Friday, June 25

Writing Outlines & Synopsis: Can't You Just Shoot Me Now?

Me and the ladies over at CTW have decided to write an outline or synopsis to our WIPs to make critiquing them easier for everyone.

What a great idea, right!

It will help our group point out when we veer off into unknown territory. And - since there are five ladies in our group, some of us with two WIPs - it will greatly aide in reminding the critiquer what our/this story is about - should we get confused on which WIP we're dealing with. Highly likely with me. :)

Having an outline or synopsis is just a great addition to our group... but I loathe writing both of them. Writing them makes me feel like I'm back in middle schoool writing a book report.

Despising outlines and synopsis' to such a great degree, I figured... there had to be a some kind of tips and tricks to ease the pain of writing something so unbelievably BORING!

I didn't find any "outstanding" ideas, tips, or tricks. But, I did learn more on the differences between an outline and a synopsis.

Outline: Basically a scene-by-scene breakdown, chapter-by-chapter. You describe each the scene's three purposes, the motivation of the scene, as well as the scene resolution.

Synopsis: An overview of your characters, conflicts, tone and setting of your novel. In my opinion, synopsis allows you more creativity to narrow your pride and joy to only a couple of pages. Synopsis' are generally between two to ten page. Agents and/or Publishers tend to ask for synopsis more often then Outlines.

My interpretation of it is this: Outlines are a break down of the plot with a small dash of your character's traits and Synopsis is more character driven with plot as the driving force, so to speak. Both still seem like "book reports" of your novel, just different angle's of it.

And what has learning the true difference between outline and synopsis taught me???

I should write both... an outline and synopsis. Though a lot more work will be involved, I think presenting both opportunities to my critique partners will give them more options and a better advantage.

What tips or tricks help you write an outline or synopsis? Which do you find less intimidating?


Tessa Conte said...

OMG I HATE synopsis(es)!!! You'll see that I mostly just gave 'overviews'... Also, pantser here so I have an issue with outlines and synopsis(es).

On another note, AWARD for you on my blog!!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

It's great that you're doing that because when you sell your book your publisher will want the synopsis to help the art department and others working to promote your novel. You'll be a step ahead by doing this. :)

Olivia Herrell said...

It recently occurred to me that I need to do something to keep me from getting lost. Maybe this is the something. Having said that, this sounds like a LOT of work. As Tessa said, I'm a pantser, too. Maybe I'll try her approach. Let us know how yours works out!

Thanks for the great post, Olivia

Olivia Herrell said...

BTW, love your new look!

Courtney Reese said...

My synopsis is ... complex. I should apologize ahead of time. You can see when I got really tired of writing it and just kinda wrapped it all up, lol. Hey, you'll understand some of it. I hope.

Oh, and I also found out that there are a few people in the RWA who will write your synopsis for you (for a fee, of course). Now I'm not sure how good/bad they are, but at the time, I was sorely tempted to shell out the cash. Not that I would ever take them up on it.... ;-P

Suzie said...

@Tessa: Yay! Another award!! *dancing in circles* ... I'm completely rewriting Secret Denied and have only a vague idea where it's going... I'll be pantser-ing through it, too. At least for a while.

@Kathi: That's what I'm hoping! Though I'm sure the synopsis I wrote up for my para is far from agent/publisher ready... I think I did okay for the first I've ever wrote. :)

@Olivia: Thanks. I'm still iffy about it. The new blogger designer sucks. It puts too much of a limit on me..... Having an outline might be a good think for you. Just add to it periodically as you go. :)

@Courtney: It's tempting, though, right! :) I don't think I could have anyone write my synopsis for a MS I'm wanting to submit. That would make me feel like a cheater of sorts. Of course, when it comes to submitting a synopsis, I can always have you wonderful girls at CTW critique it. :)