View Full Version : How To Write a Romance Novel-Writing the Synopsis

March 19th, 2013, 08:50 AM
Hope you had a good weekend. This week Iíll focus on a topicthat many writers dread and thatís writing a synopsis. Maybe Iím in theminority but I actually enjoy putting one together. I canít explain why but Ithink itís fun to try and tell someone your story in just a couple of pages.For the last two years Iíve been teaching a workshop on the topicÖhope no oneminds me doing some promoting here but beginning on April 1st Iímteaching I Used to Hate Writing A SynopsisÖ but not anymore, for the Heart ofCarolina Romance Writers.<o:p></o:p>
Okay, enough shameless self-promoting and onto our subjectof the week, how to write a great synopsis.<o:p></o:p>
So what exactly makes for a perfect synopsis? Itís one thatmakes the reader take notice and want to read the actual manuscript. So the keyis to make it as enticing as you can.<o:p></o:p>
Most writers who take my workshops tell me they think theirsynopsis sounds boring and reads like a book report. The good news is thatísnot so bad because in a way they should. You just need to strike that finebalance between stating the facts of your story but doing it in a way thatmakes the reader, usually an editor, sit up and take notice.<o:p></o:p>
And here is my number one tip, remember how weíre told toshow and not tell? When youíre writing a synopsis do the opposite and youíreless likely to get bogged down with information the synopsis doesnít need.<o:p></o:p>
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A good synopsis has the following qualities-<o:p></o:p>
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It focuses on the key players, meaning the main character orcharacters. In a romance thatís the heroine and hero. So donít waste preciousspace telling the reader about a character who only appears on a couple ofpages and doesnít have any connection to the story or the hero or heroine. <o:p></o:p>
It keys in on the conflict-remember the rule no conflict, nostory. The same applies to a synopsis. Show the reader the problem and whatthese characters face and overcome during your story.<o:p></o:p>
It gives away the plot-no holding back in the synopsis. Tellthe reader about the twists and turns, unexpected events like someone is reallyin disguise etc.<o:p></o:p>
It tells them about the bad stuff-thatís the black moment ina romance. The part where things look like there wonít be a happy ending forthe hero and heroine.<o:p></o:p>
It never teases the reader, it always shows the reader howyouíll tie up loose ends and resolve everything. <o:p></o:p>
Itís story specific. Paranormals need more background toadequately convey the world and people youíve created because it doesnít existin the real world. Romantic suspense needs more attention to timeline andsequence of events for it to make sense.<o:p></o:p>
Iíll be posting more tips about writing a synopsis laterthis week. Do you have any questions for me? If so, Iíd be happy to answerthem.<o:p></o:p>
And start thinking about your synopsis. Does it have all thequalities Iíve mentioned here?<o:p></o:p>
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Darcy Flynn
March 21st, 2013, 09:41 AM
Hi Susie,

I'm one of those who hate writing the synopsis. Grrrr!!! :) I'm afraid the left side of my brain likes to sleep in! LOL

When do you write your synopsis? Before or after you write your book? I'm wondering if writing it before would help me to flesh out my story and then I could use it as a guide when I write my book. Any thoughts on that or does it just come down to personal preference?

March 21st, 2013, 07:54 PM
Hi Darcy, great question and I've just posted another piece about writing a synopsis which addresses this topic. I think it all depends you on and sometimes what you're writing. I've written some before I've started, some after so it even varies from one story to the next. However, as I've mentioned in the post, sometimes if you're writing a longer story with lots of characters it's a good idea to create something even if it's just an outline before you start. Also, I'd recommend putting one together before you write if you're the sort of writer who gets lost halfway through a story or even lack the motivation to finish a story. All the best, Susan