I’ve been figuratively tugging my hair out trying to write a synopsis for THE NOVEL. I need to condense a four-hundred page novel into two pages. How in the heck do you do such a thing? I spent hours Googling and studying resources from various sources. (BTW – RWA University has a really thorough transcript from a workshop on synopsis.) Then I started writing. I wrote and rewrote and rewrote again. I shipped it off to a friend to review because it sounded flat. And she said, “You’re using too many ‘to be’ verbs.” Duh!!! Mind you, the synopsis is written in third person present tense, so the ‘to be’ verbs just came naturally as I wrote. After all, I’m telling a story. But in a synopsis the story must POP! What’s a girl to do?
First, I created a list of the offending verbs. In case you need a refresher on the ‘to be’ verbs here’s a list: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been. I’ve added these too my get rid of list: had, have, get, got, show.
So what did I do with this list? I went back to my synopsis and used the find feature in MSWord to identify the instances where I used those words. Next up, beefing up those words with active verbs that do something.
Example: The girl is crossing the road. Becomes: The girl crossed the road.
The second sentence works better because it removes the gerund and makes the girl do something. For writer’s active is our friend. Our best friend because it creates a vivid picture for the reader to see.