Synopsis Writing

Jaguarpaddler pulled together all the rules he found for writing a good synopsis to send to an agent and/or editor, and I thought they were useful so here they are.

Before writing answer the following questions concisely.

  1. Who is the hero? (Why is he interesting?)
  2. What does the hero want? (External and internal goals)
  3. The door opens. (The hero meets the problem)
  4. The hero takes control. (After walking through the open door the protag takes control of the situation and experiences the illusion of early success.)
  5. A monkey wrench is thrown. (A screw-up happens. A new threat arises. A new character enters. Complications develop.)
  6. Things fall apart. (Bad things happen. Protag realizes that they are of his own making. Characters get a set of choices/decisions and try to find another way out without facing their fears and still getting it wrong.) List as many ways as you can think of for things to go wrong then condense into one sentence.
  7. Hero hits bottom. (Moment of truth) Time is running out. Hero is at the end of the line. Hero must choose. Character’s black moment.
  8. The hero risks all. (Finally gets it right)
  9. What does the hero get? (Reward)

Writing the synopsis.

  1. Open with hook. (High concept blurb.)
  2. Tell who hero is, what they want and why they want it.
  3. The door opens.
  4. Hero takes control.
  5. Monkey wrench.
  6. Things fall apart.
  7. Hero hits bottom.
  8. Hero risks all.
  9. What does the hero get?

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