Monday, August 18, 2008

Thoughts on writing a synopsis

Not my favorite thing in the world.  But here's a tip I used for my last synopsis, which I found very helpful when I became stuck.  3x5 cards.  I tend to sometimes ramble about my characters, their motivations and backgrounds to the point where I'm two pages in a haven't yet introduced my plot.  Big mistake.  What helps me stay on track and write a synopsis that moves forward, that has action and momentum, is writing each event (no back story, no internal stuff, just action) in the story on a 3x5 card, one or two lines, like"  Charlie goes to Underground to talk to her snitch.  I arrange them in chronological order and as I write the synopsis, I refer to these events and make sure that I include them.  Some I leave out because no one wants a twenty page synopsis!  (I like mine under ten pages, for sure.  Four to six is where I usually fall.)  So, I pick the main events, the things that propel my story from beginning to end, and in this I weave my characters, goals and motivations.  

I think this would also work if you wrote your synopsis with lots of plot and neglected the internal stuff and character details.  You could write these on 3x5 cards to help weave into the synopsis . . .     

5 comments:

LeeAnn Flowers said...

Thanks for the insight. I hate trying to decide what should and shouldn't go into a synopsis. I'll try that next time.

Michelle Miles said...

What a great tip, Kelly! This would also help with plotting. :)

Kelly Gay said...

Thanks LeeAnn!

And Michelle, you're absolutely right! I'll be posting about this and plotting tomorrow. Great minds . . . :D

Pamala Knight said...

Thanks so much for the tips Kelly. I'm trying to put together a synopsis and I'm frustrated to the point of thinking that I'm insane. You're right about needing something to keep you on point so that you don't give too much frivilous information. Your suggestions have already helped.

Kelly Gay said...

That's great to hear, thanks Pamala! And good luck with your synopsis. :)