Saturday’s NARWA meeting went great, and — as usual — I came away inspired. Our guest speaker, Harlequin American author Cathy McDavid, presented talks on characterization and that bane of many writers’ existence (or at least mine), the synopsis.

I came away with some great tips, along with some worksheets that will likely prove very helpful. Among them:

  • One size synopsis does not fit all. Some publishers want a two-page one, others want a five-pager. To meet varying requirements, think of the synopsis as an accordion, expanding and contracting your description of the action.
  • When describing the action, you don’t want a chapter-by-chapter play-by-play. Pick six to eight turning points (such as their first kiss, first time to make love) and focus on those.
  • Mention more than once why they can’t be together and explain why they fall in love. Don’t forget to include how the hero and heroine have grown and/or changed.
  • Make every word count. Use power words (like scarlet instead of red) to evoke a stronger vision. For every sentence, ask, “Can I make this better? Shorter?”
  • Try to infuse your synopsis with the same tone as your book.

That last one I struggle with. (Oh, who am I kidding? I struggle with the synopsis from start to finish. If I could get by without ever writing one, I would.)  My synopses aren’t even half  as funny as the stories themselves.

Well, time to take another look at my synopsis for “Blind Date Bride.” One of the goals I set to finish before our July meeting is to submit at least two queries on “Blind Date Bride.”

The other is to write a query letter/synopsis for “Beauty and the Ballplayer.” I must be a glutton for punishment. 😉

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