Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Dreaded Synopsis

No, I'm not posting my synopsis here.  That's something I'll only ever share via e-mail with trusted CPs.

What I'm talking about today is writing one.  See, I've reached that point with Lodestar.

I started out, I don't know how long ago, writing a brief recap of each chapter as I read through the manuscript working on creating a new revision outline.  That didn't go very far because I got sidetracked creating the outline.  Then I got the manuscript back from a beta.

I finished up the last major revision on Monday.  I was pretty stoked about it.  I mean, I even bought myself some Swedish fish.  This is the candy I use to celebrate milestones.  Such as when I finally finished Oracles Promise a year and a half ago.  I had the manuscript printed at one of those business solutions places so I could have a cardstock cover and have it coil-bound.

After I picked up the printed manuscript, I stopped off at the store and got those sticky notes that are large and lined and in pretty colors.  (Colors not required.  They just make this more spiffy.)

I sat down on my couch and got comfortable.  The primary purpose of this printing of the manuscript was so that the format was changed in order to catch typos and formatting errors.

But, bonus!

I have to read through the manuscript to find these.  Why not kill two birds with one stone?  That's what the sticky notes are for.  After each chapter, I wrote out (by hand) a brief recap of the chapter.  I forced myself to keep it to one sticky note for each chapter.  Synopses have to be brief so it's really just getting you one step closer to force yourself to stick to that limit.

These sticky notes get attached to the last page of each chapter.  After the entire manuscript has been read, it's time to go to the computer and go note by note, inputting them into your word processing document.

Now you have a chapter by chapter synopsis that's very dry and boring.  This is what revision is for.  Each paragraph addresses some part of the plot, whether it's your character's internal arc or the external arc of the conflict.  Combine the internal and external as you need to in order to create a smooth and engaging synopsis of your manuscript.

That wasn't so bad was it?  *shoos the noose away from her and her blog readers' necks*


  1. That is an awesome way to check for mistakes and to write your synopsis. As for me? Synopsis is the worst part of writing. I hate writing them. Hate hate. But, you gotta learn somehow, right? :) Congrats on being almost finished with your book! That is awesome!

  2. That is a great process, Steph! Congrats on finishing Lodestar! YEA!

  3. Neat method--thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for sharing this method. It makes so much sense! I'll have to keep it in mind. :)

  5. Sticky notes is a great method to get the synopsis done! As I write my first drafts, I put in a short chapter synopsis at the head of each chapter. It helps me stay organized and find certain things I need while I revise, and it also helps me with the synopsis at the end the same way your sticky notes do. Thanks for sharing your method!

  6. Ahem. And I meant sticky notes *are* a great method. *blush*


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