Oh god, the pain.
I know I said I just whizzed through the synopsis last month and ended up with a brilliant first draft sure to make the most cynical literary agent weep but, well, I just read over that draft and I was wrong.
It was terrible. Filled with clichés, completely un-specific, and just plain bad writing.
So I started over. And although I am now several hairs greyer and have long, bleeding scratches on my face from trying to rip it off in frustration, I don't think this damn synopsis has gotten any better.
But why is this so hard? We all wrote book reports in high school, right? This should be just like that. Not rocket science. (Come to think of it, maybe I should hire a 10th grader to write my synopsis for me). And yet there are entire blogs devoted to how bloody difficult it is to write a half-decent synopsis (for a strong espresso dose of cruelty, see Miss Snark's contribution to making writers feel bad about themselves).
One page. One page to sell the story, and tell the story. But not the whole story. Just the salient bits. But enough so it's completely understandable. And exciting. Even if your novel is character, as opposed to plot-driven. One page to show the agent how marketable your novel is. But without sounding like flap copy. One page of sharp, clear writing. One page to determine whether or not you will become a published author or a pathetic failure.
Say it with me people.
And then there's the query letter...