Sunday, May 2, 2010

Antagonistic Synopsis!

My synopsis is out to get me.

Chautauqua has given me an assignment: Write a one page synopsis to send with the first 2500 words of my novel. Due June 1st. Okay, I can do this. I know what my novel is about. I've written the premise and turned it into a logline. I've prepared a picture file to help me visualize my settings. I've done character studies and I know my protagonist well. I've written the first six chapters. I thought it was all very clear in my head... until I tried to put it down as a synopsis. That's when I realized there were major issues.

First, my ending is fuzzy. How can I write my story if I don't know where I'm going? Second, I discovered I didn't know my antagonist. So I pulled out the big guns - Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, by Donald Maass.

I don't know if you've ever used this workbook, but it's a fabulous tool. Hard to do, but that's because he makes you dig deep to get to know your characters, their motivations, and plot development. He makes you think about your darlings thoroughly, and the results are well-rounded, believable characters that (hopefully) your readers will love, and a plot that satisfies. Did I mention this was hard?

I spent over two hours this afternoon with my antagonist -getting to know her, defining her desires and goals, working on the world of my novel and how she wants to change it. It was liberating! The ending fell into place - the last piece of the puzzle. I hope, anyway. I've listed the major plot points, and I'm confident I can write the synopsis. Now, if I can only get it down to one page...

11 comments:

Faith E. Hough said...

Good luck! Synopses are so difficult!

Marcia said...

It's great how so much fell into place for you. So many wonderful tools--but it's all so hard!

Nora MacFarlane said...

Thanks Faith!

Marcia - Yup, I'm feeling stretched and blessed!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Nora,
Best wishes on the synopsis...I think it's important to remember that you are trying to entice the reader into reading the whole book...

Do you know who your mentor is yet?

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I may have to try this approach for my next project!

out of the wordwork said...

I hate synopses! So glad yours is getting tackled to the ground.
Nelsa

Christina Farley said...

The synopsis is just plain aweful. Hang in there!

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

Nora, thanks for the resource recommendation! I hope your synopsis works out. They are far from easy. It sounds like you're well on your way, though!

Marissa

Medeia Sharif said...

I dread synopsis writing. It seems more angst-ridden than writing the actual book.

Alex Gartner said...

The big guns? I don't think you could have described Writing the Breakout Novel any better!

prashant said...

Good luck!
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