So, since I spend a lot of time studying the craft of writing fiction, I thought I’d take a minute each week to share some of the resources I’ve found. This week’s topic is…
The Dreaded Synopsis!
No matter which way you swing it, trying to condense your novel into one or two pages is nothing short of dreadful. It’s the green-eyed-monster of being a writer. And then there’s the fact that everyone wants something different. I just entered two contests, both of which required a synopsis. The first required I keep it to one page (it’s harder than it sounds) and the second limited my synopsis to 500 words. I started with two pages, finally got it to one page, and then had to cut it in half again. Argh!
I’ve found some tools very helpful while crafting my synopsis. Granted, these tools are just that and while they help me understand what needs to be in my book as far as plot and structure go, I still have to do the grunt work.
So, without further ado, here are five methods to help you craft a well-rounded synopsis.
1~The Hero’s Joruney by Joseph Campbell
I’m sure you’ve heard of this as it’s pretty old school. The first time I studied The Hero’s Journey was the first time my story began to come together. Amazon has many books on The Hero’s Journey available, or you can do what I did and head over to You Tube. Mr. Wood has a great presentation on The Hero’s Journey that is simple and understandable. He explains this method from beginning to end. You can also use Google images to search for The Hero’s Journey if you want to find a print out of this method. There are examples of movies and books from Harry Potter to Star Wars.
2~Dan Wells’s 7 Point Plot Structure
This one is something I’ve only recently come across. Dan Wells is the author of I am not a Serial Killer. I really enjoyed his 5-part video presentation on the 7 Point Plot for it’s humor and simplicity.
3~The Snowflake Method
Randy Ingermanson, otherwise known as the “Snowflake Guy”, has developed an in depth method (and software) for structuring you entire novel. He starts with a single sentence and gives you a step-by-step guide to expanding it into a full-fledged proposal. I like his method because I like structure. The Snowflake Method is as structured (and time consuming) as it gets.
4~The My Book Therapy Method
I’ve really gotten a lot out of being a member of My Book Therapy. I love the weekly chats and encouragement overflowing from that online community. They have a post on writing a synopsis that really breaks it down for you.
5~Seekerville Posts on Writing a Synopsis
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again-I LOVE Seekerville. I take something away from every single thing they post on writing. They have several posts on writing synopses that I’ve found extremely helpful when trying to tackle the dreaded beast.
So there you have it….
I hope these resources have helped you. Do you have any other methods or resources to share on this topic? I love hearing from you. Until then, happy reading!
Yours in Messiah Yeshua,
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