Monday, April 22, 2013

Writing the Synopsis: Part 5

So we've made it to the last few paragraphs of our synopsis. Like the beginning, the end of the synopsis has to accomplish a lot of different things. It needs to:

Give us the black moment.
Show how the characters changed.
Include how all elements wrap up, including spiritual, mystery, and/or romantic.
Give a satisfying resolution.

So first let's establish the black moment. The editor or agent shouldn't have to search for this in the synopsis. They should instantly recognize the black moment or the point where all seems lost, which might be the big break-up, the scene where it looks like the bad guy gets away, or the point where the hero throws down his gun. 

The point right after the black moment is equally important. When we're reading your synopsis, we need to know what action the main character takes that turns everything around. And it must be an action by that character. You can't cheat by using a coincidence or letting another character do the dirty work. How does the character who just lost everything begin to change things? 

This is also a good way to demonstrate how the character has changed. The way the character reacts to the black moment at the end of the book is going to be very different than how he or she would have reacted to the black moment if it had taken place at the beginning of the story. Show us that difference.

Make sure you wrap up any threads that you've included in your synopsis. This is one of the reasons you should keep the subplots and minor characters out of your synopsis. Anything that you mention needs to be wrapped up at the end. You can't tell us about the sister's custody battle and then not give us the resolution to that storyline. The more you stick with the main story the tighter your synopsis becomes.

That leads us to the Satisfying Resolution. Always tell the ending. Don't leave it a surprise as a way to entice editors and agents to request the full manuscript. They don’t like that. ;) If you're writing romance, you usually need a happily-ever-after. That's not true for all genres, but you do need the ending to be satisfying in some way. 

Next week, we'll do a quick summary of each step we've discussed in this series, discuss how to set the mood or tone of your synopsis, and talk about the final thing you must do before sending your synopsis to an editor or agent.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
The Ten Step Synopsis


  1. Replies
    1. One more next week - then I need to figure out what's next :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Loree. I've really enjoyed diving more in depth on one topic.

  3. I just loved this series and seeing how I need to write one of these bad boys, it comes in handy! :)

  4. Ok, so you're going to help me write my synopsis, right? ;)

    1. :) Absolutely. Send it my way after you have it written. I'd love to look at it.

  5. Julie, you're doing a great job breaking down the synopsis! I wish after writing a synopsis once, you never had to do it again, but that's not how it works. I know I'll be writing more in the future, so I'll probably be back to refer to your steps :) Thanks!

  6. Thanks, Julie. No matter what stage of the writing process we're all in, the synopsis can make us anxious. Your tips are so helpful!