I’m synopsizing my way through all the chapters of The Nondescript right now. It’s utterly, utterly boring, and disheartening. Not for any particular reason.
I can take a chapter (in this case, Chapter 8 ) which has a funny dream sequence that’s a send-up to classic pulp-fiction World War II combat pilot stories, horrible language and writing and all, and it’s got interesting meeting scenes with lots of the novel’s characters, and a dramatic almost-fight and so on. And it gets reduced to:
Johnny wakes up from a dream but, before he can get really settled, Dillinger appears and hustles him off the train to hide from the townsfolk who are coming.
There goes all the peculiarity.
I keep reminding myself, of course, that a synopsis isn’t meant to sound exciting and enticing. It’s mostly meant to convey that I know how to carry a plot from chapter to chapter and, most importantly, that I know what my own book’s about and how to end it. That way, an agent or publisher doesn’t read the book and find that, two chapters from the end, it turns into a German Surrealist novel about living and dying as a cleaner of Gondolas.
And I’m writing to tell you this, because it gives me five minutes during which I can avoid writing a synopsis.
(It’s beautiful outside. Early, chilly spring, but the world is more alive than it was last week. I may go write outside. Even that would improve writing a synopsis.)