Author Topic: 9-minute video with unusual suggestions for writing a SYNOPSIS  (Read 876 times)

Offline Munley

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The main idea is not to try to pare down the novel you have written.

Harry Bingham of Jericho Writers advises doing 2 other things to do instead.
His suggestions do sound easier and more practical than trying to reduce 400 pages down to 500 words.

I also like his introduction of what a synopsis is and isn't, and the chief purpose it serves for an agent or publisher. It's a good guide to keep in mind.

Here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga7LeoQ8U80

Offline jonny_555

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Re: 9-minute video with unusual suggestions for writing a SYNOPSIS
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2021, 02:51:17 PM »
The Jericho Writers gang give great advice and their database is pretty useful too. Thanks for sharing Munley ;)
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Offline Munley

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Re: 9-minute video with unusual suggestions for writing a SYNOPSIS
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2021, 07:39:07 AM »
You're welcome, Johnny.

Just tried the suggested approach. Turned out to be amazingly easier than trying to boil down the book.
My novel is literary fiction, and might not seem to fit the 5-ingredient outline that stands out more in genre fiction.
But a plot summary does have to show a plot, so this approach was helpful.

The last paragraph of my query letter tries to distinguish my novel from a genre mystery, which mine does have much in common with:
THROUGH SEA GLASS, DARKLY (96,000 words) is literary crime fiction. There is a question of whodunnit, but the deeper story is about the risk of probing into notions driven by love and a hunger for justice, and finding the outcome unbearable.


I made a two-column table with the headings in the narrow left column:

STATUS QUO
INCITING INCIDENT (that disrupts the status quo)
DEVELOPMENT
CRISIS (that brings everything to a head)
RESOLUTION

As he mentions, the headings won't go in the actual summary you submit to an agent or publisher, but I found it handy to keep them in view while deciding on the what plot points to include. Then all you have to do is layer the emotional arc of the main character onto the plot points. Works great! Did it in just over 500 words = one single-spaces page.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 08:17:03 AM by Munley »

Offline AVA_writing

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Re: 9-minute video with unusual suggestions for writing a SYNOPSIS
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2021, 08:15:06 AM »
This is helpful, thanks! I will try it next time. I usually dump the Plot Detail section of my Book Map and trim it to 1 or 2 pages  ;D
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 09:12:54 AM by AVA_writing »

Offline Munley

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Re: 9-minute video with unusual suggestions for writing a SYNOPSIS
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2021, 08:18:18 AM »
This is helpful, thanks! I will try it next time. I usually dump the Plot Detail section of my Book Map dump and trim it to 1 or 2 pages  ;D

Is this an online template? If so, would you post the link? thanks!

Offline Odd John

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Re: 9-minute video with unusual suggestions for writing a SYNOPSIS
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2021, 09:16:39 AM »
Great vid! Great method! Thanks for this reference.  ;D
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Offline AVA_writing

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Re: 9-minute video with unusual suggestions for writing a SYNOPSIS
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2021, 09:19:10 AM »
@Munley, you can take a look here https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-outline-a-book/
If you word search Book Outline Template, you can download three different excel documents to book map with. I have a hybrid of #1 and #2 that I use. That said, I tend to Book Map after I have a substantial amount written (50K words) and then organize with it. It works for me...

Offline Munley

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Re: 9-minute video with unusual suggestions for writing a SYNOPSIS
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2021, 12:49:06 PM »
Thanks for the link, Ava. Lots of interesting stuff on that site.