They're gone and there's nothing I can do about it: my first chapter and synopsis are in Bologna awaiting the critical eye of an children's book industry professional. It's back to the work of Draft 4, only this time with the benefit of a synopsis to focus my efforts.
If a synopsis is so useful, why didn't I do it sooner? My excuse is this: I was trying to find both a compelling story and the voice of my main character. For this I needed the freedom to let the story flow.
So how does one write a proper synopsis? "Start out by trying to tell your story in 50 words," a good writing mentor told me.
Uh...yeah... I'll get right on that.
My first draft, at just under 400 words, was a kind of myopic summary. It touched on all the salient points of the story but it lacked the cohesive thread that would give them their relevance. Then I took my mentor's advice and tried again. Wouldn't you know, it worked! The synopsis I sent off last night has more of a birds-eye feel--at least I think it does.
If I hadn't had Bologna to prepare for, I doubt I would have had the tenacity to persist in the uncomfortable task of boiling 20,000 words to a page. But I did it and now it's back to the novel itself.
What a relief.