Synopsis Mini Course Part 2
Surviving critique and revision in writing is
as tough as backpacking the
Appalachian Trail.  But it can be done!

Okay.  My revised synopsis critique came back. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to hate question words.  You know the type.  Why did you do that?  How did this make you feel?  When did this happen?  What exactly do you mean by that?  What finally made you decide?  Where’s the trigger?  Why now? 
Why, why, why?  How, how, how?  I feel like I’m in therapy.  She’s worse than my children with all her questions.  It seemed like everything I wrote wasn’t specific enough for this editor.  
All these details are supposed to be in the synopsis? 
There are mountains of messages in my margins.
She picked on my phrasing:
            This is too formal.
            What happened to your humorous voice?
She unpacked my factual sentences:
            Clip some facts here.
            Sprinkle some other facts throughout the synopsis.  
She tried to get me to move from the general to the specific:
            Why is this important?
            What’s the bigger picture here?
             Comment on your experiences.
She poo-pooed my maxim: 
What is this statement tied to?  It feels random –
            I’d said, “Opportunity changes lives.”  [I thought it was one of my themes.]
This seems like a stretched reference:
            No person is an island.  [Okay…it is…but doesn’t it sound cool?]
Transition lines were missing.  So were some explanations.  I’m supposed to step back and reflect—even in the synopsis.  Then some of my reflections are too abstract, and others need to be more specific to me.  
Pick!  Poke!  Shred! 
…Boy, is she good.    
She helped me put my voice back into the synopsis.  I had changed some of the language, and even I thought it sounded too stilted.  I thought I needed to sound educated.  Obviously there’s a huge difference between educated and my particular voice.
I reminded myself that I asked for this carnage.  Unfortunately, it still stings.  But it’s the only way for the manuscript to get better.  For a writer to learn of her weaknesses.  To see what she can no longer see for herself in the manuscript story.  Don’t you think so?
As I sit here licking my synopsis wounds, crying into my teacup, I berate myself to get over it and send the entire manuscript in for a formal undressing if only to see what’s worth saving, what should be expanded upon.  This is my college journey, a ten-year ordeal.  Let’s not make the writing of it also a ten-year ordeal, Victoria.    

Thanks for listening.  Your insight is invaluable to me.  Feel free to share any experiences you have or to offer any tips.  Thank you!

10 thoughts on “Synopsis Mini Course Part 2”

  1. Yes, Marie, I think it is, too. Yet, I can see how it helps to clarify the writing in progress. Thanks so much for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog and leaving a note. Always a pleasure to hear from you.

  2. It's good that you have someone to look through your synopsis, even if she is questioning so many things you wrote. I remember English teachers in college who would just put a grade on your essay, but not actually tell you what was wrong. Hang in there. It is all worth it!

  3. A good critique usually feels like that: frustrating. I like to take a day or two just to let all those comments simmer. Because after digesting the comments and getting over the initial reaction, tackling the edits can even be–fun, believe it or not!

  4. You know, it's easy for us to say that we can take constructive criticism. But the actual taking of it can be harder than we think. For sure! lol Glad that you got some good input. It's hard but I'm sure your writing will shine as a result. Keep at it! 🙂

  5. Thank you, Michelle. Yes, I had those type of English professors, too, the ones who just placed a red grade with no explanation. How are you supposed to get better with no comments as to what to improve. Thanks so much for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog and leaving a note. Always a pleasure to see you here.

  6. Fun, Jennifer?? I agree with allowing the comments to simmer. I usually do that with any critique to really think about how to improve the manuscript or decide if the comment actually applies to what I am writing. I also agree that this is a good critique. I desperately want and need to know what is not working and what needs to be clipped, clarified, or enhanced. I usually nibble at the edits, starting with the easier stuff, until the edits are all addressed one way or another. But, fun? At least in revision there is something to hold on to as you expand and expound. Thank you so much for visiting Adventures in Writing. Your comments are invaluable to me.

  7. Thank you so much for this, Karen. Yes, it is hard. We are only human and, as writers, looking for approval. I think with these comments the writing will get better and, I hope, shine brightly. Thanks so much for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog and leaving a note. Always a pleasure to see you here.

  8. That would be me. Get all the way somewhere and not have the very thing I need to do what I came for.

    Thanks for joining in the meme fun. I'm not the only one responsible though. We have Tara Tyler and Christine Rains to thanks for coming up with this one. 🙂

  9. Well thank you all for this wonderful opportunity to be a part of the blog hop. I'm meeting and connecting with wonderful people online and enjoying some new blog material. Thanks for your kind words. Hope to see you again here at Adventures in Writing.


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