Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
halloween_john

How do I write a synopsis for a collection (book) of short stories?

Recommended Posts

I’ve written four short stories of the same genre that would make up roughly one normal length fiction book. But I’ve only ever written synopsises for one story when submitting to agents.

 

I know a synopsis is meant to be about a page long (no more than two), but should I write a synopsis for each story, or one general overview of the collection?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The very unfortunate reality here is that short stories are doomed before you write any synopsis at all. The market simply isn't there unless you are an established name and most agents specify that they don't want to be sent any submissions for short stories - including collections.

 

However, the synopsis is meant to summarise the actual story - it should never be 'blurb' style - so I would write a half-page synopsis for each. If you try to summarise the collection it will just be a generalised exercise that won't give an agent the specifics they want to read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
short stories are doomed before you write any synopsis at all.

 

That's a shame. I didn't know that. I distinctly remember reading a book called (I think) Quirky Tales when I was about eleven. It was a collection of, well, quicky stories and I loved them. It's always sort of been at the back of my head to try and write a collection of similar stories.

 

Do you know if there's any online publications or anywhere else that accepts short stories? (each is about three chapters - 10,000 words if that's any help)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do you know if there's any online publications or anywhere else that accepts short stories? (each is about three chapters - 10,000 words if that's any help)
You really ought to get your hands on the latest Artists' & Writers' Yearbook. It contains all that sort of information.

 

However, you may also find some info on The Short Story. Stories at 10,000 words probably don't stand a chance of success, I'm afraid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you know if there's any online publications or anywhere else that accepts short stories? (each is about three chapters - 10,000 words if that's any help)

Stewart's right - at that length you're unlikely to find a publication that would be interested. It's become such a difficult market in recent years. You could also have a look here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I've had a look through the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook - I'm guessing you're both right - not many people seem interested.

 

I may contact JBWB as I've used them quite a lot to edit some of my work.

 

Glad I haven't invested too much time into short stories yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Be ruthless with your story. Go through it and score out everything that doesn't need to be there.

 

Things to cut out:

 

Unnecessary adjectives:

If you have stuff like "She gracefully descended the ornately carved dark oak staircase." then it stands a better chance as "She descended the staircase", at its most minimal, or "She descended the ornate staircase", if the quality of the staircase is important.

Adverbs

These are so subjective as to be of little use at the best of times. Taking from above,
gracefully
, what does that mean? The writer's thoughts on what it means are no doubt different from the readers, and each reader's opinion may also vary. If they inject pace, use the occasional one, otherwise remove as many as possible.

Dialogue Tags:

You may be able to drop loads of
he said/she said
he asked/she
answered
tags if it's clear from the dialogue who is speaking.

Extraneous sentences:

Does each sentence actually help the story? If it's one that you think only helps enhance a scene. Maybe adding an extra line or two of description (i.e. mentioning rugs that never come into play, or a character's blonde hair that makes not one jot of difference to the story) - remove it.

Passive voice:

Ever find yourself using the passive voice? Try switching the sentence around and see what effect the active voice creates: the result should be a shorter sentence that packs a greater punch. (e.g.
John ate the cake.
is better than
The cake was eaten by John.
)

 

What 'genre', if any, does your story cover? If it's an sf story, it at least stands a better chance for size considerations given that there's a greater market for such stories over, say, the literary market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...