Sadly, I suck at synop's just like everyone else on the planet. But I do have a skeleton system that I use.
First, everything I say from here on out will make a heap more sense if you go to Author Dan Wells' site and read his Seven Points of Story Structure. (I've met Dan and he's written two AMAZING novels, so you should get and read those too (I Am Not A Serial Killer and Mr. Monster), but most of all, click on his video or powerpoint for these seven points.)
Once you've gone through the powerpoint and wondered how on earth you've written a book without this information, you're ready to write a synopsis. Now, don't freak out, but you're going to start with a 7-sentence synop.
So sit down, crack your knuckles, think of your story, and write ONE SENTENCE for each of these areas:
- Hook - how the story starts
- Plot Turn 1 - introduces the main conflict - moves the story toward the midpoint
- Pinch 1 - introduces the villain/pressure to force action
- Midpoint - the point at which your story moves from beginning to ending
- Pinch 2 - more pressure/problems, so many that the situation appears hopeless
- Plot Turn 2 - the MC has what they need to overcome the main conflict - moves the story from midpoint to ending
- Resolution - how your story ends
In fact, Dan advises that you actually think about all these things BEFORE you write your story (Hey, don't look at me! You know I don't do this), which means that technically, you should be able to write your synop before you write the novel.
So give it a try. I especially like slide #46 as a means to write the skeleton of your synopsis. Okay, so go, write, conquer.
Coming up next week: How to fill out your skeletal 7-sentence synop.
What do you think? Isn't Dan amazing? Can you write a synopsis in only 7 sentences?