Wednesday Word Tangle: How to turn conception into an autopsy.

Bagged, tagged and on the slab Image: Pixabay

Bagged, tagged and on the slab
Image: Pixabay

Have you ever performed an autopsy? I have. Well, sort of.

There were no guts. Well, not real live (or should that be, real dead – for live autopsies are much frowned upon in these days of Health and Safety) fleshy, tubey, pink and wriggly ones. I did not have to don white Croc shoes or a surgical mask and a bone saw was not needed, which was just as well as mine’s in the shop.

But dissection was required. Along with a steady hand, a sharp mind and a strong stomach. Which is a problem, because at the moment I don’t have any of those things.

But at least I could perform my autopsy sitting down, in the comfort of my own home and without the necessity of plastic sheeting, a chainsaw, black bin liners and duct tape. Actually, that’s a dismemberment, not an autopsy. I’ve really watched too many episodes of Dexter.

Not only that, but I tore apart this particular body whilst drinking copious amounts of tea, eating a body bag’s worth of Custard Creams and without having to wash my hands. Except after having used the loo, of course – I’m not an animal.

This was not an autopsy of the stays-with-you-for-years-especially-returning-on-nights-out-at-the-All-You-Can-Eat-Rib-Shack, but one of a more wordy nature.

For today’s Wednesday Word Tangle word is:

SYNOPSIS

Now, many more experienced novelists reading this will be muttering to themselves,

But, Lynn. How can you compare a synopsis to an autopsy? For surely, you wrote the synopsis before you wrote your novel, then based your writing on the carefully plotted design therein. Surely, the synopsis should more closely be compared to conception, not autopsy?

Yeah, alright, Mrs Smug-Pants. I know now I’m supposed to write the synopsis first. But you see, what you’re forgetting is when I started this story six years ago, my previous writing experience had been in my teens and involved Goth Princesses being whisked away from web-strewn castle turrets to live Happily Ever After on dry roasted peanuts and Pot Noodles. With added talking dragons.

I was blissfully ignorant of the process, so just dived in.

Therefore, to make my present novel ready for submission to agents, I’ve had to write the synopsis after the book was finished. It was a lesson in dissection, for I had to pick apart themes (never realised my novel needed a ‘theme’ before, I naively thought it just had to be a good read) and story arcs and ‘beats’.

Ever had to distil a novel of 80,000 or so words – giving a description of the main characters, key events, turning points and ending, whilst communicating a sense of tension and writing style – down to two sides of A4?

Neither had I.

But now it’s done and the end result is not as awful as I feared, just don’t ask me to write another one.

Until the next time.


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