Tuesday, 31 January 2012
I’m very chuffed to be able to introduce Nicola Morgan onto this great blog to talk about her new ebook, Write a Great Synopsis: An Expert Guide. Hopefully it will help readers here as much as it’s helped me!
Hello, Strictly Writing readers and thanks for hosting me on the Write a Great Synopsis (WAGS) blog tour.
I have always liked writing synopses and I hadn’t realised what a problem writers had with them until so many people started angsting about it. Many of the questions I get are about how to write this thing that seems to me to be the simplest part of a writer’s work. So, that’s what Write a Great Synopsis is about. I aim to solve the problems and make the task simple and stressfree.
The WAGS blog tour consists of a mix of interviews and extracts. It’s an extract that I thought I’d offer you today. And there’s a competition, too – with prizes of synopsis critiques!
One of the crucial things that writers find most difficult is knowing what to leave out of a synopsis. My extract below consists of two analogies that help you visualise the answer to this.
(Reproduced from Write a Great Synopsis – An Expert Guide)
The synopsis as a journey
Here is a way of thinking that I find useful. Imagine your synopsis as a journey. This is what we need to know:
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. The detours they took along the way.
2. The weather.
3. What they had for their picnic.
4. What they said to each other.
5. What the scenery was like.
6. The route in order.
7. The people they met on the journey, unless one of them is an axe-murderer or someone equally useful.
The synopsis as a healthy human
This is my other analogy. If your synopsis were a human, in order to see that the human is alive and strong we would need to see the healthy glow of the skin and that it is supported by a strong skeleton. We don’t actually see the skeleton, but we know it’s all there. We don’t need to see that the organs are all present and working – that’s obvious from the healthy glow of the skin and the light shining from the eyes. We do need to see the feet: the end of the story. A synopsis without an end is like a human without feet.
Analogies never present the whole picture but they are often a good start, offering a visual element to boost understanding of the rest of the argument. Write a Great Synopsis covers everything about synopsis-writing, clearly and reassuringly. At the end of it I believe you truly will say to yourself, “Don’t panic – it’s only a synopsis!” That is my aim.
All commenters below (by Feb 15th) will be entered into the Big WAGS Competition, with chances to win a critique of your synopsis by the Crabbit Old Bat herself! One comment per person on each blog – though you can add to your chances by commenting on the other posts on the tour. Details of all stops on the tour will appear on Help! I Need a Publisher! as they go out.
Thank you for listening and I do hope I can help you write a great synopsis! For details about the book, including buying options, go here.