I’m a one purse at a time kind of woman. In other words, I don’t have a handbag to go with every outfit. The ones I get are typically multifunctional and fit just about any occasion. Well, except formal affairs. For those, I rummage through the forty plus bags in my sister’s closet and borrow one. Anyway, a few years ago I figured it was time for a purse makeover. I bought a small one, hoping to keep the ‘stuff’ I usually carry around to a minimum. Bad idea. In a matter of two weeks, the doggone thing was overflowing, and one of the straps broke in the middle of a grocery store, spilling mentionable and unmentionable contents all over the floor. It was a classic case of shoving ten pounds of crap in a five pound bag. I should have left well enough alone.
I view synopses the same way. Here you have a perfectly good book, and someone wants you to cram all those words, feelings, characters, and plots, into a five page summary. Argg! I hate ’em! It’s tough enough sweating through each chapter of a book, wanting to make every scene as vivid and three dimensional as possible. How in the hell is anyone supposed to create the same effect in five short pages?
The bottom line is—you can’t. But what you can create, if the synopsis is done correctly, is intrigue. Or so I’m told. Mine have a tendency to read like a crack-addict’s steno notes. Short blasts of info that have little sequential order or logic. When I’m writing a book, I’ll do one major rewrite, then a polish before sending it off to my editor. For a synopsis, I have to do fifty-seven gazillion rewrites for it to even start making sense. Why do you think that is? I’m supposed to be a writer for heaven’s sake. You’d think I’d be able to handle a few measly pages.
Maybe it’s a psychological thing. An underlying, suppressed abhorrence for shoving ten pounds of crap in a five pound bag, spawned from the memory of that busted purse—tampons rolling across aisle 5, right up to the Frosted Flakes and that guy with the wobbly-wheeled grocery cart. Rolaids, an empty bottle of antibiotics, hair scrungies, six-year-old gas receipts, a three-year-old slice of Doublemint gum—out of the wrapper—and enough change to support Laundromats all across America, all of it tumbling over, under, and around bins, baskets, and curious onlookers.
Uh, yeah, that’s gotta be it . . .