A postcard from writing hell

Time to read:

2 minutes
Hell's Post Office
Image by Eoin McNamee

I am still in recovery.

*Peeks out from beneath mountain of blankets*

It’s taken me two weeks before I could even talk about it.

*Stares at pile of screwed up paper barricading the door*

Two weeks ago, I wrote a synopsis for Grind Spark.

*Gnaws knuckles to the bone*

Now, I’ve seen the warning signs.

I’ve seen the deathly pale faces of other writers whenever they speak of the synopsis. How they look around, all shifty, whisper the word and then run away, swearing into cravats and reaching for the nearest pull of whisky.

Because, well, how the hell do we refine our darling, baby novels into just one page of writing?

All the words… ALL THE WORDS… and I need to filter it down to nothing.

Only, it’s not nothing. It’s everything. Summarise the book. Summarise it in no words.

Where are those goddamn monkeys with their typewriter when you need them, I bet they could do it.

But they’re on holiday (cruise deal down the Nile), supping champagne and smoking cigars and they’ve switched their phones off so we’re on our own.

Now, I don’t know yet whether what I’ve ended up with is a bona fide award winning page of synopsis joy, or something that a blob fish would be embarrased by. But after some googleage I at least kept the word count down and revealed the ending. Revealed the ending?! *Suppresses nervous tic*

But what I found, by about the tenth time I’d hit delete and started again from scratch, was that eventually it all started to come together. It made me look at Grind Spark from a different angle. It made me analyse the story threads in a different way. It made me really think about what genre the book is. And at the moment, it’s chilling out in the bar with the other transgressive/science-fiction pages.

And don’t tell anyone but in the end it was ok. In the end, maybe, it was even a little bit fun.


But how do you pull a synopsis together? Does it fill you with dread? Does it make your skin crawl and your manuscript cower behind the sofa?

Share your tales of woe, or survival, or your special synopsis-slaying tips in the word space below. I want to know ALL YOUR SYNOPSIS FIENDISHNESS.

And if anyone sees those monkeys tell ’em I want a postcard, too.

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