The S word.
Whether you call it a synopsis, a summary, or a survey, I call it a giant pain in the ass.
I really hate trying to write them, and I think I’m really bad at it. “Hi! I need you to write something short and descriptive about your book. It has to be intriguing, mysterious, evocative! It has to make people want to read it, nay, yearn to read it! But all of the really cool stuff that might make people go, ‘Hey, this sounds cool, I want to read this!’ is too spoilery, so don’t put any of that stuff in it. Oh, and you don’t want to make it sound like something it isn’t, because then people might think you lied to them and get really mad about it. Good luck! Oh, and can you have that on my desk in an hour?”
I kinda did it to myself, though, because there’s very little that I can say about it — about what it really is — without spoiling it.
When I first started pantsing There’s No Such Thing as Vampires lo, those many years ago, I had no idea where the story was going. At some point after the first few chapters were written, I remember thinking, “Is this going to turn into a satire? Is that what I’m writing?” It kind of felt like that, at first. As it turned out, it wasn’t my snarky, overwrought sense of drama at work, it was… well, not mine. And it makes trying to come up with a synopsis a giant pain in my keister.
Wandering around with an insanely self-defeating voice in your head doesn’t help, because when that voice is awake (which is most of the time), everything sucks. The synopsis, the book, my hair, my brain, my life, my pants, that origami crane I just folded in a vain attempt to find some kind of shortcut to inner peace — all a vast pool of inky bruised-purple suckage.
You know what shuts that voice up? Writing. I never think, “Oh, my GOD, this sucks, I can’t do this, what the hell was I thinking, nobody wants to read my CRAP!” while I’m writing. It’s always before, or after. Never during.