Thursday, 27 October 2011

Write a Synopsis - Expert, Snappy, Stressfree

Well, I have decided. Possibly. Yes, I am - almost - certain about the title for my forthcoming guide to synopsis-writing. But I could change my mind at any moment.

You may remember that I asked for your help, and help you did. Many of you. I said I'd give a free copy to the person whose suggestion I chose, but that became complicated because so many of you were so helpful and in the end what I chose was not exactly what anyone had suggested and yet it was informed by so many of you. So, in an All-Must-Win-Prizes sort of a way, I have decided that all must win a prize. So, ALL those who have already contributed to that discussion will win a free copy (pdf or Kindle version) as soon as it's ready, probably in the New Year when your resolutions are at their strongest.

My decision* is: Write a Synopsis - Expert, Snappy, Stressfree

* in the loosest sense of the word.

Or possibly: Write a Synopsis - Expert, Snappy and Stressfree

Or even: Write a Synopsis - An Expert Makes it Snappy and Stressfree.

Oh feckity feckity feckity. (There goes my CRB clearance. I am now officially a danger to young people.)

Erghh. I may need to ask you to vote between those three...

I loved Jan's idea of Help! I Need a Synopsis! and the various permutations of Right and Write and Sensible Guide etc, to fit the concept of branding, but I don't then want to be tied to those words for future titles. I loved Mary's Make it Snappy and Jan's In a Nutshell, but in the end I needed to describe the book more concretely, for someone who has no idea what I do. I know the word "expert" is effective, and I did want to include "write a synopsis" or "write a great synopsis" somewhere. So, although it's not the cleverest or most original combination, I like all of my possible decisions well enough: the first part is crystal clear, appropriately, and the second part is functional. And the whole thing is suitably snappy and yet full.

So, thank you! And could these people please send me an email address? Also, when you email me, if it's not likely to be 100% obvious to me which of the personages you are, please say so in your email.

Rebecca Brown
Elaine AM Smith
Carolb
Mary-Jane
E. A. Brass
Helen
Widdershins
Juliet Boyd

Later, I look forward to bringing you the cover, designed by Andrew Brown.

Meanwhile, I'm working my way through the synopses that some of you sent for free analysis on this blog and/or for use in the book as examples. I now have a substantial backlog so any you send from now on may not be seen before you are published!

Do please comment about my choices and say which of the slight variations you prefer. Or if you hate them all...

Finally, if you know of a well-followed blog for aspiring writers that might want to be part of an extensive blog tour, do please suggest below or contact Rebecca Brown - mail@rebeccaebrown.com* - who is my trusty publicist for this book! (Becky Hearne is still my lovely assistant but Becky now has a glorious proper job with Hachette as publicity officer, so I can't call on her so much, sadly.)

[Apologies - that email address was originally wrong. Now corrected.]

All publicity suggestions gratefully accepted. Meanwhile, I will be putting more synopses up here for your comment soon.


29 comments:

catdownunder said...

Oh miaou! We are being spoilt. Thankyou ma-am!

Lisa Cx said...

Just wondered if inclusion of word 'crabbity' would kinda brand it as yours. instead of the word expert, could it imply you and therefore expert.

Nicola Morgan said...

Lisa, it's a nice idea (thank you for the "you and therefore expert!) but I have to remember that although you all know me as the Crabbit one, my crabbitness is not world famous - though obviously it should be - and I need to appeal to the WHOLE WORLD. *rubs hands* !

Miriam Drori said...

Ooh - thank you! I look forward to reading it.

I think the choices are all good, but no. 3 sounds a bit braggy. I would choose no. 2. Not sure why....

widdershins said...

I reckon there's too many 's's for it to trip lightly off the tongue when I read all three out loud.

However, the length of the third option gives an opportunity for the cover art artist to get creative. I'll go with the third door.

Dan Holloway said...

If you go for either of teh first two now you will be cited in the Oxford Comma debate in perptuity, you realise. This may be a very good thing. Or a very bad thing.

catherineryanhoward.com said...

Unlike the other comment-leavers I actually like the third one best! I think you SHOULD point out that you're an expert because that's what people who will potentially buy this book want.

Now, can you hurry up and release it please? I need it! :-)

JO said...

I like the first one - the rhythm of it works best.

I didn't have head-space for title-thinking, but will buy it on kindle anyway. So that's one you'll sell . . .

Sally Zigmond said...

I go for no. 2 because it seems to flow better and is easy on the ear. But you can call it what you like really as I shall buy it anyway. I am a total moron when it comes to writing synopses and need all the help I can get.

catdownunder said...

