10 rules for writing a synopsis

Wonderful advice if you hate writing synopses. (They’re fun, if you approach them in the right way.) Tip — try writing your synopsis before you start plotting. It’s a great way to kick off your novel.

BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Carole BlakeI’m away for a few days so here is something from a year ago which I think is still interesting – synopsis training.
The agent Carole Blake, author of From Pitch to Publicationsays that any story can be boiled down to:

What does the main character want, and what’s stopping them from getting it?

If there’s no conflict, there’s no story.
Here’s a couple of examples she gives:

Macbeth:
What does Macbeth want? To be King of Scotland.
What’s stopping him? There’s already a king, with two sons as his heirs.

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy:
What does Gabriel Oak want? To marry Bathsheba Everdene. What’s stopping him? She becomes a woman of property, and falls in love with the wrong man.

I’ve yet to meet anyone who actually enjoys writing a synopsis but it is an essential writing tool – especially if your aim is…

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