Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Writing A Synopsis - Lesson Three

Now that we've written the back page blurg and introduced the characters including their goals and what is keeping them from reaching that goal, we need to get into the "middle" of the synopsis. Don't get caught up in putting in too many details. This is the hard part. You must pick out the most important parts of your story and no matter how important each piece is to you...the editor doesn't want to know all the little details. Think "condensed" version.

The easiest way to decide which points to include is to write a high level outline. For each novel you will have three main turning points. The first comes about 1/4 of the way through the book. This is where the hero or heroine MAKES A DECISION to do something that takes the story in a new direction. The second comes at the half-way point. This is a MAJOR turning point and must be high stakes. The third comes about 3/4 of the way through the book. If you have identified these three major points, then you can easily write this part of the synopsis. Remember to keep it simple and to avoid telling every little detail.

Here is the beginning and middle of the synopsis for FOXFIRE.

GRACE WILKINS knows about disappointment, about guilt, and about fear. She's spent her life running away from all three until she finds the perfect hiding place in a small mountain community. At twenty-eight years of age, she's finally put down roots. The murdering mobster she once slept with will never find her here. Nothing bad ever happens in Foxfire, Tennessee.

TYLER SANDFORD is a thirty-five year old undercover agent who is soured on his current job. He's haunted by guilt over his wife's death at the hands of a convicted felon, who remains at large. Tyler wants to turn in his gun and utilize his veterinarian degree to begin a new life somewhere far away. Perhaps then he'll be able to sleep at night.

Then MAX CLAYTON, the man who killed Tyler's wife, resurfaces with a new face and begins picking off the people who testified against him. Tyler moves to Foxfire with a dual purpose--to set up his veterinary practice and use Grace to flush out Max. When Tyler finds Grace unemployed, he hires her to work in his clinic. Though he never mixes business and pleasure, he's having a difficult time keeping his hands off her. She's sexy, tough, and as vulnerable to their mutual attraction as he is.

Strange things begin to happen. A serial killer leaves his fifth victim's body behind the only restaurant in Foxfire. Grace's weird neighbor begins making veiled threats after seeing Tyler and Grace in a compromising embrace. Someone leaves roses on Grace's doorstep and she receives a package that sets her fear racing once again--Max has found her. Someone brutally stabs Grace's dog, and she turns to Tyler to save her canine friend. She spends the night on Tyler's couch and wakes to overhear him talking on the phone about the man she's been hiding from for three years. She barges into the bedroom and confronts Tyler who is pointing a gun straight at her.

A bitter argument turns into raging passion and the two find themselves tangled together in Tyler's bed sheets. Sated and basking in the afterglow, Grace is only amused when Tyler's boss, JAKE SCOTT walks in on them. He shows them a picture of Max's new face. Grace tells them she's seen Max in Foxfire. She convinces Tyler and Jake to let her work with them to capture Max.

Then her world is turned upside down. Her best friend's house is bombed and he is rushed to the hospital. Knowing Max is responsible, Grace fears for the other people she loves. At that point she realizes she's fallen in love with Tyler. She must work alone, setting herself up as bait to catch her nemesis.

Good luck and happy writing. Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Apologies for posting this a day late.

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