The devil’s in the synopsis

This week has been a week of procrastination. Reading books, cleaning the kitchen floor, wiping the toothbrush stains from the sink, even EVEN doing the ironing. The ironing for goodness sake! All in the name of avoiding the one and only part of writing I do not like. The synopsis.

I have dreamed about it, too. I was in hell, actual hell, and had to write my synopsis. That was it, the entire dream. There were no flames, no devils ripping out my fingernails or lashing me with burning whips. Hell, in my dream, was me sitting on my sofa and being asked to write my synopsis.

There is an awful lot of advice on the internet about how to write one, what you should and should not include, how to format. I got the sense that all these article explaining how to write a synopsis were written by people who were procrastinating on writing their own. Let’s face it, I could be writing mine right now but I’m not. I’m writing this instead.

I have also come to another understanding about why the synopsis has such a bad rep amongst authors. It’s not that it’s hard to do, because, let’s be honest, writing the damned book in the first place is more difficult. I think the terrifying thing is that your novel is stripped back to the bare bones. If there are any plot holes, any characters that aren’t working, twists that don’t make sense, the synopsis will expose them. You cannot hide behind evocative prose, clever similes aren’t going to save you, no pun in the world can laugh away an unbelievable protagonist.

The plot explained in its entirety in 500 words. Every main character and their motivations/arc on show. Each twist untwisted. The ending revealed. All this, written in such a way that the agent will immediately request the manuscript.


I think it’s time to rearrange my bookshelf. Perhaps I’ll colour-code my wardrobe, or get the duster out. Or maybe I’ll sit down, stop whinging, and write the thing because, however grueling, I’m not going to get published without it.

Let’s get cracking.


4 thoughts on “The devil’s in the synopsis”

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    I think this is all of us when there is that ONE thing we absolutely do not want to do. We think about it, talk about it, dream about it, obsess about it, and in the meantime clean the kitchen tiles with a toothbrush. The ultimate form of procrastination is built in our DNA and we are destined to be miserable during this procrastination period. Do we learn from this and just avoid it the next time around? Of course not!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. … and then comes the time the d.. thing has to be sent off. I have my solution: I dig out my favorite t-shirt, struggle to put it on, and finally get to it, inspired by the words on my shirt “If it weren’t for the last minute nothing would ever get done.”

    Liked by 1 person

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