Yeah, I watch too many old movies.
Recently, I read an old comment on a certain sharky-agent’s blog that made me want to either shake my head or bare my tiny little fangs at the commenter.
(Kay, it was posted in 2014 so I’m a little late to the game, but better late than never, eh?)
The commenter basically said that novelists shouldn’t waste their time writing novels. They should just write synopsis after synopsis and turn those in to agents because it’s the idea that sells, not the writing. HA!
I wonder if that guy (or gal) knew how rare new ideas are nowadays. Back in the 16th century, things were simpler. No one really knew much of anything, so everything was new and shiny. But now? Maybe your very specific dystopian or fantasy world hasn’t been put down on paper yet, but worlds like it have. Your character’s traits have all existed before. Your superpowers, captains of starships, mysteries, and forbidden romances have all been around for ages. I’ve read a lot of books with great concepts that were executed by poor writing. And yes, those books died. It’s really the writing that sells.
Yes, you can show how good your writing is through a synopsis. There’s just something a book has that a synopsis can just barely grasp at. Books have the entire character. They have changes of pace and tone with different scenes. They show that you can write well consistently for the length of the novel, not just for the page or two of synopsis. (Believe it or not, getting a novel-sized pile of words written down is actually a challenge.) They have plot lines and threads of subplots, heart-stopping action and chest-squeezing confessions. A synopsis is just the bare bones of your story. It can be pretty, funny, and interesting as hell, but it’s not complete. And no one wants to marry a skeleton.
The publishing world already moves slower than snail-paced. Getting an agent’s attention and then telling them, “Just wait a couple months ’til I write the book, kay?” is ridiculous. And if you think spending your time actually writing a story is a waste of your time and resources like that commenter did, you don’t deserve to be called a writer. A dreamer yes. Maybe a disconnected-from-reality-what-drugs-are-you-on dreamer, but not a writer.