Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Rant about Writing Synopses

Why am I spending so much time writing synopses lately? Because publishers like them. Do I like them? No, I really, really don't. Why not?

a) Because they take chunks out of my life that (what's the saying? oh yeah) I won't get back!

b) Because they make me incredibly nervous, since they're adverts for something that doesn't exist yet.

Because, when you're writing the synopsis, you can't completely commit to it, because one of the reasons you're not just writing the book itself is because you up to your eyeballs writing another book!

And because, if a publisher likes it, I'm tied to writing a book that matches the synopsis ...

Well, obviously, that's the point. But what do you do if, in between writing the synopsis and getting down to the book proper (which can be months) the story has evolved? Characters grow and change, even when you're not consciously thinking about them. A synopsis for a short book can spawn a child that's twice the size, aimed at a different audience, and with completely different mood, pace and main characters. Or what if, horror! you just can't write the thing at all?! (That hasn't happened to me yet, but there are no guarantees.)

The whole subject makes me feel itchy all over! Anyway, rant over. And back to writing the wretched things.


P.S. Ages ago, a reader from India posted a comment about having read Questors and liking it - how cool is that?! (I probably haven't responded to her sooner because of having all these synopses to write.) Anyway, many thanks!


At 6:31 PM, Blogger Maria said...

I recently read Questors after spotting it on the "new fantasy/scifi" shelf in my local library. I liked it quite a bit.
I just have two questions about the book:
1. Did you decide in your own mind Cam's gender? (You don't have to tell us, because obviously you don't want to, since you left us hanging at that last sentence....)
2. How long did it take to develop your ideas for the Three Worlds?

Thanks! I'll check back here for an answer, or you can drop a comment on my blog,


At 2:52 AM, Blogger Joan Lennon said...

Please tell your librarian I love her/him.
1. It was really important that I never knew what gender Cam ended up - part of the challenge was to try to write a character without getting to use any of the handy-dandy hooks gender gives us!
2. QUESTORS took 3 years to write, but I was doing a lot of other stuff at the same time, so not as bad as it sounds.

Thanks for reading the book, and even more for liking it!

Cheers, Joan.


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