This week I have been researching…real live researching to learn How To Write a Synopsis.

For writers, research is a synonym for Alice’s rabbit hole, much like looking for ONE video on youtube.  Author Joseph Finder – Nick Heller mystery thriller series –  wrote a fun piece on the topic a couple of years ago Research: A Writer’s Best Friends and a Writer’s Worst Enemy.  (He has a For Writers tab you should check out too)

When I feel myself following the White Rabbit, becoming overwhelmed with the information, I go back to Finder’s article, my “Linus’ Blanket” pulling me out of the spiral, remembering “fix in post”, Finder’s advice taken from movie making, basically write rough and fix the facts in editing.

1afb56c974743bdc4f74010ae4c647adWhile the advice iss directed to novel writing, it applies equally to any task and specifically the hard ones – Synopsis Writing.  CC Cedras and SA Young may be scratching their heads, knowing my tendency to NOT give enough in the writing – what color are the shoes? Is it warm or cold? Dark or light? Are there scents from a coffee shop or cafe? –  I should embrace the concept of using 500 words instead of 50K plus.

I started with a known source, and one we go to often here at SSS, Jami Gold: Recipe for a Successful Synopsis, and generic web searches. WARNING typing key words into the empty search bar is a goose-grease-slick long-eared rodent tunnel.  Not too far down the slippery path, Jami also gives the link in her post, I found the guide where lessons are gelling, Susan Dennard using Star Wars as a step-by-step How To Write a 1-Page Synopsis.

f6655a6b178d4c8479ece830c9d3f4aeThere are three basic rules. Just three. Across the board. Every link followed. When I see it more than five times…I begin to suspect there might be something to this.

  • Synopses names three ONLY characters – protagonist, antagonist, love interest.  I’m going to try and bend this rule a bit because OUR story is about three women with one spotlit in each book, so I’m hoping all three characters can be named in the synopsis without delving into subplots.
  • Synopses stick to the main plot – don’t waste synopsis space on subplots
  • Synopses reveal the ending….WHAT???  WHAT???  I’mma need a drank*!

f5828d919cdabc14619880658bdf1d9bLike most things, starting is the hard part. Two months ago I was terrified of the log line and not one drop of blood was shed over that.


Do you get bogged down in the research of a new venture, project, recipe, home remodel,  or do you jump in and “fix in post”?


*Drink is for thirst and moderate social satisfaction. Drank, not the past tense of drink, but sedative self-medicating spoken or written as humor not advocating the practice.