Author Topic: Ground Rules  (Read 28589 times)


  • Guest
an source I found useful for putting a synopsis together
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2014, 05:15:51 AM »
One of the hardest things for me about writing a plot summary is deciding what events and encounters to put in and what to leave out.

I got some helpful ideas from watching  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on American Experience on PBS last night.

[link to watch program is pasted in below]

The main thing to notice is the inclusion of landmark details from a life that make a significant difference in the direction that life takes from each of those landmark points along the way.

This presentation of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid develops not only develops one life story, but shows how two very different lives from two very different geographic areas converge to form a criminal team, what personal motivations led each to the point of convergence, and how each step along the way made some significant difference. It also shows a worthy antagonist, Pinkerton Detective Agency, to put an end to the crimes. It shows what is special about Pinkerton that made them uniquely qualified to go against these outlaws.

Butch Cassidy was born Robert Leroy Parker into a very strict Mormon family on a homestead in Utah. The oldest of a large brood of kids, he helped raise the others while his father was working away on long stretches to feed his family, which remained poor, no matter how hard dad worked.

So Robert Parker starts out as a responsible, hard-working boy who loves his family.

Then, at 18, he himself takes a job on a ranch owned by Mike Cassidy.
If this is your plot summary, why mention this job? Why mention Mike Cassidy? What makes this encounter a significant landmark in the life of this boy and what direction does it take from there?

Other jobs are mentioned. Why put them in your plot summary? How exactly do they transform Robert Parker from a hardworking boy trying to take care of his younger siblings to the outlaw he becomes?

Harry Longubah, born in an industrial town in Pennsylvania, eventually becomes known as "the Sundance Kid" and becomes Butch Cassidy's partner in crime in the wild west.

What landmarks in his life made little differences as he went along and subsequent changes in direction?

Here is a link where you can watch this program yourself with those questions in mind. You do not need to log in to watch as the screen says you need to. You can just click on the video arrow.

If you're not interested in Butch Cassidy, there are many other American Experience videos posted on the PBS site. With any one you could watch with an eye to what details were selected to build up the a whole life with some overall, integrated picture of what this life amounted to.

Offline Falthor

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4395
  • Karma: 251
  • Picture of Me and one of the Twins (Chloe)
Re: Ground Rules
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2014, 06:25:22 PM »
no time limit....  jump in with both feet and a polite attitude.
“The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.”

-Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.