Found This in my Slush Pile...

*I found this in amongst my writing and I was laughing my butt off. Who was I talking to? I DO NOT remember writing this. No idea when I wrote this. But damn is it ever true!

Synopsis. 

Just like that I start off with a  swear word. Beware, I plan to throw that one around a bit. Already, those of you who aren’t writers think it’s a disease I won’t survive. 

I might not. 

The Synopsis. It’s so evil, few can tell you exactly what it is, yet every agent wants one eventually, every writer will be like me, up at three in the morning, wondering what the hell they can say to do their novel justice, and catch attention of an agent who suddenly holds more power than them.
I am a writer, I am a community developer, and I am a mother. Not in that order, not in any order. Actually, at any time of the day, I’m all three, even right now at three am. 
I need sleep. 
I can’t sleep. 
I have a plot running through my head. I have an adrenalin rush. I want to do three things. I want to find a way to get my stories to the world, I want to save the world, and I really want to wash my kitchen floor. 
At three am. 
I really am brilliant at this time of the day, ain't I?
My editor hard at work at 3 am with me


And so, enters The Synopsis. 

Wait. I hear children walking upstairs. Don’t they ever sleep? What’s wrong with them? 

Forget them, what I need is a checklist.
I need this one piece of writing to:
  • have voice
  • sum up an entire manuscript
  • outline the basic plot
  • really accentuate my characters and how much I just love them, well... that one annoys me. Okay, let's just try to really give my characters personality that makes them stand out. Voice? Did I already say that one? Actually, not voice twice that's just redundant, it needs... a magical way for me to describe a character I just took 100k to develop. In a sentence would be best. No more than two. Okay moron- if you could do that why waste your time on 100k? Really? No wonder this feels impossible.
  • highlight the major conflict in a powerful way
  • show the action. Yes. It really must be exciting. and sexy. Can The Synopsis be sexy? Probably not so scratch that. 
  • be perfect in every possibly freaking way. 
Essentially, I’m asking for a miracle. 

I read what I rewrote. (I’m on draft ninety-seven). If a miracle can happen, it should be about now.

I’m so tired, I hear voices, but I have to get up for work soon, so I need to put those voices to good use.
Maybe it’s time to put that away and look at The Query. Sorry if I offend anyone with all these bad words. 

The Query. I got goosebumps because this one little paper defines me as a writer. Nothing I put in it will do my book justice, so I put in very little, hoping to intrigue, to get the agents to read The Synopsis which by some miracle will be great.
There, I woke my husband with all my swearing. He wants to know why I insist on torturing myself like this? Am I nuts? Obsessed? 
Probably. 
My friends say I have passion, my enemies just don’t talk to me. (Do yours?) I’m not sure which one he is right now, but by the scowl on his face, he’s on the fence. I have better things to do than procrastinate like this, but at three am, if you’re reading this, you know what that scowl means, and feel my hope. A miracle isn’t far off. Inspiration has to be hiding behind him.
I once got a sympathy card for a dog that passed away, it moved me to tears because I couldn't believe they knew something I didn't know- I was upset inside but had no idea how to express it. I get the same feeling when I read The Synopsis. There are emotions there that must come out, but how in 500 words? Someone send me a sympathy card please!

The Query just sends me to the washroom with dry heaves, so I put it away. I don't need that tonight. Save it for when I need to fake sick in a hurry.

If I get past this step, I won’t look back. 
Yeah, I will. I plan to tell every writer that they aren’t alone, that at three am, I’m up, too. I taste the vomit in those words and smell the fear around my desk. 
I plan to walk the world spreading the good news: There is hope. 
I haven't found it yet, but it's there someplace. 
Well. 
Not a three am, don't be ridiculous, I'll catch up to it in the morning.
You know what the problem is? After all that work on a novel-- and I did work hard at it, ask my scowling husband who supports me. Ask my children who are sleeping in my spot. Ask my enemies, they were all made during the process. They all know. I worked hard-- and now I have to beg a stranger to read it by creating something that I can’t even pronounce and shove it in his face ( or hers) like a hundred other great writers plan to do this weekend.
I will see rejection. I will develop a thick skin. I won’t let it affect me. 
Yet, I will self-doubt. 
What will never change? Me, sitting here at three am. 
I am obsessed. 
I am nuts. 
My husband says admitting it is part of the process and he goes back to bed, proud of me. Why is he always so proud of me? If just once I could see "lost cause" written in that scowl, I'd pack up and live happily ever after, but no, that pride... it just make me try harder.

And there it is! 
I feel it. Hope. (I knew it was behind him. It always is.) 
After The Synopsis there is The Full. That sounds nice. I like full things, don't you? Actually, I even like partial things.

* hahahaha. You ever come across things you don't remember writing but still ring true? Ever feel this despair and hope at 3 am? Here's to the voice of sanity that only strikes at 3 am. lol.

8 comments:

Trisha said...

hahaha. Wow, you were sleep deprived that night! This was a fun read, even if I do feel mean enjoying your writerly anguish as it was captured in this moment. ;)

Richard said...

This is typical Tanya--madness disguised as sanity.

Victoria Lindstrom said...

Hey Tanya! I can relate. Last night at my critique group, it turned into a support group for our collective zaniness! You're the best! :-)

Jenny said...

Oh, my, this was too funny. I especially loved the part that said "Okay moron- if you could do that why waste your time on 100k? Really? No wonder this feels impossible."

LOL! my feelings exactly!

of course, if you self pub, you don't have to worry about this kind of stuff. some fodder to think about.

Teresa Cypher said...

I love it. Nope, I mean...I feel your pain. And I feel guilty, too. Your writer's insomniac-anguish made such good entertainment. *sigh* Okay...I admit, it wasn't so much the entertainment (but it was entertaining). It was actually how I kept nodding my head in agreement as I read it. You are not alone. :-)

Carol Riggs said...

Yes! Sometimes I read past blogposts even and it's like someone else wrote them. ;o) Enjoyed your trials and tribulations with the idea of writing synopses and queries!

Vicki Tremper said...

LOLOLOLOLOL! You are SO brilliant at 3 am! I love saving the query "for when I need to fake sick in a hurry." Brilliant, I tell ya.

J.L. Campbell said...

Tanya,

I think all of us are a little nuts. We might not readily admit it, but we are. Sometimes the query process feels the way I imagine dogs feel when they chase cars.