AutoSynopsis Deficiency Syndrome

Open book with charactersI create, write, pitch, produce and direct ads for a living. It pays for my writing. Everyday, my whole universe is usually 75 words or 30 seconds. Someone spends millions on a company, idea, product or service, and turns to me to sell it in 75 words or less. So when I am asked to do a two page synopsis of my 106,000 word thriller, The God Particle, you would think, “Easy. Do it all day long. A snap!”

Well, three attempts later, and what I have created is a shorter book, 70 pages. Next it was a 10-page rambling, confusing essay on something based on my book and finally…a two-page ‘treatment’ that, unfortunately, reads like it was written on a roller coaster with a fountain pen.

So I got nothing. The ability to encapsulate the work of others is my bread and butter, but the ability to do my own is a crap sandwich.  I do not have the ability to perform autosynopsis. I am too close to the work. I know and birthed every one of the 106 thousand words. I know how interconnected and woven into the fabric of the story they are. As I try to summarize one thread, it leads to another, which, at this point in the garment I have sewn, is equally important. So off I go, pulling on that thread. Do that 10 or 20 times and you get to a short, crisp 70 pages without even approaching the climax.

But wait, a synopsis is not a legal contract, nor is it regulated by any federal law. And really isn’t the job of a short version of your book to sell the mother lode? So why not be more dramatic? Leave out the connectors; hit the big points, the flashy and the showy. Wow, I got it. The Synopsis isn’t the book, it’s a road map of the book. Great, with that kind of thinking…wait, that went nowhere. (50 pages of maps)

Okay, I got it, what does it matter? I mean, lets say I write the following synopsis.

Boy meets girl they have sex, more sex, good sex, then bad sex, somebody gets killed, the other wrongly accused, then the dead one reappears, they have sex again, get married, live happily ever after (or words to that effect).

The agent, publisher or reviewer reads it and the document does its job, and gets them to read the book. Which of course is nothing like the synopsis, except what I just outlined is the plot of a book one of the characters is reading in my book. But they like the whole book.  Who’s going to bitch? Which publishing professional is going to say, “Hey, you know, you turned the tables on us, like we do with practically every cover where we put a sexy girl, a gun or the American flag, to lure the reader, but once they buy the book, we’ve succeeded, nice job doing that to us. “

Eventually I solved the problem of not having been born with the synapses in my brain to perform autosynopsis. I hired a pro to do it.

Tom Avitabile, AutoSynopsis Deficiency Syndrome

Tom Avitabile