Synopsis Love

I know, you wondering how that’s even possible. Because there is NO FREAKING WAY to love writing a synopsis. And actually, it’s not that I love writing synopses (I don’t, I hate ’em) or that I’m any good at writing them (Nup, not that either) it’s just the past two synopses I’ve written have been the easiest ever. They weren’t even two pages!

So what’s my secret? Well, I kind of don’t want to say in case it proves that I am wrong, wrong, wrong. And also there really isn’t a secret (except some good advice from Maisey Yates). It’s a case of learning to let go the details of the story and focus on what is really important – the development of the romance and the character arc. I know, it’s hard to figure out what are ‘details’ and what aren’t. If you include this bit, then that means you have to include that and before you know it, you’ve got one page just on the first chapter! (my hint is if you think it’s a detail, it probably is. So leave it out!).

In fact, in many ways, for me it’s easier to write a synopsis for a story I haven’t written yet. Because that way, there are no details to bog me down, plus it’s great for figuring out whether your conflict works or not. Nothing like getting halfway through a synopsis and realising that your characters don’t have enough conflict. Or that what you thought was the conflict, isn’t what they thought.

But anyway, why were these ones so easy to write? Because I did totally leave out any extraneous details apart from the external conflict that brings them together. The rest is just how broadly the romance develops – their first impressions of each other. How that makes it worse for them. How they find connection. How that connection makes it worse. What they do about that. Why that doesn’t work. And then the change they have to make in order to be together (the resolution of the conflict). The turning points of the story, etc, etc.

Now this could all be entirely wrong of course and in fact my synopses are crap! But at this point, taking an hour or two to write one instead of the usual three days, with another two for hair pulling and complaining, is AOK with me.

And just to show you I’m not all about how wonderful my synopses are (not), I am also going to include this little linky thing here (Sonny Bill Williams and his ripped shirt). I am not a rugby fan but since the Rugby World Cup is happening in my neck of the woods (American visitors, please visit this link hehe), I thought it pertinent to gift to the world a small incident that actually made me watch part of a game. I think the person behind the camera must have been a woman…:-)

19 thoughts on “Synopsis Love”

  1. Well Jackie, at least that makes one of us! I have no doubt that your synopsis is as solid as you say – leaving out details irrelevant to the romantic plot is the way to go. I know this, but ending up with a finished synopsis that doesn’t deviate drastically from the point is very difficult! Glad you managed it, and good luck 🙂

  2. Madeline – lol! I have no idea whether I’ve managed it or not. I think that EVERY single time I send something and sadly I’ve been proven wrong. So who knows? The one thing I DO know is that they’re better than the last few I’ve done. So…progress. 🙂

  3. ohhhh, the pain of the synopsis. I’m living through that at the moment…trying to tidy up my Selling Synopsis entry for RWAus.

    I seem to be able to do the quick blurb and I can compress the story into a paragraph or two. But with this entry I have 6 pages to play with. You’d think that would make it easier…. it doesn’t!!!

    And because this is a YA Romantic Thriller I put in the ‘thriller’ plot AND the romantic plot, and a sense of the characters and WHAM I’m well over the page limit.

    It’s time to get out the Big Mean Red Pen and slash, slash slash.

    But, the good thing is I did see where the story was falling down, and I’ve fixed it BEFORE writing 50k words. Yay.

  4. Anna – you go girl! I’m not brave enough to put my baby in that contest. But yeah, that’s the beauty of these heinous beasts, you can see the problems before you get there. And hopefully fix them. 🙂

  5. Yay – glad you’ve found something that works for you, Jackie! Sounds very like the advice that Lorraine always gives me when tearing my synopses apart. She tells me (quite correctly) to write an ‘internal only’ synopsis, and only then am I allowed to bleed any external stuff in. It works for me, because left to my own devices its external only!

  6. I struggle with the details, that whole forest/trees thing. It took me all evening to write a one sentence blurb for current WIP. If you’ve got it down to a couple hours that don’t involve blood-letting or ritual sacrifice, I’d say you’re onto something! Good luck with it!

  7. LOL, Jax! I really go bonkers when it comes to writing synopsis, delay it as much as possible..and suddenly one day, I just sit, write it off… and read it once. Just once 😉 Enough time spent agonizing over it anyway 😉

    Gotta see what Maisey has to stay!

  8. No word of a lie I shuddered when I read your post title! I have not yet learned how to *love* synopsis writing. I tend to write it (pages and pages) and then edit it to death, hoping and praying that I’ve got the bones of the story right! Caroline x

  9. Sally – yeah, she knows her stuff that Lorraine!

    Amalie – Having done exactly that with a blurb, I know the horror. Whichever way you do it, synopsis writing SUCKS so cutting down the time spent on the agony is all good in my book. I could be entirely wrong however!

    Scarlet – Mwwwahahaha! Yes, I cannot tell a lie, I have the real Jackie in a secret location. 🙂 And I didn’t say my synopses were any good, they were just easier to write this time round. Probably a terrible error of judgement…

    Ju – I can relate to that. And I reckon it’s a pretty good idea!

    Caroline – Well, I don’t love writing them – still hate ’em to be honest. 🙂 And there’s nothing wrong with writing out the whole thing then editing down.

  10. Jackie! First off, *pops eyeballs back into head* the person behind the camera was definitely a woman. Either that or inclined in another direction 🙂

    Anyway, I agree! It’s easier to write the synopsis FIRST and including only the major turning points. Besides, by writing it first I have a little map, which makes feel a whole more confident I won’t get lost. Too bad it doesn’t always pan out that way LOL.

    GO, JACKIE!!!

  11. Aimee – yeah, SBW is a bit of all right eh? Even the guys are pretty awe-inspired by those abs. Hehe. And I am in total agreement with the synopsis first idea. Road maps are great for pantsers like me – not detailed directions but just enough to keep me on track. Oh and thanks for the faith, m’dear. 🙂

  12. Urgh! I’m NOT a synopsis fan either but I’m liking the sound of this. So… you’re going to write mine for me now that you’ve got it all worked out, right? 😉

  13. notice how I wrote my heap of um, crap synopsis first, and read this second? That just about sums it up, I think.

    But I love that you’ve found a system that works for you!

  14. Robyn – your synopsis was NOT a heap of crap! I can’t wait for this story to be finished. 🙂 As for me, well, no idea if it works or not. Only time will tell I guess.

    Bec – be great if I did get feedback. Sadly, I don’t think that’ll be the case. Anyway, the main thing is that I didn’t spend days writing it and I’m happy with that. 🙂

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