Thursday, June 25, 2009

Writing the Stinkin' Synopsis...NOT FUN...but Worth It

Missy Tippens here. First, I wanted to include this photo from a recent book signing at my church, with my husband by my side. We had a good turnout! And I appreciate all the support from my church family.
Okay, now on to my post that was supposed to be last week. I've discovered that Blogger still hates me and won't let me cut and paste from a Word document. I just don't think I'm supposed to post about synopses!
So I'm going to have to re-type the post--an abbreviated form because I'm already late posting.
Writing my synopsis has been driving me crazy. Not so much from having to decide what to include as how to say it. What to include has been easier this time because I've used The Paradigm chart from Carolyne Green's Prescription for Plotting Notebook. The chart includes blanks for the inciting incident, for leading up to plot points, for turning point events, for places to "tighten the screws" and for the black moment, crisis and resolution.
I have the chart done, and have written the synopsis, but I'm just not sure I have the ending the way I want it. And it's driving me crazy! I really need to make a decision and go with it. I just wish I could go back to happily writing the chapters. But this writing business isn't all fun. It's hard work. I'm so thankful, though, because it's worth every minute of the work. And no reward is better than a letter from a reader.
I recently received a sweet email from a reader that touched me so much. He shared he'd lost his wife a few months ago, and my story has helped him.
That makes it totally worth it to write the stinkin' synopsis! So I'll quit griping and get back to work...
What about you? Do you have some kind of routine or aid for writing a synopsis?
Missy second book for Steeple Hill Love Inspired, His Forever Love, is on the shelves now!


  1. I hate writing synopsis too. But once they're done, doesn't it feel great!

  2. Ugh! I HATE writing a synopsis, so I have no advice or plan. But I will certainly take all the help I can get.

  3. Eileen, I do like to finish one! :) It's kind of tempting to write The End when I finish! LOL

    Mindy, do you have the Prescription for Plotting Notebook? If so, try that chart!

  4. I don't hate them as much as I used to. First I have to create my character sketch of the main characters. Then I start with an elevator pitch that describes the main goal of the two main characters and why they can't achieve it. This is usually the first paragraph.

    Then I write a paragraph giving a few details about her, introducing her character more and her personality. Another paragraph on him doing the same thing.

    I write a couple of paragraphs layering their emotion and their reactions to each other and their obstacles.

    Now its time to introduce their spiritual flaws and how it affects their decisions.

    At this point all the intro stuff is covered, now I start writing paragraphs that explain how the characters begin to change, I include the plot turns that begin this internal thought process. This builds to the climatic scene.

    Another paragraph covers the climatic scene. The rest of the paragraphs tell how each problem is solved.

    The final paragraph shows how they love each other and their faith somehow made them realize it and gives them a whole new perspective on life and their future.

    I keep all my synopses 3-4 pages. This is a good range that can be shortened or lengthened depending on the editor/agent requirements. Most will be satisfied with a 3-pager.

  5. I used Carolyn Greene's tool that Missy uses and I like it. It made sense and helped me organize my synopsis.

  6. Jenn, I love how you described your synopsis writing! I'll have to refer back to this next time I'm writing one.

    Christy, I'm glad you're finding it useful, too!