Sunday, October 13, 2013

How I Nailed The Dreaded One-Page Synopsis - I Think

I'm excited for November 2nd, because I'll be heading to London to attend a writing workshop (this makes me feel so legit, LOL). The workshop focuses on revision and I have high hopes that it'll be worth the trip, because, get this: we have homework.

Part of said homework, which is to be handed in two weeks before the workshop, is a 1-page synopsis.

Yes, that flash you saw running for the hills five months ago was me, shortly after I received the confirmation email for the workshop, which included these words that strike fear in the heart of every writer: 1-page synopsis. ONE-page synopsis. ONE friggin' PAGE. I, the author of this baby that I adore, am supposed to distill its 90.000 word brilliance into 500 words or less while upholding its 'moral' and 'structural' integrity?


This wasn't the first time I tried my hand at writing a synopsis, one-page or more. I always end up with a twenty-page behemoth that, to my mind, can not be cut without inducing maximum confusion in the reader (said reader being me after sleeping on it for a few nights). I was always confused by my own synopses. Which frustrated me. Which made me trash the whole thing and start all over. Ending up with another twenty pages and starting the whole vicious circle all over again.

I honestly think I've never finished a single synopsis to my own satisfaction, much less anybody else's. But now, for this workshop, I want to send them the best of the best of the best. So I began the painful behemoth process again and... despaired.

And what does a blocked writer do? Surf the interwebz and call it "research", obviously. Except this time said research actually paid off (and don't think for a second that I hadn't scoured the internet to find The Synopsis Oracle before). The almighty Google in all its wisdom lead me to a blog post titled How To Write A 1-Page Synopsis. It gives a step by step breakdown and uses Star Wars: A New Hope as an example - could there be a better one? *nerd alert*

And even more amazing than the example is that it works. At least for me. I had a first draft of the synopsis down within two hours. It was still too long, but there was a clear structure in it, which made it easy to cut the unimportant stuff. Presto! I now have a one-page synopsis that I am proud of and doesn't confuse the reader. I think. I hope. I'll see, come November.

Since all credit for these golden instructions goes to Susan Dennard, I won't explain them in this post. If you're intrigued or in desperate need of synopsis-advice check them out here. I just wanted to express my kudos and gratitude, and help others find The Synopsis Oracle, which does exist after all.

No comments:

Post a Comment