Guest Terry Banker: How to Write a Symple Synopsis

Like the misspelling in the title made you read the next line, a synopsis is a promise that says Trust me, dear reader. If you like my synopsis, you’ll love my novel.

Synopsis? Ugh.

Don’t worry. You’re not a lone. All writers hate writing a synopsis. To us, it’s impossible to explain 500 pages of pure genius in a page or two. However, I have a secret. Shh. I’m going to show you a simple technique on how to write a simple synopsis.

What is a synopsis?

A synopsis is

a summary with feeling;

a brief, story bridge.

This poem is written in haiku to help you remember. Essentially, a synopsis captures the feel of your novel and includes the protagonist, the antagonist, turning points, climax, and the resolution. Here’s how:

 

The Story Sentence

By Gary Provost

 

Once upon a time, something happened
to someone, and he decided that he would pursue a goal
So he devised a plan of action, and even though
there were forces trying to stop him, he moved
forward because there was a lot at stake. And just as
things seemed as bad as they could get, he
learned an important lesson, and when
offered the prize, he had sought so strenuously,
he had to decide whether or not to take it,
and in making that decision he satisfied a need that had been
created by something in his past.

 

This type of breakdown includes everything someone needs to know about your novel. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example The Lord of the Rings:

 

Format: Lord of the Rings:
Once upon a time, something happened [inciting incident] Gandalf comes to the shire bearing bad news: the world is changing, the shire will perish unless Frodo gets rid of the ring.
to someone, and he decided that he would pursue a goal With Gandalf’s guidance, Frodo decides he will take the ring to the elves so they can deal with it.
So he devised a plan of action, and even though After being chased by otherworldly creatures, Frodo gets the ring to the elves, who decide the only way to prevent devastation is to cast the ring into Mount Doom.

Frodo volunteers for the task.

there were forces trying to stop him, he moved Sauron and the forces of evil want the ring and will do anything to get it back.
forward because there was a lot at stake. And just as Unless the ring is destroyed, Middle Earth will be destroyed and everyone will die or become slaves to Sauron.
things seemed as bad as they could get, he When Frodo and his protectors get separated, he and his faithful gardener, Samwise, must journey to Mount Doom alone.
learned an important lesson, and when Frodo learns one must confront evil for the sake of good—even if you feel you are alone.
offered the prize, he had sought so strenuously, Or…Frodo can keep the ring…which offers him everything he’s ever wanted (think psychic heroin for eternity and/or death)
he had to decide whether or not to take it, Frodo casts ring into Mount Doom
and in making that decision he satisfied a need that had been Hobbits and Shire folk are not insignificant in the grand scheme. Even the smallest creature has something to offer.
created by something in his past. He was a nobody and now he is the legendary 9-finger Frodo.

Now you have collected the fundamentals of your novel:

  • Who: Frodo, a hobbit from the shire who has never left his home
  • What: must cast a ring into a volcano to prevent evil from taking over the world
  • Where: Middle Earth
  • When: a long, long time ago.

What about the How?

Here’s where your artistic genius come in:

  1. Write one paragraph on each point listed above (11 paragraphs)
  2. Write it in third person, present tense
  3. Write the synopsis in the tone of your novel
  4. Sprinkle in transitions, and
  5. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

Boom! Your symple short-form synopsis is ready!

 

Terry’s Synopsis Tips: Don’t reinvent the wheel and fail where others have succeeded. Write your synopsis in third-person, present tense, and DON’T get creative with the format.

The key to writing a good synopsis is to spend the necessary time writing a great book! But if I know you—and I do—you’re just the genius to do it!

Now, back to work!

My best,

--Terry

 

Terry@TerryBanker.com

 

Essential Resources:

 

“Writing the Fiction Synopsis” by Pam McCutcheon *

 

“100 Ways to Improve Your Writing” by Gary Provost* – (a great list of ideas!)

 

* BUY THESE BOOKS

 

Become an RMFW Guest Blogger
Interested in submitting to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Blog? Our blog's theme is Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, so we're interested in original, well-crafted and proofread blog posts on writing (all fiction genres) and the writing life, reports on RMFW events, interviews with agents/editors/published authors, humor, photo essays, and book reviews. Contact the editors at blog@rmfw.org for more information about available guest dates. CLICK HERE for additional submission guidelines.

One thought on “Guest Terry Banker: How to Write a Symple Synopsis

  1. Thank you! I wrote my first synopsis for Colorado Gold last year. It was a disaster! If I start now, I might have something ready for this year’s submittal.

Leave a Reply