|After Riley's Band Concert - the miracle of 3 girls & Mom smiling at the same time - March 2018
For the Citrus Singers' parody, "All About That Badge,"
I made up the word "Synopsitis" some years ago in order to describe a phenomenon common to many contests I was judging for chapters of Romance Writers of America. Over and over and over again, I saw the same problem. And again this week: four contest entries, all of them examples of Synopsitis. Three of them, glaring examples!
So naturally, Synopsitis is the Writing topic for this week's Mosaic Moments. And after you've plowed your way through my explanation of what I mean, you get to enjoy my recent airboat ride on Lake Jessup, less than ten miles from my home here in Longwood, Florida.
A synopsis—anywhere from one page to twenty—has long been a requirement for authors submitting books to conventional publishing houses, whether print or e. Personally, as an "out of the mist" author, I could never write a synopsis before the book was done. Fortunately, after selling to Signet's Trad Regency line, my editor settled for maybe three vague sentences in advance. But for that first book, alas, if you're submitting to an editor or agent, you'll need a synopsis. So naturally, most authors really work at polishing their synopses, getting all that information in there . . .
And then—oops!—a startling number of them forget that the only people who see that synopsis are an editor or an agent. The authors wrote synopses that made perfect sense—characters identified, plot laid out, step by step. Then came disaster. The accomplished synopsis writers begin their Chapter One with the assumption that readers have read their synopses and now know all about their plots, the identity and background of their characters, and off they go, leaving readers in a swamp of confusion.Their opening chapters lack all that information they so carefully put in their synopses. No identification of characters. Not so much as hint of enough background to let readers know what is going on. Leaving frustrated readers with nothing but questions.
Who are these people?
How did they get where they are?
What's that problem they keep referring to?
What scandal? What murder? What financial disaster?
What country (city, town, village) are we in?
What year is it? Modern day, the Regency, Victorian times . . .?
NEVER FORGET: Everything you want the reader to know must on the pages of the manuscript! Do not put essential information in your synopsis and assume readers will see it. They won't! And do not leave essential information in your head! That too happens from time to time.
I will be marking down all four manuscripts I am currently judging, simply because they did not make sense; in three cases, the lack of information was severe, turning the opening chapters of their books into unintentional mysteries. All four will need to rewrite their opening chapter(s).
Do not be a "mystery" author unless that's the genre you intend to write. And even then, your readers will want to know about your sleuth right up front. Tell them what they need to know! Not in an information dump but in well-worded inserts into Narration, Dialogue, and Introspection that bring readers into your story and allow them to understand what is going on.
REPEAT: Readers, whether in a book store or surfing the Net, see nothing more than a short blurb about your book. They do NOT see a synopsis. They will NEVER see a synopsis. They do not know what you know unless you tell them in the pages of your manuscript!
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Below are some photos from an airboat trip on Lake Jessup (Friday, March 23, 2018). It was a chilly day, the wind when the airboat was at full speed cutting through my fleece jacket as if it were gauze. But airboats are always fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. By random fortune I was assigned one of the "high" seats next to the captain, giving me a particularly good view. (For my foreign readers, an airboat is a flat-bottomed boat powered by an airplane engine. They are noisy. Hence, the earmuffs.)
|Gator - just left of center
|Since the day was cool, the gators were stretched out on the bank, getting some "rays"
|Post airboat ride. I couldn't believe the gator was so soft!
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For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.
For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page, click here.
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Thanks for stopping by,