It looms menacingly over me, its shadow blocking out the light of satisfaction and contentment. No matter how much time and effort I feed it, it voraciously demands more, consuming my thoughts even when I am committed to other occupations. It teases. It threatens. It cajoles.
It is my synopsis.
I have finished Maisie’s List and obsessively re-read and edited until I know I must let it stand as it is. (I am lying. There are minor changes I know I will make before I let it fly free. Like a substance abuser, I must confess: I am an editing junkie.) No matter how I feel about the details, however, I love the story and love the characters, and I want it out there in the world for others to share. There is a publisher who expressed an interest in it at the Moonlight and Magnolias conference in October, asking to see it as soon as I was done. She even suggested spin-offs, one of which came to me that very night. I have already set the first pages, and I am so excited about it. I cannot wait to get to the meeting of my protagonist and her love interest. He is going to be gorgeous and describing him will be one of the great joys of my writing life.
In between me and publication heaven stands the required synopsis. All publishers, no matter how big or small, want to see a synopsis before they commit time to reading a manuscript. They know from those three or so pages whether or not the book has a place in their list. The problem is, I am not very good at being concise. When I talk passionately about the story and its characters to friends and family, they are very interested at first and then their eyes glaze and smiles freeze as I drone on about my characters’ backstories that didn’t even make it into the book.
That is my task for today. My characters are peering eagerly over my shoulder to see if can I make them compelling enough to sell. There is that word that every writer dreads–to sell a story that an author feels is certainly glorious enough to stand on it’s own magnificent prose. (Think Ralphie’s delusion in A Christmas Story.)
See? See how I drone on when I need to get on with it? Okay, here I go. I take a deep breath, hold my nose, and cannonball into the deep end of the writing pool with the Synopsis Monster. Wish me luck.