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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

How to Write a Synopsis in 4 to 6 Easy-ish Steps

1. Procrastinate. Be sure to leave it until either the night before the deadline - at the very earliest - or better yet, push it off to the due date. 

2a. Make sure you are working in a room with a large clock that tick-tocks* down the seconds so loudly that you no longer hear your inner voice ranting, "Why do I always do this!" *Added bonus: annoying sounds are guaranteed to diminish all creative thought. Perfect.

Snip snip here, and a snip snip there...
2b. Include every last detail of your book, carelessly disregarding the finely worded request for a succinct double-spaced one page synopsis. Why? So later, when time is purposely working against you and you re-read the submission instructions, you can torture yourself with the trimming, snipping, and deleting of all your little darlins'. 

3. Throw a temper tantrum. This will make you feel extremely liberated for 30 seconds.Then return to your computer and rage-type out the following synopsis:

Once upon a time, there was this person, who wanted something really, really badly, but big trouble happened and it got really, really hard, but this person never gave up and they saved the day and lived happily ever after. 
The End

3. Part 2 - Pour yourself a beverage. Pots of coffee work for me, but you may prefer a tall glass(es) of Shiraz/Chardonnay/Bourbon/Vodka. I do not judge. Now delete each word as typed above.

4.Take 3 to 5 deep breaths, careful not to hold them too long or you may pass out. Especially if you are pulling an Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, or Edgar Allen Poe. Most likely absinthe and yoga breathing don't mix well.

5. Now, write out as simply as possible a very loose outline. Then add a few key details. Do not forget to include how the story ends. This is no time for clever hooks and mysterious innuendos. A publisher or editor needs to see the story arc.

6. Let your latest synopsis draft sit and simmer for awhile, but not too long as you are tight for time. (Please see item 1.) 

Who would miss one teeny egg?
How to spend those precious hours until you begin further edits?

Take up macrame. Craft a scarf, an extremely stretchy dog leash, or a groovy pocket square for your favourite suit sporting guy. Everything old is new again. 

Dig into the Easter chocolate your children have not-so-carefully hidden in their bedrooms.

Or write a blog post about it.

Happy Synopsis Writing!


  1. Thanks for the laugh. And your synopsis created in a fit of rage sounds quite succinct, I'd say!

    1. Beginning. Middle. End. Just needs the details!

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