Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Boiling it all Down

I've never met a novelist who enjoyed writing a synopsis of his or her book. Let's face it - after sweating over the detail of the text for close to a year, after living every moment of pleasure or pain with your characters, why would you want to reduce the thing down to a few hundred words of inelegant prose? They say: 'He who translates, betrays.' They should have said: 'He who writes a synopsis, mutilates.'

Someone recently told me of a game - writing a one-sentence synopsis for a famous book. The Lord of the Rings came out as: 'Small people go to extraordinary lengths to dispose of stolen jewelry.' Accurate, but perhaps missing some of the grandeur of the original work.

And just to prove how little a synopsis really conveys, here's another one: 'Thirty-something leaves step-father's carpentry business to go fishing.'

synopsis writing is certainly an ordeal. As for writing the back-blurb - don't even go there!

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