Thursday, 14 June 2012

Synopses

 Durham Castle Keep
I've been horrendously busy and will be again until Saturday when I can relax like the advert for those toffees with chocolate inside them!
So: I'm going to cheat a little by giving you the gist of Nicola Morgan's take on synopses. It's relevant, because I've been thinking about the darn things, since our writers' group is having a session on synopses on Friday. (Her blog, btw, is a mine of info: Help I need a publisher)


Here's what she says:
If your book is a journey, the synopsis needs to include:
1. Who is on the journey and why?
2. What is the intended destination and why?
3. What terrible thing will happen if they don't reach their destination and who or what is trying to stop them?
4. What happens to knock the travellers off course?
5. What characteristics and tools do they use to get back on course?
6. What is their actual destination and who survives and with what injuries?

Here’s what we do not need to know:
1. All the detours they took along the way - unless without it we can't understand the book
2. The weather.
3. What they said to each other.
4. What the scenery was like.
5. The people they met along the way, unless without them we can't understand the book.
6. The route in order.

So my message to you today is: when writing your synopsis, cultivate a really crappy memory like mine, a memory that forgets everything except essence. To paraphrase all of our mothers: if you can't remember, it can't have been very important. And if it's not important, it has no place in your synopsis.

Therefore: whatever you do, don't look at your book when writing your synopsis. Your book has no place there.

PS Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. Possibly by Saturday.

3 comments:

Ursula said...

Good grief, writing a synopsis sounds harder than writing a whole book! Almost makes me want to forget the whole thing.

Jen Black said...

I know - I hate the things!

Jean Bull said...

This blog has inspired me to tackle my synopsis once again. I can see now where I might have gone wrong! So I've awarded you the Be Inspired Award for inspiring blogs.
You can find the logo and questions that you may like to answer on my blog.
Jean