Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Writing the Synopsis Part 1

Hi. Missy here, filling in for Angie. I just finished writing a synopsis over the weekend. Then today on the Faith, Hope and Love email loop, one of the writers had a question about what to include in a synopsis. So I thought it might be fun to do a two-day discussion about how we write our synopses. And I thought I’d use parts of my synopsis for Her Unlikely Family as examples.

The writer on FHL asked what to include on the character description part of a synopsis. And she wondered if you include a physical description.

What I do is include a little about each main character’s goals and personality and possibly his or her career. Then I also mention some backstory to let the reader know what brought the character to the point where the story starts. And I hint at the upcoming conflict.

Here are the first few paragraphs of my synopsis for Her Unlikely Family:

Michael H. Throckmorton, III, fourth generation bank owner, is all business. God put him on the earth to study, to work, to marry and procreate. All for the sake of the bank. At least that’s what he tries to tell himself each time he begins to need more.


What he doesn’t need, as guardian of his niece, Lisa, is the distraction of hunting down the sixteen-year-old runaway when he’s on the verge of bringing in a major account. He also doesn’t need the hassle of dealing with a greasy-spoon waitress in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where Lisa was last seen.


After always being forced into a mold she didn’t fit, Josie Miller ran away at age eighteen, eschewing her family status and wealth. She’s tried to be true to herself, true to her beliefs, and to depend on no one. But what she really needs is to be loved and accepted for who she is.


Now she’s promised this runaway, Lisa, that she’ll protect her from the uncle who doesn’t really want her. Unfortunately, the guy is gorgeous and nice—if a little stiff and formal. And he’s clueless when it comes to caring for a teenage girl.



What about you? How do you describe your characters in your synopsis? What do you include? Also, are there any particular methods you use to write one? Feel free to share an example of your character description!


Missy

5 comments:

  1. I wanted to add that I usually bold the character names the first time I use them, but it didn't come through on the cut and paste. :)

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  2. I don't think I include enough about the characters. But I think that as we get to know them better the real "them" comes through as we revise the synopsis.

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  3. Lindi, I still need to try the Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method for writing one! But that's useful when you're writing it before writing, I assume. What do you think??

    Missy

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  4. Ah yes, I spent all last week working on a synopsis. Bleck! Next time I do believe I will be doing the synop before I write the story. Maybe :-)

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  5. Mindy, I love that word--bleck. :) It's so descriptive. LOL

    Missy

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