Right, I prowled off and asked some of the neighbours to vote - number two has it without exception. (That's 8 votes for number two.) No, was not a lot of work they were all standing in the street looking at a koala. I did not ask the koala

Neal... said...

Marvelous news -- thank you. I'll send an email address. In the meantime, I think option 3 is the best, because you're the expert, not the synopsis itself. It also gives the impression of getting a helping hand best.

Neal... said...

A probably annoying addition to my vote for 3...

The first two have the benefit of that rhythm of three, but that's lost in the third one. Perhaps it could be:

An expert makes it simple, snappy and stressfree.

OK, maybe simple and stressfree aren't a million miles apart in meaning, but Martini used 'Any time, Any place, Anywhere' for years. There's not much difference between the last two of those, and they still did all right.

Iain Broome said...

Pretty devastated that you didn't go for or even mention the SYNOPSIS HYPOTHESIS but will probably get over it in time.

You're welcome to do an interviewy type thing with me for Write for Your Life. In fact, I would positively encourage such a thing.

Nicola Morgan said...

Iain - gah, my reply to you vanished. Anyway, I was saying: your suggestion made me laugh (in a good way...). It had a lovely ring to it (*pats Iain on head*) but was possibly too, erm, hypothetical. But, thank you muchly for saying I can come and be crabbit on your blog. I'll get Rebecca to contact you and fix what and when you'd like me to do. thanks! Honoured :)

David Griffin said...

Yay, we all win! Excellent stuff; I'm looking forward to reading a pdf of your book on synopsis writing.

As for tweaking the title, a suggestion:

Write a Synopsis

How to make it expert, snappy and stress-free

:-)

Julian Hill said...

Don't know how any publisher can ever decide on a book title that will attract the most people. Even with these three close options we all prefer different ones!

For me the first option had most impact. Words like 'an', 'it' and 'and' in a title tend to lessen the pull for me when I'm scanning a bookshelf. Strangely, 'of' doesn't do this - don't know why.

'Expert, snappy, stressfree' also has more draw for me than 'Write a Synopsis'. If I were browsing the shelves looking for a book on writing and saw a spine with only the words, 'Expert, Snappy, Stressfree,' I'd pick it up straight away; if I then saw the subtitle confirm that it was about crafting a synopsis, that would be a sale. I remember the day I bought Write to be Published: it was the cover art, not the title, that drew me half way across the store, and the words 'Make a Publisher Say Yes' that made me reach for my wallet.

Carolb said...

Thank you Nicola, I'm looking forward to it.
2 or 3, for me, but whichever one it is, synopsis that are stress-free will sell well.

Dan Holloway said...

I hadn't even noticed there isn't an "and" in option 1. Seeing there isn't, I'd go for 2 with an Oxford Comma thrown in.

Penwright said...

Number two gets my vote - I'm a bit Lynne Truss about punctuation. And if you cave in to Dan's Oxford comma, I may have to do something drastic - what with being in Cambridge and all.

M Louise Kelly said...

Number 2. Like the rhythm.

And i take it this is all prep work for your next tome - "how to write a killer title" ;-)

JO said...

Tried to email rebecca brown, but it bounced back as undeliverable. No idea if its my internet having a hissy fit, or an address problem.

Rebecca Brown said...

Hello Jo - Louise has just pointed that out to me. It's mail@rebeccaEbrown.com - I'll correct it here as I believe Nicola is head-deep in book-writing then she can correct it in post when she comes up for air! :)

M Louise Kelly said...

Jo, me to... i checked with rebecca. it's mail@rebeccaebrown.com (with an e) .

Nicola Morgan said...

Sorry! *hangs head* Thanks, Jo, Louise and Rebecca.

womagwriter said...

I like number 2 best.

Thanks so much for the offer to send a copy to all who contributed! And I have a Kindle now to read it on! Wahey!

womagwriter said...

Changed my mind. My vote is for #1 now - it's snappier!

Katalin Havasi said...

Hurray!
Thanks for your generosity, Nicola.

I'd go for No 3. because it's more like a complete sentence so it's easy to understand what you mean. It is also the most informative.
(You see, my mother tongue is not English.)

Juliet Boyd said...

Oh, how exciting.

I prefer the sound of option one.

I suppose it depends whether you want it to sound like the synopsis is expertly executed or that the expert is advising you on the synopsis.

alisonwells said...

I would love to have you on my blog Nicola! Co-incidentally I happen to be writing a synopsis at this present moment and relish your "forgetful" approach. Also as you know I LOVED Wasted and will post a review as soon as I can!