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Synopsis for MG

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I am sending my MG novel to be critiqued at a conference I'm attending.  The guidelines are to send 10 pages and a synopsis of no more than 250 words.  So my question is this - how on earth do you condense a whole novel into 250 words?!  At the moment this seems like an impossible task!   :bewildered
Does anyone have any advice on what leave in, what to cut out and how to make it sound appealing so that someone might actually want to read the book.  At the moment mine reads like a series of bullet points and I'm pretty sure this isn't how it's meant to sound!
Thanks in advance for your help
Sian   :flowers2
#1 - June 23, 2017, 05:02 PM
Isabella and the Wishing Machine - Splashing Cow Books Nov 2016

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A synopsis, from my approach to it in the past, is that it quickly summarize the main characters and plot of the novel, so a bullet list is pretty close to how it will read. Just try to finesse it into sentences and paragraphs. I am sure there are others with more experience than me on this, but my guess is your critiquer wants to know what the book is about and what to expect from it with more than just a book/blurb. Good luck!
#2 - June 24, 2017, 07:17 AM
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Here are a couple of links you might find helpful:
For synopsis guidelines: Anatomy of a Synopsis: http://www.underdown.org/synopsis.htm
For a MG synopsis example: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/synopsis-example-the-way-way-back-young-adult-middle-grade

After you've written it, you might want to post it on the critique board here for feedback.
#3 - June 24, 2017, 08:15 AM
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Thanks both for your input.  Those links are really helpful too Vonna.  I definitely have a better idea of what a synopsis should look like now although asking for it to be no more than 250 words is mean!  I've had to leave a whole subplot (that's quite important to the story) out - but I can't see I have any choice!

I will see if I feel brave enough to post it on the critique board once I'm finished.  This is my first MG (I generally write PB) and have just discovered synopsis writing really does make you question everything you have written!
#4 - June 24, 2017, 03:14 PM
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I definitely have a better idea of what a synopsis should look like now although asking for it to be no more than 250 words is mean! 
I feel your pain! I've written several (and am currently writing a new one), but it still smarts to leave out beloved, carefully constructed subplots and secondary characters. :cry2

#5 - June 24, 2017, 04:18 PM
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have just discovered synopsis writing really does make you question everything you have written!

Oh, isn't this the truth! :sigh 


#6 - June 24, 2017, 07:27 PM

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The synopses used to be the most painful writing task of all. I'm all right with this now.

For me, the ability to cut out some of "my darlings" in the story and distilling it when composing a short synopsis, took NOT writing the synopsis too soon, and NOT writing it shortly after a first draft or any revision. If I let a couple of months pass since I even glanced at the manuscript, somehow its essence rises to the top, like cream.

The links Vonna enclosed are great. But my secret to writing synopses painlessly (well, almost  ;) ) was the distancing I mentioned, and I didn't see it in any   of the HOW-TOs.

It does get easier, even if it's not the most fun part...  :clover
#7 - June 25, 2017, 12:48 PM
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 09:06 AM by 217mom »
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Thanks.
I've here since 2007, bought a book from Cynthea Liu and Harold Underdown, who both give excellent advice. Yet I have still dragged my heels on writing a synopsis for over twenty years. It terrifies me.
#8 - June 26, 2017, 06:44 AM

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Yep, it is pretty terrifying!

Thanks for your advice 217mom - putting it away for a few weeks seems like a wonderful idea!  I have until August until I have to submit it so there is no rush.  I like the thought that its essence will rise to the top  - great way of putting it  :thanx
#9 - June 26, 2017, 11:54 AM
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 01:01 PM by Sianey »
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This is my all-time favorite article on writing a single page synopsis. It really walks you through it. 250 words is pretty short, so you may need to cut it down even more than this, but it will give you a starting point. Good luck!

http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2012/04/17/how-to-write-a-1-page-synopsis/
#10 - June 26, 2017, 12:56 PM
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This is great!  Thanks Amy!  Agree I will need to cut it further for 250 words but it's a great starting point  :thankyou
#11 - June 26, 2017, 08:11 PM
Isabella and the Wishing Machine - Splashing Cow Books Nov 2016

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