I am inside the fascinating and slightly torturous exercise of writing the synopsis of “Inside the River.” I have to summarize the entire book into one single-spaced page. My book is over 94,000 painstakingly chosen words and I’ve just spent the last week writing out every scene in the book so I can start paring it down, and cutting out periphery characters and moments. I need to find the one thread of the story, and let that thread capture the magic and entice the publishing world.
How to pick one thread? If we went through our lives, or even a year of our life, how can we pick the thread that wounds itself around the scenes of our lives propelling our story forward in ways memorable as well as full of mistakes. Do we ignore the errors (we only get a page) or do we recognize how those choices led us to where we are now? And what about the minor characters who were fun and exciting or memorable for their reasons…how hard it is to not mention them at all.
The skeleton of our life becomes those moments when we decided to do something or were terrified and did nothing and let others decide. What happens to a story or a life when that thread is not our own? What happens to the thread when pulled ragged or left slack for so long? What happens if the thread doesn’t make sense by itself or is so complex that it ends up becoming a knot?
Oh, the thread analogy can go on for a long time, and so can this part of the process if I let it. I guess I just have to trust the story I’ve written, and let the hook speak for itself:
Ana is forced to wear a cap to hide the blue in her hair because her mother believes she is a demon born from the river. When the fish sing to Ana, she dives in and away from her suffering, washing the blood off her thighs. She becomes Ana the fortune teller, and meets Eloisa, a red-headed gypsy who has been searching for the one who made the fish forget their pact of silence and sing.
Emma lives in today’s world, with a young daughter and an abusive husband. One day, she meets Antonio, a blue-eyed old man who tells her she looks like Ana, the story passed down through generations of his family –a son of sons, born beside a daughter of many daughters. Emma becomes enraptured by the story that tickles her memory. Was their meeting coincidental? How comes she feels like Ana is real? And why, upon hearing the story of Ana, does she begin to harness her courage to heal?
“Inside the River,” is the character driven story of two women, set in different times, seductively crossing the line between reality and magic.
So grateful for any advice….xoxo