( research will help you determine which they require) I believe it wouldn’t hurt to do all of them.


Because it’s amazing what you find. If you keep all those elements in mind that I highlighted above, you find themes you may not even be aware of. This is not only helpful for your summaries, but it will also help you look at your complete work in a new light. Did I emphasise that theme enough? Is that what this book is actually about?

Researching and playing with my blurb,  logline and tagline has helped with my synopsis and to uncover themes. And when I send off my submissions in a week I want to have them completely finished in case somebody asks – can you sum up your book in one sentence?  That one question right there almost scared me off writing a year and a half ago.


Me and my Manuscript – Surviving the Synopsis

I knew that I had to invest in my synopsis. I just didn’t think it was going to cost me $60 in wine and 2kg of weight gain.

This process is tough. Not only do you have to condense your whole book into a page, and even more horrifying, into two paragraphs, but you have to ensure your writing voice is heard. Well, listen here synopsis. I’m only going to say this once, because I’m running out of word count.

You’re really important to me. You thought I was going to get really angry didn’t you? I’m like that. I like to surprise and deliver the unexpected. Kind of like you, I’m elusive and frustrating.

Without you, a whole years worth of work may go unnoticed. Without you, I would find it difficult to convey the message of my book. Without you, I would have slept a good solid eight hours every night this week.

But you’re here. And I do feel better now. Because now that you’re simmering away, you’re safe from being burnt, and from everything around you being burnt: the computer, the chair I sat on, the keyboard I smashed.

I promised that there would be no advice on my blogs. But if I could take away one thing from this week it would be this. I am so glad I started this process early. It took me a whole week and a one eighth of my sanity to get to draft 3 of my 300 word synopsis. Two days later I already want to make changes.

And the voice that I was reluctant to add, is singing without any pressure.

274 words.