Apr 22, 2011

S is for Synopsis Bleh

Need some motivation to write that synopsis?

I would have loved to share with you the inside secrets of writing the perfect synopsis. But, as I am currently working on the crappiest synopsis ever, I think I'll steer you towards some that know better than I.

From the Holly Lisle course, How to Revise Your Novel (my all-time favourite course on editing), I found the key is to have a conflict sentence for each scene you write. This conflict sentence will outline what the character is doing and what is stopping them or making it worse. Here's some examples from my novel Dog Show Detective:
  • Kitty is nervous about entering the dog show with Spade, but forgets all that when she finds a lost dog.
  • Miss Norfolk explains that her grandmother left her a fortune in her will - but only if nothing happens to her beloved dog, Ozzie.
  • The Walkers attend to the mess left by the intruder, wondering why nothing is stolen, until Kitty realises the intruder was after the dog.
  • The killer is unconscious and the girls could escape, but Jack has a broken ankle. Kitty decides to stay with him and let Jessica go for help.
A conflict statement will usually be MC tries to.... BUT Mr X...... or MC gets into trouble..... AND ........ makes it worse. Holly Lisle refers to this as 'The Sentence'. 

If you need some help making sure there is conflict in every scene, you can check out my earlier post:

There seems to be different advice on how long your Synopsis should be, but in Australia, most publishers advise they want 1 page double-spaced.

Some sites to visit for your synopsis writing:
Author Aaron Paul Lazar outlines how he wrote his synopsis at Murder By 4
Elana Johnson's How to Write a Synopsis
A Synopsis Workshop by Sheila Kelly


  1. I enjoyed your post and loved your picture. Thank you.

  2. That is sucha cute picture. Great information I like the format and examples.

  3. Awww...cute kitty, cute ki

    A less dangerous motivation to write that synopsis is to imagine you're trying to describe the story to your best friend. You are wild about it, and you want them to enjoy it too...

  4. neat!

    thanks for visiting...

    awards for you!

    no time to take award, at least display one of your choices and feel good.

    no need to pass or share. you can reject.

    bless your writing, glad to meet.

  5. Your conflicts are great. Thanks for the examples. That kitten is a bit naughty hehehe

  6. Great tips. I find synopses really hard, i can get the gist of the story down, but giving it the right tone and attitude to make it stand out and have a little life to it is tricky. Cheers for the links too.

    Moody Writing

  7. great tips but however you come at it synopses are murder!

  8. I snorted coffee because of your kitty picture!

  9. I find it hard to believe you are writing a crappy anything! But thanks for the links and...

    for being such a supportive commenter on my blog. I finally have made it back :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  10. Thanks for the links. Love the pic!

  11. I just awarded you the stylish blogger award you can pick it up on my blog.

  12. I'm terrible at synopses. Or is it synopsi? I like the examples you gave, though. The second sentence really hooked me.

  13. That crazy cat--who knew it would come to this?? Great photo.
    Good blog on the art of synopsis.

  14. Nice picture. And I thought I had an aggressive cat.

    I'm stopping by to say hi from the A-Z Challenge.

  15. I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Powerful Woman Writer Award.
    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
    PS. Awesome blog, always like to see fellow writers blogs. Keep up the good work!

  16. Good formula for a conflict sentence! Will use in the future.

    And thanks for the congrats!

  17. Synopsis are not my cup of tea...that's for sure. I am sure feelings are mutual.LOL. But I know it is important, therefore I will follow your advice.

  18. Hmm...a synopsis...shudder ;)
    Thanks for the links

  19. LOL The kitty. XD

    Thank you so much for the links! :) great post btw~

    *~` http://rockielove.blogspot.com/ `~*