Do You Want A Synopsis?

12 Oct

A Slenderman Musical by Paul Shapera

I’ve been debating whether or not to include a synopsis with the Slenderman Musical, a written telling of the plot for clarity.

I usually don’t include one, and by usually, i mean never. I’m not against it in principle, i just strive hard to make sure the entire plot is clearly told in the piece. The Slenderman Musical is no different. There is no dialogue that is not in the album, it’s all there.

I don’t write obscure “concept albums” that you must pour over and over to finally “get”, although obviously it does take repeated listening to catch all the details. However, if the plot is not basically clear on the first listen then i have failed in one of my jobs. I aim to tell a clear story, weird though they may be.

However, i accept that it can be tougher to figure out than i might know. I don’t know, i’ve never listened to any of my work without knowing it beforehand. Maybe people WANT a synopsis. Maybe they’d like to read the story, even if just to confirm that what they think is going on is actually going on. Albums of other musicals and operas sometimes include a synopsis. It’s just… if you read it first you miss the carefully crafted moments of of surprise you’re meant to experience listening. Hell, there’s a few moments knowing about beforehand utterly ruins.

But if all you fine folk have been wishing i would include synopsises this entire time (or maybe you were fine without them until, say, the Atompunk Opera when you wished i had included one) who am i to deny you something that would enhance your enjoyment of the little tale i’m spinning for you?

But if the synopsis, improperly used, would potentially lessen the impact of the thing i spend a year of my life at a time making, then maybe i shouldn’t include it. I will always include lyrics. Always. Perhaps lyrics are enough.

What do i know? Do you want a synopsis?


Posted by on October 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


7 responses to “Do You Want A Synopsis?

  1. J

    October 12, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    I don’t see a strong need for a synopsis if the story is told clear enough. But, if you do include one, an idea: Perhaps, instead of having one big “synopsis”, just put a summary of each song after that song’s lyrics wherever they get posted. One big, separate synopsis runs the risk, I feel, of people accidentally glancing too far ahead and getting things spoiled if they are referencing it while listening; song-by-song summaries might fill the same sort of role of explaining what’s going on in more prosaic terms, while not accidentally spoiling things, and being useful for somebody who can follow along alright until they don’t “get” one particular song. Something like that I would have definitely found helpful in, say, act 4 of The New Albion Guide to Analogue Consciousness (“The Creatures Speak” and “Lost Night’s Lullaby” are somewhat difficult for me to parse the meaning of even after having heard the album so much… though perhaps that’s intentional given the nature of the Angels and Elysium, respectively).

  2. Jimmy Hastings

    October 13, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    As someone who gobbled up the Atompunk Q&A, I definitely like the idea of a synopsis, but present it in such a way that it’s difficult to access your first listen-through. I know I wouldn’t read it before listening to the opera once or twice without, since as you say, there’s something magical about some reveals the first time around. But after a couple rounds through it’d be nice to be able to make sure I didn’t miss any major plot points

  3. wubbledaddy

    October 14, 2015 at 4:34 am


  4. Joseph Seiler

    October 14, 2015 at 5:57 am

    No. Keep the mystery, surprise and intensity of your art.

  5. Inky Llama

    October 14, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Yes please! On behalf of all of your super-dumb-yet-enthusiastic fans, I say ‘yes’! I really appreciate it when works have synopsis or wikis or FAQs, so I don’t have to embarrass myself asking people questions that are apparently really obvious to everyone but me :/

  6. ~AVO~

    October 31, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    I’d suggest posting the synopsis online somewhere people can find them without difficulty, but not where they’ll be too much of a temptation. That way, if you want one, you can read it, and if you don’t, you don’t have to.

  7. Amity

    December 8, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    One thing that helped me immensely with understanding the Steampunk Opera and sequels was having the lyrics there to read along with or to look back at parts to see how they connect. I don’t know your reasons for not having them up, but that might be an alternate to a synopsis that wouldn’t give everything away but could help clarify. I love all your music so far, and can’t wait to get started on the Slenderman musical!


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