Right, forget flowery phrases. Sentences that scream ‘look at me!’. Paragraphs that read well but don’t actually tell you anything about the story. Throw them out of the window. Why? Because all your synopsis needs is the setting, the internal/external conflict, the evidence of growing attraction, the black moment and the resolution.
Yes, I have been thinking more about Michelle’s advice, especially when it comes to writing the synopsis. The first one I did was full of the flowery phrases. It said nothing about how the characters grow and what they learn. It was full of ‘he realises’ and ‘she realises’ but nothing about why they realise that. So I wrote another one, and this was full of the ‘why’s, the internal conflict, what the heroine liked about the hero, what he liked about her, what they learned from each other, why they fell in love, why they couldn’t be together and why, in the end, they were. But this one missed the turning points in the story, how it actually unfolded. Wrong again.
So this time I’ve done a third. And this time – I hope – I’ve done it right. This time I’ve actually included the ‘hows’. Like instead of just saying ‘ he shows her that a little risk isn’t a bad thing’. I’ve said how he does this by taking her bungy jumping and rock climbing. And when he comes to realise he needs the heroine in his life, instead of saying ‘he suddenly realises….’ I’ve given him some bad news about his father that the heroine is able to help him through, thus showing him what it’s like to have support when he needs it.
Okay, it’s not perfect, and until I get the okay from the editors, it may not be right, but it’s SO much better than my previous effort. And this is a typical two page deal. Michelle said I should be able to write a synopsis in one page and let me tell you, it was difficult exercise. But I managed it! I would actually recommend everyone give this a go. It certainly boils your story down to the most basic nuts and bolts, and it’s a great way to see if there are any plot/conflict holes. In much the same way as writing a synopsis centered just on the conflict can be useful too.
Anyway, that’s my two cents worth today. This may be self evident to others but it was certainly a big step forward to me. As a pantser extraordinaire, doing a synopsis before I actually start writing is a huge acheivement. Who’d have thought it would help? 🙂 And it’s given me a great start for writing the rest of the story – two chapters down and one to go before spit, polish and send. 🙂