Synopsis Formula by Diane PerkinsAt this time of year -- no, not the Holidays -- Golden Heart Contest time, I hear many of my friends moan about having to write a synopsis. See Lorelle's Blog of November 15, for example. I used to have difficulty writing synopses until my friend Darlene Gardner (Assignment Humbug in Dashing Through the Mall, Nov 2006) gave me this synopsis formula. Darlene did not claim to have invented it and neither do I. I've seen similar versions by several authors, so to whoever first thought this up, Thank You!
This synopsis formula provides a structure which gave me a simple way to include in the synopsis the Goal, Motivation, and Conflict (concepts from Debra Dixon's Goal, Motivation, & Conflict:The Building Blocks of Good Fiction)of the hero and heroine and their backstory without having to try to weave it into the plot. My most difficult problem was solved. I used this synopsis formula on my 2003 Golden Heart Winner. So here, it is, and I hope it helps some of you Contest Hopefuls out there.
Diane’s (and a bunch of other people's) Synopsis Formula
A paragraph or one or two sentences that gives the story premise, like a back cover blurb.
The Goal Motivation and Conflict of the heroine (or hero) Include necessary parts of their backstory
The Goal Motivation and Conflict of the hero (or heroine) Include necessary parts of their backstory
The Plot (Just say, "The story begins with...")
Major turning points only.
Focus on the romantic plot, too.
The Black Moment
Use as few names as possible. The hero and heroine, and one or two important characters. For everyone else, use terms like, the cousin, the heroine's best friend, her neighbor, his father, etc.
In Romance, it is the romantic plot that is most important. You can leave out or give only the barest summary of the external plot
That is it! My holiday gift to you!
What is the hardest part for you about writing a synopsis?
Do any of you have a synopsis formula that works for you? If so, let us know!