Oh, the woes of writing a synopsis -- especially one limited to 500 words.
That's one of the requirements for entering the My Book Therapy Frasier Contest, and the task can be every bit as daunting as polishing the opening pages of your manuscript.
I'm not an expert on writing a synopsis. In fact, I've been told that mine are "too episodic."
But since every proposal requires one, it's an important skill to learn.
The Frasier provides an opportunity for practicing that skill even though the synopsis itself isn't judged.
Since the contest requires only the opening scene, the entire manuscript doesn't have to be completed. I entered last year with an unfinished contemporary romance and discovered two major benefits from writing (and rewriting) the synopsis.
#1 I was forced to think about the story's turning points and the ending. The major characters' motivations also needed to be clearly defined. This, in turn, is beneficial when writing or revising the remainder of the novel.
#2 I needed to be sure every word pull it's own weight. This particular story has a complex plot (and probably too much backstory). Each word needed to be needed.
Just now, re-reading last year's Frasier synopsis, I realize it needs another rewrite. Five hundred words probably should NOT be divided up into eleven paragraphs.
Even so, writing the synopsis helped me to focus on the story elements and to write tight.
Entries for the 2013 MBT Frasier Contest for unpublished
novelists will be accepted through Saturday, March 31, at 11:59 p.m. The
contest is open to Voices members. The winner will receive a scholarship to a
My Book Therapy coaching retreat ($500 value). Final round judges are
award-winning author Susan May Warren, literary agent Steve Laube, and a TBD
fiction acquisitions editor. For more information, FAQs
and to enter, visit www.mybooktherapy.com.
As a Bronze Medal Finalist last year (and a fan of writing contests), I encourage unpublished novelists to enter the Frasier. The feedback is invaluable, both in affirming strengths and pointing out weaknesses.