Monday, January 11, 2016

Rachael Thomas & The Dreaded Synopsis

Please welcome Rachael Thomas back to the blog today!
***

Synopsis. It’s a word which can strike fear into just about every writer’s heart. How do you put everything from your story into between two and five pages? You don’t.

Wikipedia’s definition is a brief summary of the major parts of a subject or written work or story. It goes on to say ‘condensation of a work’.

What to include in a synopsis

The purpose of a synopsis is to show how your story is to go from the beginning to the end and the emotional journey or arc of your characters. It needs to show the voice or style of your book and be in the third person.
The first thing you need to do is introduce your characters and their main conflict. Then you need to show all the plot points they will encounter, their emotional journey and how they will reach their happy ever after.

Think of it in parts. I usually use five.
1. Introduce your hero.
2. Introduce your heroine.
3. Set out the story opening.
4. Show the emotional journey the characters are to go on and the main plot points which occur during that journey.
5. Set out the black moment and how this leads to the happy ever after.

What not to put in a synopsis

The synopsis is not a place to info dump the entire back story. Any important elements about a character’s past should be included in their introduction. Neither do you need every plot twist and turn or to introduce of every minor character. The synopsis is not the place to raise questions like will they ever reach their happy ever after? Keep your cliff-hangers for the story itself.

How long should a synopsis be?


The answer to this is a long as it needs to be. Check your submission details for this information, but once you have your synopsis you can either enlarge it or cut it back to suit a particular submission.

***
Connect with Rachael Thomas on the web:
Website         Blog        Facebook                Twitter              Goodreads

New Year at the Boss’s Bidding
Moretti's by midnight 

Jilted bride Tilly Rogers hopes her luck is changing when she's offered a prestigious catering contract for billionaire businessman Xavier Moretti's New Year's Eve party. But then she ends up snowbound alone with her boss…and at his bidding! 

It's the end of the year and the end of Tilly's contract, which leaves Xavier free to seduce her at his will. Hardly shy of a challenge, this notorious playboy makes it his resolution to have virgin Tilly crumbling by his experienced touch. 

Before the snow settles, Xavier is determined to have Tilly under a brand-new set of tantalizing terms!

Read an Excerpt

Amazon Kindle      
Amazon Paperback      B&N      Harlequin US

Enter this Goodreads Giveaway to win signed copies of New Year at the Boss’s Bidding.
***
Thanks, Rachael!

What about you? Do you love or hate the synopsis? Any more tips to add?

48 comments:

  1. The synopsis can be tough, especially as it has to be perfect. (Although I think I have an easier time with the synopsis than I do with the first time. Must be the brevity.) Although I think two of them end with a question.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They can be tough! I found one tip (for the short ones) to make it 6 paragraphs. That helped me out, then I fleshed it out from there :)

      Delete
    2. Just the word synopsis can strike fear into a writer Alex and that's a good tip Jemi!

      Delete
  2. I wish I had some tips to add- but I find them tough. They have to be so exact and perfect. I am always amazed at how long they take me. Great advice!
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The advice will definitely help me out as well!

      Delete
    2. It does seem silly that a page or two can take so long, but as you say they have to be exact and perfect and are worth spending the time on. Thanks Jess.

      Delete
  3. I really don't like the synopsis! I've got better, but I still struggle to write it in a way that has any life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the issue! Giving it some voice or life is hard!

      Delete
    2. It is definitely an art to be practiced Beth!

      Delete
  4. Oh, so much excellent advice! Writing a synopsis has never failed to trip me up, so I can see this being helpful if I ever needed to do one again...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so pleased you found it helpful Heather! Thanks.

      Delete
    2. The dreaded synopsis strikes fear into almost everyone! :)

      Delete
  5. Such good advice. Part of me hopes I'll never have to write another synopsis as long as I live, but that means I won't ever try to be traditionally published again, so who knows?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are kind of scary aren't they Karen! Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
    2. You can do it, Karen! You can do anything! :)

      Delete
  6. Great advice about synopsis. I find that every writer I meet talks about how hard it is to write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Romance Book Haven and it's something I struggled with too in the beginning - as does every writer I think!

      Delete
    2. So true! It's a whole new skill.

      Delete
  7. Synopses do indeed strike terror into my heart. A problem is every publisher has their own guidelines: from 100 words to 5 pages. Urk! Thank you for outlining what you do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Writing one is tough enough - never mind having so many options!

      Delete
    2. That's the worst part Denise. Try writing a longer one, then make a second much more condensed version.

      Delete
  8. Hey Jemi and Rachael,

    Some most interesting tips about the formulation of a synopsis. Thank you for that, Rachael.

    I only found out recently what a blurb was. Thankfully, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar, pawesome dog and acclaimed pawblisher, explained to me that a blurb was not a form of indigestion...

    As paw, sorry, as per usual, I shall share your post and this excellent info.

    Gary, eh :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Penny is always on the right track! :) Thanks for the shoutout, eh! :)

      Delete
    2. Indigestion! Love it! Thanks Gary.

      Delete
  9. Thanks for this! I have to rewrite my synopsis for a book that I've revised and changed, and I'm not looking forward to it.

    I hate it when I have a 2-page synopsis and agents ask for a one-page synopsis. That's just cruel!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does feel like it Chrys but it will make you focus on the more important points of the book. Good luck!

      Delete
    2. So true Rachael - even if it does feel like torture! :)

      Delete
  10. I struggle so much with the synopsis. Thanks for the handy way to outline it out.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Awesome suggestions. For short ones I always focus on character arcs and 5 main plot points.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great post. A synopsis should be concise and interesting. I used to add backstory, but I stopped doing that a long time ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet you're an expert at this point! :)

      Delete
    2. It's hard sometimes to know just what to put in. Thanks Medeia.

      Delete
  13. Writing a synopsis is close to putting together a 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. When you get it done right, it's wonderful to look at.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Synopsis writing is always hard. No wonder its known as Dreaded Synopsis. All the best to Rachael.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I actually like writing a synopsis. The secret is to focus on the important things.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Good points about a synopsis! Not my favorite writing-related thing ever, but it's often necessary to write. If only it were as fun as writing the actual draft. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not many writers like them Shelley, but as you say, necessary.

      Delete