Synopsis – The Revenge

Oh, I knew I shouldn’t have written the last post about doing the synopsis. https://cormacokeeffecrime.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/doing-the-synopsis-spin/Complacency had got the better of me, thinking, I had actually cracked it, save for a few tweaks.Pintrest Book in You

But then I sent it off to one or more two people, one of whom came back with a detailed analysis, requiring a significant rewrite. What followed was further days of head scratching, hand wringing and howls of despair. The problem was that I was spending what little spare time I had still on the synopsis, when I needed to go back to my actual chapters. I was preparing a submission to the Irish Writers’ Centre http://www.writerscentre.ie/  Novel Fair (deadline 5pm Wednesday 16 Oct), which required a 300-word synopsis and your first five chapters.

I had promised myself this wouldn’t be a last minute job, but, guess what, it was. I read the re-written synopsis to a second writers’ group on Monday and got great advice. One thing I have found with synopses is the sheer range of views from writers, gurus and agents as to what should be in it and how to write it. Anyway, I took on board the advice for a final rewrite last Wednesday morning. I went over the chapters on Tuesday morning and again on Wednesday morning.

It is amazing/unbelievable the mistakes you still find in your manuscript despite hundreds of readings and checks. Eventually, I got it all together and, with the good services of my wife, who got totally drenched doing so, it was delivered to the centre mid Wednesday morning, where it was added to two “large sacks” of other applications (and it was still just the morning).

Anyway, success or not, it is an achievement to have actually done it. I hadn’t anticipated the time-consuming detour the synopsis was going to be, but it served a great purpose in establishing in my own mind what my story is, what is at stake, how do the characters change and all that.

The lump in my stomach is that I have about 80 odd chapters in the novel and given the amount of work and time I’ve put into the first five, I reckon it will take me until well into next year to finish just this draft. For the competition you have to have your finished novel by third week of January.

For those caught in the synopsis spin, here’s a few links that helped me..

http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/how-to-write-a-synopsis.html

http://www.writing.ie/resources/really-useful-links-for-writers-writing-the-synopsis/

http://janefriedman.com/2011/10/25/novel-synopsis/

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About Cormac O'Keeffe

I am writing my first novel. It's a crime novel, a thriller set in Dublin's gangland, along the evocative Grand Canal. This blog is about that bumpy journey. And other things, like fiction reviews and non-fiction reviews, many of them published in the Irish Examiner, a daily national newspaper in Ireland. I work as crime and drugs reporter there, and have been since around 2001. Both my personal life and my professional life have fed into my novel, or, rather, have been poured into it. My novel was granted a literature bursary by the Irish Arts Council in September 2014 and my journalistic work has won multiple awards from the Law Society of Ireland over many years, most recently in 2015.
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2 Responses to Synopsis – The Revenge

  1. Susan Condon says:

    Well done, Cormac, made it by the skin of my teeth too – Tuesday evening – and I too swore I’d be ready with time to spare . . . Best of luck :o)

  2. CJ O'Keeffe says:

    Well done Susan! Looking forward to hearing more of your work. It’s been a while since we’ve met at the group. Hopefully see you at next one – Friday week, I think.

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