What’s a good synopsis?

Jay of webcomicscollage.com (a webcomics listing site that since seems to have morphed into a webcomics site in its own right) has written in three times already asking about a synopsis for my collage entry. And he’s right, I really need to get down and do it, not just for the collage, but for the Webcomics List and Onlinecomics.net, too, because the old one there isn’t accurate anymore:

“A girl finds herself in a new world full of demons, conspiracies, teachers and other scary things: primary school. (She’d meet vampires, too, but she’s not allowed to stay up that late…)”

The more I’m unfolding Vol. 2 of Conny Van Ehlsing, the less it’s about school. The first new adventure, Tales From the Sandpit, was set in a playground, and I won’t get into how that changes the mythology of Vol. 1’s The Long Walk Home. The current adventure, Housewarning, is about the Van Ehlsing’s new home. And there are monsters in all of these places. As Conny’s life gets more complex and grown-up, so does the supernatural threat she’s up against. There’s a rough story arc to Vol. 2 that won’t get her back to school until the end of the volume. Vol. 1 was about being thrown into this new, big, spooky world. Vol. 2 is about coming to terms with a world that’s now a whole lot spookier than it used to be altogether.

So, how do I sum all of that up into 2-3 sentences?

(I know a real synopsis in the strictest sense of the word is longer, and it’s not the thing I’m looking for right now anyway. But that’s what these sites call it. What I’m looking for is somewhere between marketing copy, a description, and a tagline. Of course, this is why just googling the term doesn’t help much.)

Here’s a brief list of what should/may be in the synopsis:

  • It’s about a little girl;
  • It’s about monsters;
  • It’s about growing up;
  • It’s about how grown-ups can’t handle the monsters Conny is up against;
  • Or most kids, for that matter;
  • It’s funny;
  • And dramatic;
  • It’s story-based as opposed to, say, a gag strip;
  • It updates on Fridays.

How much of that actually needs to be in the synopsis? Is the update schedule really an integral part? Or the story structure?

“The monsters are real. And the grown-ups can’t help you.” (‘Cause, you know, I kinda like that tagline.) “Since she entered primary school, Conny has learned that the world is more gruesome and complex than she ever thought. And it has monsters in it.”

Well, it’s a start.

“Growing up is a lot about facing your demons. Conny learned that on her first day of school…”

This is gonna take too long.

“In a world where….”

Just kidding.

“By 14, she will be a bad-ass monster hunter. Now she’s six, and she learns that growing up is literally all about facing your demons.”

I like that. But can I say “bad-ass” in a synopsis?

Well, I guess I’ll sleep on it. In the meantime, I’ll browse some of the other synopses on the Webcomics List and see how the big guns in my alley (Girl Genius, Gunnerkrigg Court) are presented.

Comments are welcome, as always. Even more than usual…


One thought on “What’s a good synopsis?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *