Learn How to Love Me. The Dreaded Synopsis from Guest Poster Maggie Mundy
by Maggie Mundy
Note from Susan. Hilde has a broken hand and Maggie graciously allowed us to use her post. I used her post to fix my mid grade synopsis. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.
I thought I would share with you my process of dealing with the dreaded synopsis. You will love it. I kid you not. You will find it much easier to do in future if you use this format. You will even learn to love them.
What is it?
A synopsis is a narrative statement, written in present tense, as if you were telling someone about your book. That sounds easy. Your book is only 90,000 words. They want a few hundred words up to around 750. Eek, you walk away from the computer in a cold sweat. Relax and take a deep breath and I’ll try and make it easy.
It should be Written in present tense It should be written in the same voice and style as the manuscript. Third person. Introduces only main characters, main conflict and main emotional arc No cliff-hangers. It should show how the layers of the story lead you to its climax. It is Not An info dump. Not a she did this, he did that. Not a shopping list of people and events. Format Should be the same format and font as manuscript. Double space unless requested to do otherwise. Tittle and name in left hand corner. Indent after main paragraph and number pages.
Take for example the movie French Kiss Where do we start? Opening paragraph Genre: Contemporary romance Setting :Canada and France Length: word count novel or novella and whether part of a series. Main characters: Kate and Luke. Theme: Fish out of water. Personal growth.
Who is your heroine and what does she want?
Kate is an American living in Canada who wants to get married to Charlie when he gets back from his conference in Paris.
Who is your hero and what does he want?
Luc is a Frenchman who has stolen a necklace which he intends to sell so he can buy back his vineyard in France.
What brings them together?
They are on the same flight to Paris. Kate is scared of flying and Luc helps her. He uses her to smuggle his necklace into France with it wrapped around an old vine.
Their first problem. Cause of conflict.
Luc and Kate get separated. She sees Charlie kissing his new love and faints.Her luggage is stolen along with the necklace.
Initial solution to problem
Luc knows the thief and gets her bag back but she has no money or passport. She thinks he used her to get the vine into the country.
What happens to spoil initial success?
The thief tells the police about the necklace. Luc needs to get out of Paris in a hurry. Kate decides to go to the South of France and get Charlie back.
Where does the new problem lead?
Luc says he will help her get Charlie back. He really hopes to get the necklace hidden in her bag. They stop at Luc’s home and she meets his family. They both start to question what they want from life.
What risks do they take to deal with the problem?
They go to the South of France and Kate confronts Charlie. He wants her back but she is not sure it is what she wants anymore. Luc helps her get Charlie back. He is falling in love with her, but if Charlie will make her happy he will help her even if he loses her.
The policeman from Paris tells Kate that Luc will go to jail if he does not give the necklace back. She does a deal and uses her life savings to pretend she has sold the necklace to Cartier. She gives Luc the money to buy his vineyard and says she is going back to Canada. Luc thinks she still wants Charlie. The policeman tells him what Kate did and that he should go after her.
Happy Ever After
Luc goes after Kate and tells her how he feels. They live happily ever after on his vineyard.
So what I have done is write short statements here about each heading. Your next step would be to enlarge these up to your required word count. What is useful about this technique is that it helps you work out what you can leave out. Hope this helps and that you will love writing your next synopsis.