Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Want a recap of the prior 2 books before diving into Labyrinth of Flame? You're in luck...

So I had this grand plan before The Labyrinth of Flame came out that I was going to put up synopses of The Whitefire Crossing and The Tainted City on my web page, for readers that wanted a recap to refresh their memory before diving into book 3. I see people requesting these types of summaries for series books all the time on various fantasy forums, and I sympathize; when there's a long wait between books, details fade, and if you're not a fast reader, the thought of re-reading can be daunting. 

No problem, I thought. I've got synopses already! One for Whitefire Crossing that I used back when I was first querying the book, and one for Tainted City that I wrote for the cover artist. 

Yeah. Thing is, I forgot just how much the books had changed since I wrote those synopses. (For example, in the version of Whitefire that I first queried, Pello the spy didn't even exist. And in Tainted City's case, I wrote that original synopsis when I was only 1/3 of the way through a serious draft of the book. It's actually quite amusing to look at what I wrote then and compare it to the final product. Broad strokes of the plot are the same, but wow are the details different, including pretty much everything about the ending.)

Anyway, when I realized how much work was needed to update the synopses, right when I was in the throes of book production--I admit it, I chickened out. After all, I reasoned, I'd already done my best to write Labyrinth of Flame such that the reader is reminded of important events/characters when they become relevant (mostly through Dev or Kiran's personal take on the situation). That'd be good enough, right?

For most readers, it has been, or so people have told me. But when I saw someone post on r/Fantasy asking for a summary of Whitefire Crossing and Tainted City, well, I figured it was time to stop cringing from the task. (I find synopsis writing really hard. So hard that back when I'd finished my big revision of Whitefire Crossing and one agent asked for an exclusive, yet I had another agent interested, the tipping point in my decision to grant the exclusive was that agent #2 wanted a revised synopsis. I reasoned that if agent #1 read the revised manuscript & rejected it, THEN I'd go through all the pain of revising the synopsis. But then agent #1 loved it & offered representation, so I was spared! Until now.) 

But synopsis writing is an important skill for an author, and I do feel a tad more comfortable with it now than I did back then. So, behold:
Hope this helps out anyone who needs a refresher! At the very least, it was good practice for me. These are a bit longer than I would do if I was writing for an editor/agent and not readers (Tainted City's in particular covers more details than would be necessary in that case), which made the writing a bit easier. (Condensing is the hard part of synopsis writing.) But I admit I am awfully glad to return to plain old story writing--after a synopsis, even first-drafting seems easy and fun!




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