Monday, April 11, 2011

Synopsis Thoughts

Ha! Are you still reading? I sometimes think the word synopsis scares everyone away. I'm getting ready to write one, and trust me, I'm about scared away.
I found a gem of a piece of advice regarding writing the synopsis. I'm sure I've heard it before over the years, but you know, depending on where you are in this CRAZED writing journey some things stick, some things need to be revisited later.

This piece of advice came from Rita award winning author Alicia Rasley.

She says it's a mistake to think of the synopsis is a summary of the plot. She says it should be a summary of the story. And after judging a couple of contests recently, her point was brought home.

What a learning tool! As I judged the contests, I got a clearer picture of her suggestion. Instead of merely stating paragraph after paragraph of events in the order they are happening, the synopsis needs to be the whole journey. Emotional, spiritual, romantic. Whatever elements you have included in your manuscript. My personal breakdown of what she is saying is this: Write the synopsis with FEELING!
The caps are for me, folks. Yes. As I begin to write the synopsis for the novel I just finished, I need to remember FEELING the journey with the characters and transport that onto the pages.

This is my question for you today. Tell me how you FEEL about synopsis. Love them, hate them? Long or short? Easy or difficult?

Lindi P.
Happy Endings Are Just The Beginning


  1. Just what I needed today. :) I, too am judging contests right now and have noticed I need to rewrite my synopsis.

  2. Katy,
    I learn so much from judging contests. I really enjoy the judging part, and I see things in other manuscripts that I know I need to work on in mine. Especially if something is done well.

  3. Lindi, have you noticed how few writers are willing to let anyone read their synopsis? I can only think of less than a handful that actually put them up online. And that to me sums up about how authors feel about them.

    I do wish we could write them longer, because condensing and cramming everything in at the same time as we strive to keep it interesting and emotionally charged is a mental workout :)

    Thanks for that quote to keep in mind the next time I sit down to write one.

    Good luck writing yours!

  4. Well, Lindi, I don't like writing a synopsis, but I don't hate them the way some talk about it. My problem with writing a synopsis is that you have to plan your entire story out to write it. Now, for you and all the other pantzers, writing the synopsis last works for you.

    But, alas, I have discovered that I write better as a planner. When I sit down to write a synopsis, I'll often draw a blank after a certain point. Then I have to stop and put a lot more thought and planning into the story before I can finish that dreaded synopsis. However, once the synopsis is done, writing that first draft is so much easier.

  5. Eva, I agree! It's a mental workout. This bit of information hasn't left my brain since I read it months ago, and lately I can't seem to remember anything. So I'm figuring I NEED to remember this.

  6. Dianna, You definitely have to have a plan for a synopsis. I have written them for contests and such before my manuscript is finished. They are always very vague.
    I still think it's kind of hard after the fact because then you know what needs to go in there. I have more trouble going that route than the vague route.

  7. I HAVE to write them first now, to sell a book. It was so painful in the beginning. But I'm getting better at it as I learn to plot and plan better.I'm also finding it might be easier to do it first so I don't put every little plot point in! :)

  8. Missy,
    You do have a point about putting all the plot points in. If you haven't written it, you may not 'know' them all.