This week, I'm sharing my synopsis writing process. It's also a major part of my plotting process because I write the synopsis before I write the book.
Photo by hashir
Writers like to divide themselves into two categories: those who plot and those who don’t. I’m a plotter. I wasn’t always one, but years ago, in an effort to write faster and tighter, I decided to learn about plotting. After all, if I hated it, I wouldn't do it again. To my delight, I tried a myriad of plotting methods and loved the end result.
Here’s why I love plotting. It forces me to understand the main points of my book before I write. When I nail those down, I have a clearer idea of how my characters will grow and the events that will shape them along the way. Plus, the saggy middle virtually disappears. With a firm plan, I write first drafts quickly.
I can’t take credit for the plotting methods I use. All of them were borrowed from other writers generous enough to share their secrets. Some were found on websites, some from word of mouth, and others through books on the writing craft. Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method made a big impact on me, and you can read all about it at Advanced Fiction Writing.
I consider the one-page synopsis the foundation of basic plotting. It fleshes out the main story points and gives you a skeleton of where your book needs to go. Depending on your comfort zone, you may wish to continue to intermediate plotting, where you'll expand your one-page synopsis to a long synopsis. If you want to get radical, go all the way to advanced plotting, where you plot each scene. Don't worry, I'll walk you through every step.
The following is based on my experiments to find the best plotting method for me. However, you should experiment to find the best method for you.
First, narrow down what genre book you are writing. Different genres require different pacing, tension, and plot development. I write romance novels so my books revolve around two characters’ journey to love. I sift through possible ideas and flesh out the main characters and premise of my book first. When I have a hero, a heroine, and a hook, I begin brainstorming their goals, motivations, and conflicts.
With these basics, I am ready to start writing the synopsis.
Join me on Wednesday for part two--the step-by-step process of writing a one-page synopsis.