A Step-by-Step Synopsis Creation Method

A Synopsis Creation Method to take the sting out of this awful task

No one likes writing a synopsis for a book-length manuscript. Taking your 500 page masterpiece and distilling it into 2 or 3 pages? Unthinkable!

I’ve developed a synopsis creation method that will make this arduous task seem a lot less painful. Here’s how I do it:

Synopsis Creation Method
You may want to shred that sumbitch, but don’t do it

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Step by Step Easy Synopsis Creation Method

  1. Write a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline. Usually two or three sentences per chapter will do it, depending on how many chapters you have.
  2. Throw all that into one document, then proof it, and edit the text so it presents like a short story.
  3. You should clearly define what your protagonist wants, what stands in her way, the stakes, and what she does to overcome that obstacle. We need to see the whole arc clearly.
  4. Now, start to strip away the flab. If your “short story synopsis” is 20 pages, cut it 15, removing minor characters and subplots that don’t have a great impact on the plot, unnecessary details and descriptions. Cut out adjectives, adverbs, and use shorter words where you can.
  5. Cut it in half again, but always keep in mind step #3 above. Make sure we see the entire protagonist arc, but ask yourself if these two sentences can be shortened into one.
  6. Keep cutting, always removing and condensing wherever you can.
  7. Make 5-page, 3-page, and 2-page versions, always remembering the character arc.

That’s it! As an extra bonus, now you have several versions of your synopsis that you can send out to agents or use as a teaser on your website, Wattpad, whatever.

You’ve also gained some practice at “killing your darlings” which will aid you in this writing game.

If you found this post useful, please give it a share, or drop a comment below if you have a better synopsis creation method to share.