(Craft) The Dreaded Synopsis

I’ve often wondered why writers dread the synopsis.  I think it’s a matter of perspective. If we view the synopsis as a crimp on our creativity, then I can understand that the synopsis seems sterile in comparison to our story. But if we view the synopsis as a road map, then it can be a very useful tool in writing our story.

I am a roadmap kind of person. I like to know where I am going and how to get there. At the same time, I enjoy taking a scenic route that suddenly may appear along the way. Writing a synopsis is the plan for how I will get to the end of my story. But the actual writing allows me to take scenic routes that will get me to the same destination but that will enrich my experience along the way.

When writing your story synopsis, it may help to keep these tips in mind:

1) Begin your synopsis with a hook. Include the inciting incident, your main character, and her goal and motivation for her goal.

2) Describe the main plot points of your story. Do not go into extensive detail. Give just enough information for an agent or editor to be able to follow the chronology of your story.

3) Describe the black moment of your story. Explain your protagonist’s reaction to this black moment. 

4) Describe the resolution of your story. The synopsis is not the place to keep your reader (in this case, an agent or editor) guessing. Tell the whole story in your synopsis, including what happens at the end. 

Writing a synopsis can be a creative endeavor in and of itself.  Make it clear. Make it short. And make it fun.
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