Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Synopsis Is Not Difficult To Write

I honestly don't understand what's the big deal, but so many writers out there run in terror when they are told to write a synopsis for their story. "It's soooo hard!!!!" they scream. Far too often, they sound like my kids when they are told to clean their rooms. But here is the real problem. The approach writers are taking when it comes to their synopsis writing is what makes this so hard.

First of all, let's define a synopsis. This is a short summary of your story.

That wasn't so hard, was it?

All that goes into a synopsis is the central story arc. Along the way, we need to know something about the main characters (not the secondary characters, the janitor and the old lady next door). We need to know what the conflict is and we need to know how it is resolved. We need the beginning, the middle and the end. That's it.

Where so many of you struggle is your attempt to include every scene and every last detail. Along the way, you are also trying so hard to show us your amazing creative writing ability. This is not needed. We will see your writing when we read the story.

The synopsis is simply used by editors, agents, art departments and business departments to get a full sense of the story without having to read the whole project. Don't worry, the editors and agents will read your whole story if they like it, or if they are working with it, but in those early stages, this is simply a summary. Think of it as an executive summary your bosses might present to their board of directors about a project that is happening in their company.

Think about writing your summary just like you would tell someone (like your crazy Aunt Maxine) what your story is about. She isn't likely going to read it, but wants to know what the story is about. You don't just say, "It's a murder mystery." The odds are, you tell her the plot.

That's what you put into it.

Keep it short, simple and to the point. Focus on the central story arc. Leave out the smaller points and you should be golden.

1 comment:

  1. Nice, concise explanation. I'm in the process of writing a synopsis right now. I've bookmarked this post to remind myself to keep it simple. :-)