Will You Synopsis Me, Please?

I have covered the topic of the all mighty synopsis a few times. Yet, I find that this lingering evil needs more exposure. Overcoming fear by acclimation, I suppose.

How does one go about a synopsis though? I know some people that will write the story synopsis first, others will wait until it is all done and over with.

Synopsis Writing
Anyone else just stare blankly at the page that should hold the synopsis?

Alright, perhaps I am the only one that waits until the very end. I’m okay with that. My writing style isn’t conventional as it is anyway, why would I bend to conformity now?

I Don’t Do Outlines

For myself, the synopsis is something near career-ending. I know it must be done, I realize this, I am not a complete moron (unless Hockey is on the TV, then I am a bumbling, drooling, idiot).

I still loathe writing a synopsis. Perhaps most of my fellow author-type cohorts do as well. I really believe that my hatred comes from the fact that I don’t do outlines for my novels.

My ideas for stories start in my head and there they stay until I have enough going on to write a rough draft. Most of the time I will have an idea for a certain part of a story: a guy gets hit by a truck; a child falls on the ice and discovers a note in the water; a woman named Phillip enters an identity theft ring. Something.

Then I Start to Figure it All Out

I then take that idea and figure out two things. First I figure out what the hook is. Why does my reader care about the note stuck under the ice? What does it eventually mean?

Once I have something that tickles my interest i.e. the note leads to a ring of baby fighting, I then decide how it will end. What is it that will make the reader close the book after reading the 300+ pages and sit back and go: “Cool!”

Once I have those I create my main characters, the locations and, if my brain cooperates, a few more scenes develop. Then I have the bare bones of my story, the rough draft, if you will.

I put this on paper and I print it out, seeing all my words together at last. Then I edit, and rewrite and re-edit, and revise and polish and shine. I never do an outline. So, in turn, I never do a synopsis.

No Synopsis, No Problem

I know the direction my novels take. I am led there by the characters.

This isn’t a problem for me. I know the direction my story is going. I know where it ends up and I create such vivid characters that they end up telling me the story, not the other way around.

By the end of it all I am just putting words on paper that describe what the characters in my head are showing me.

I want to write, I want to sell and part of the sell is the synopsis. Much to my chagrin. The query letter is tough enough. The synopsis is just evil. Yes, I do realize that it is simple. Simplicity doesn’t confer ease, though.

The two aren’t mutually exclusive, however they aren’t always contributing to the same cause, either. I have even thought of auctioning out my synopsis writing to a “professional” but the thought didn’t last long. I don’t want to spend money and I don’t trust anyone else with my work until they have paid me for it.

So, I will trudge along and continue to hone my synopses as I continue to push out novel after novel. Even if that means I will have to create a synopsis after the story is over and done with.


Synopsis: It’s not about what I want.

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