Seconds like sand

*Don’t forget – you can read Chapters 1 and 2 right now! Click here to get reading*

As a writer there is no more important time to grab your reader’s attention than in the opening of a synopsis. A synopsis needs that punch; needs that grab of the hair and that smack in the face. It is going to sell the next eighty thousand-or-so words so it has to be spot on. And with seconds like sand, slipping between your fingers, every syllable must count.

Hourglass
The sands of time
I read somewhere that a majority people will read less than 62 words on a page before clicking off and moving on – so if you’re still with me then I must have done something right! You’ve no doubt heard that thing about first impressions too. All in all, it’s those first few lines that have to hook the reader and not let them wriggle free, and quickly drag them into the world of an exciting story.

Over the past week I have had excruciating amounts of fun (see how I use the word excruciating?) developing my synopsis, making sure it contains only what it needs to and doesn’t go into too much detail – both of which my first attempts completely failed at.

With all of my synopses over the years I have always gone with the three simple lines to introduce it, and they are the following:

3 Tiers June 16
I always thought those three lines summarised the starting point of this story pretty well, and also added in something different that you don’t hear in any story about someone who is ‘wanted’. They are wanted by the Law, yes, but what about the People? I wanted to make it clear that the People, being the society, the nation they live in, certainly didn’t want them either.

This was a final copy of a synopsis that I developed over the week with some help from fellow authors:

The Wanted of the Law. The Unwanted of the People. The Evergreen Family.

The Evergreen family have just been framed for the first murder in one hundred years, bringing an end to the paradisal nation in which they live.

Their only hope for freedom lies further than they could have ever imagined … in a young boy called Alex, from centuries before, on the night his parents mysteriously disappear.

As destinies collide and the dark forces that framed the Evergreens rise, hunting them down through time, can Alex help the family discover the secrets to their innocence before it’s too late?

It has only been since writing this post, however, that I’ve been thinking maybe I could be even punchier still. If i’m being honest, the above is almost the tame version of what the synopsis could be – it’s very much focussed on intrigue and mystery rather than making a statement. I find myself sometimes reading the above and thinking where is the hair grabbing moment? Where does it jump off the page as being something different, unique and, well, awesome?

Into Book
Come on in…
Maybe something more like this might work…

The Evergreen family have killed.

It is the first murder in one hundred years. 

Their freedom lies buried deep in the past.

Framed for a crime they did not commit, the Evergreens are forced to abandon their home, and their lives, in order to survive. 

Their only hope for salvation lies further than they could have ever imagined … in a young boy called Alex from centuries before. The snowy night in 1993 that they return to however is unlike any other – it is the night that Alex’s parents mysteriously disappear, never to be seen again.

As destinies collide and the dark forces that framed the Evergreens rise, hunting them down through time, can Alex help the family discover the secrets to their innocence before it’s too late?

Neither is perfect, but either way it’s safe to say that the synopsis is still in development and will likely be all the way up until the day it’s published.

The week ahead

The rest of this week I’m busy creating a Facebook page for you to follow the development of this story in an easy and accessible way. I’m hoping for that to go live sometime next week. Don’t forget this Saturday coming I’ll be posting all about what this story is trying to tell and what makes it so unique.

All the while, I’ll still be going through Book 1 on it’s final ever edit before it officially goes off to an editor. I’m up to Chapter 6 of 21, so nearly a third of the way there!

Have a good week and I’ll see you on the weekend.

LJJ

*P.s you can follow the new Instagram feed right here!*

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