It's been over a week since our writing group brunch, and I've neglected to mention the excellent discussion we had about synopses -- most particularly, mine. I've been tempted to post my synopsis here in past weeks, but decided against it. After all, it wouldn't be good to reveal the story and ending to all you potential readers! However, I did send it around to the group for their opinions on whether or not it was working.
The main problem, they told me, was too much plot. Secretly I knew this, I think, but it's very hard to make judgments on your own work. I wrote a fabulous synopsis of someone else's novel; much better, they said, than my own. Yeah, well, I knew that too. It's easier to be ruthless about someone else's work and highlight the interesting stuff. When it comes to your own work, it's all essential!
So. There were other comments of course. More romance, for instance. This is something I had intentionally downplayed thinking it might sound corny, but it seems that was a bad decision. Fantasy readers want romance (me included), so I should make it clear there's a relatively strong romantic thread.
They also wanted more world building, more fantasy setting and grandeur, particularly at the start. This was unexpected. Thinking it was important to demonstrate I could tell a story, I had focused on plot and skirted over much of the fantasy world stuff. Stupid when you think about it, because the latter is far more of a strength in my writing than the former. However, to offset this, it's important not to use too many made-up words. There's a challenge!
So now I am working on a revised synopsis and will send it around again for more comment. Hopefully I can breathe a little more life into the next version.