Ask any writer and I'll bet darn few of them list a synopsis as their favorite thing to write. A synopsis was always tricky for me. I still can't write one before I finish a book, but rather I go back and fill one in after my story is complete. If I ever need to sell a book on a synopsis, I'm in big trouble. (This really is something I need to learn to do at some point...the synopsis BEFORE the book.)
I have however, found a synopsis formula that works for me. Laurie Brown, fellow Chicago-North chapter mate and 2010 RITA Finalist for "What Would Jane Austen Do?", presented a mini workshop on synopsis for our group. She calls it "seven steps to a practically perfect two page synopsis", and I'm telling you...it works.
Here are the basics in a nutshell:
1 - Opening paragraph should have a hook that leads into the bio of the hero and/or heroine. Use GMC. (CHARACTER NAME, a SHORT DESCRIPTION wants GOAL because MOTIVATION but WHY SHE CAN'T HAVE IT.)
2 - Second paragraph should be the GMC for the other main character.
3 - Third paragraph should be the meet or inciting incident that sets the conflict in motion. Use feelings. Tell, don't show.
4 - Fourth paragraph should show the deepening conflict. Pick two major plot turning points, one for each character.
5 - Fifth paragraph should show the birth of love. Again, pick two major plot turning points, one for each character.
6 - Sixth paragraph is the dark moment. Describe why each character feels there is no hope for the relationship.
7 - Seventh paragraph is the resolution. Describe what each character has learned about themselves and each other.
Laurie also reminded us that a synopsis should do three things: We get to know the characters, we understand what their conflicts (internal and external) are, and we know the conflict will be enough to last the length of book. In a romance synopsis, the focus should be on the relationship.
Following this format really has taken the agony out of writing a synopsis for me. Thanks, Laurie, for making my life easier in this regard!
And on that note, I really need to get a synopsis written for "Family Secrets".
Until next time,
Happy Reading (or writing)!