Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Writing That Dreaded Synopsis

I am what most writers call a "seat of the pants" or "Panster." I prefer to call myself a "dream writer." I have never been able to outline a novel, or to write a synopsis prior to writing the entire story. That, however, poses the problem with writing my synopsis. What to include?

See, once the story is finished, everything is important! Every plot, every subplot, ever beloved character who makes an appearance. Editors don't care. They don't want to know every single thing that happens. It's boring reading a play-by-play condensation of "the great american novel."

So, what to do? How does one pick out the right thing to include in the synopsis? First and foremost, the genre dictates what should be included. But first you need to know your market. For which house are you writing your synopsis? Let's look at the inspirational romantic suspense. Tough. Three separate things that need to be included. I'm targeting the romance market, inspirational line, suspense category.
Romance should be number one. Bear in mind that number one doesn't mean romance should have the biggest percentage. But I need to focus on characters first, plot second. The characters are going to fall in love. They have a problem that prevents them from being together. That something might be a difference in faith. Aha! So I can grab two areas right away which are included in revealing the characters. Before the end of the book, these differences must be resolved. Danger to the heroine? The hero is devastated that he may lose the heroine before he confesses his true feelings. He realizes he cannot succeed alone. He needs God.

This simplifies the process in a broad way, but it is how a good synopsis should be written. Keep it simple. Don't include every single twist and turn; don't do a chapter by chapter revealing. Do include the characters, their problem, their internal conflict, the black moment when all seems lost, and the resolution wit the happily ever after.

Good luck. I'll work on breaking this down into simpler steps, wuth some examples. Each Tuesday through December will be focused on writing the synopsis. Looking forward to seeing you next Tuesday for lesson one.

Thanks for stopping by.

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