Monday, December 22, 2008

Tuesdays Tip


Today's writing tip is, to me, one of the basics that any author should master and that is the synopsis. I've often heard aspiring writers say that a synopsis will stifle their creativity. I say, not having one is like taking a trip to a place you have never been without any direction on how to get there.

The synopsis is not meant to chain you to every word or every scene. Rather it is your road map, your guide to take you through your story without multiple detours and distractions.

A synopsis can be as tight or as loose as you wish. But there are some basics that should be included:

The names of your major characters and their role
The theme or thread that holds your story together
The high points/crisis of your story
How your major characters are going to overcome the obstacles you've put in front of them
How you envision your story beginning and the road to resolution

A synopsis is written in present tense. The opening paragraph(ideally) should read the way you would want the blurb on the back of your book to read.

A synopsis tells your story to its conclusion

It should be no more than 3-5 double-spaced pages (for the average commercial fiction novel--longer for sagas)

For anyone thinking about sending their manuscript to a traditional publishing house, mastering the art of the synopsis is crucial. It is the first thing the editor looks for to decide if they want to read your manuscript. It should be your best writing.

For those who go the self-publishing route, the synopsis still serves the purpose of a guide. It will give your story form, and a line to follow which helps to keep you, the writer focused on the chronological progression of the story.

Don't be put off by the thought of the synopsis. You can adjust it as you make adjustments in your novel. Think of it as your road map to your ultimate goal: a completed novel that works!


W.I.L.D Sun Publishers said...

Donna, thank you for sharing with us; you gave some valuable information a writer should incorporate when writing a synopsis.

A synopsis is like a road map giving directions to a destination. Sometimes on the road we run into some unexpected detours that cause us to have to change directions, but we stay the course until we arrive to the place that will give us satisfaction, security and peace. A synopsis gives others the sense of knowing and confidence that we know where we are headed. It gives others the choice of publishing our book, reading it or trashing it. It doesn’t matter what others may say or feel about our work; ultimately it is what we feel about our own product. I guess it boils down to why, what and whom are you writing for. If you are writing because of the passion you feel to write you can say, “whatever” to how others feel or might think and continue to produce. When you write what is burning in your heart, someone else will feel the fire.

Linda Moses

Chris said...

Good post! It's great to have the road map to the road map as a guide.