Friday, December 7, 2012

The Synopsis, Pinnacle of All Evil

Cower in fear, people. Cower in fear. It's usually what I do when confronted with the task of writing a *shudder* synopsis. We thought query letters were bad. But, it's okay. Sylar says:


The synopsis is uber-frustrating, partially because it's kind of hard to find concrete info on the internet about it. Some people say 1 pg. Some say 3-5. Some say 1 for every, like, 30 pages. (Don't do that.) For our purposes, we're gonna go with the 1 pager. Cause if you can write a 1 pg synopsis, you can write the higher page ones. I always just assume 1 to 2. Sooooo, the guidelines.

1) When I say 1 pg, I mean single spaced. Double spaced between paragraphs.
2) No indenting anywhere.
3) Include your contact info and the manuscript title on there, too. Those are important things.

Got that?



Next. Some more pointers.

1) Synopses should ALWAYS be written in 3rd person present tense.(Example of that to follow.)
2) You wanna hit all your main plot points. (If you're not sure what those are, go to Larry Brooks' website. He shall inform you.) So yeah. Main stuff. You gotta cover all the big twists. AND THE ENDING.


No. I'm not. ALWAYS PUT THE ENDING IN YOUR SYNOPSIS. Or it's not a synopsis.

3) Introduce your main characters. We don't need all your side characters, just the ones who play a major role in your story. And the first time (only the first) that you introduce them, put the name in ALL CAPS. Like that.

4) Put some voice into it. As much as you can reasonably.

Sooooo, without further ado, here is an example. It's a synopsis I wrote of A New Hope. It's a little less than a page. (If you haven't watched Star Wars, get off my blog and watch Star Wars. Cause this synopsis, like all synopses, gives away the ending.


STAR WARS EXAMPLE SYNOPSIS

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nineteen year old LUKE SKYWALKER has never been concerned with saving the galaxy. Living on a backwater planet in the middle of nowhere, he is much more concerned with his Uncle’s farm than he is with intergalactic politics. But, he spends his days dreaming, hoping for something more.

He gets more than he wished for when a crazy old hermit shows up and claims that Luke is the key to saving not only a beautiful princess, but the galaxy itself. And he cannot help but be intrigued. And when the evil ruler of the Empire murders his family, he has nothing left to lose, and follows the hermit into space.

The hermit, named OBI WAN KENOBI, reveals to him that he is a Jedi, a powerful mystic warrior. Not only is Obi Wan a Jedi, so is Luke. Though Luke has a hard time believing it, he begins to train anyway, and discovers powers he never thought he had. On their way to the princess’s home planet, they pick up the jaded and cynical HAN SOLO, a renowned smuggler and pilot, who charts their course through the galaxy.

Upon reaching the princess’s planet, they discover it has been destroyed by the Empire, the same agency who was responsible for the deaths of Luke’s family. So, they change course and board The Death Star, where the princess is being held captive by the ruthless leader of the Empire, DARTH VADER.

Disguising themselves as members of The Death Star’s crew, they sneak aboard, intending to rescue PRINCESS LEIA from certain death. But, their plans go awry when they are discovered, and Darth Vader challenges Obi Wan Kenobi in battle. Obi Wan fends off Darth Vader, and when he sees that Luke, Princess Leia, and Han Solo are on their way back to the ship, he sacrifices himself to save their lives.

Safely on board the ship, but mourning the loss of Obi Wan, Luke knows that he must truly embrace the teachings of the Jedi and fulfill his destiny: to destroy the Empire. So, he, as well as Princess Leia, convince the Rebels, a band of people not allied with the Empire, that they must fight.

On the eve of the planned attack, Han Solo decides to leave. But, his loyalty to Luke and growing feelings for Princess Leia compel him to cast off his cynical shell and join with the Rebels to fight against the Empire.

The attack is successful and Luke, with aid from Obi Wan from beyond the grave, deals the final blow, exploding the Death Star, and ensuring freedom throughout the galaxy.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There ya have it. We had to leave some favorite characters out, and some plot stuff in the middle, BUT, we got the major players, main point, plot, and a little voice.
You can DO IT.
 
And now, because I'm proud of you for writing your fantabulous synopsis, and a lot because I just really wanted an excuse to look up shirtless Ian Somerhalder gifs, a present for you. (Unless you are a straight male, in which case, this will do nothing for you. Apologies.)
 

The End.
 

28 comments:

  1. Seeeeee, distracting! Very nice post, though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad it was helpful! And, of course, distracting. ;-)

      Delete
  2. Thanks for sharing. You make it sound so easy!!

    I still think query letters are harder. Lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Darn query letters! Really, either one=ze devil lol

      Delete
  3. That was literally the best ending I ever saw. I truly feel that if I ended all my queries with a shirtless pic of Ian Somerhalder I would have agents vying over me. Thanks for the awesome idea...

    That was the idea you were trying to get across, right? ;)

    Oh, and thanks for the great tips on writing a synopsis too...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It most definitely was the point. Should be effective ;)

      Delete
  4. Hey Brianna! I wanted to let you know I received your resend tot he workshop. It will be a day or two before I finish but I just wanted you to know I got it this time:)

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  5. Thank you for a post on the synopsis that doesn't make me want to jump out a window. :) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! I try to discourage jumping out of windows as a rule, so, glad it was helpful!

      Delete
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  8. Nice article on synopses here! Thanks. As you said (and I'm paraphrasing here), they suck! Trying to cram a 300-400 page novel into one page is really difficult. And since I haven't landed a publisher for my novels, I probably haven't perfected that yet. But this was a great how-to and pep talk for taking on such a challenge. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Glad it was helpful! And encouraging. :) They generally make me shake my fist at the sky, so I figured, GIFS plus Star Wars may ease the pain!

      Delete
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