writinghardworkLast week’s post was all about doing the research for writing my first synopsis. I had been meaning to do it for some time but once I’d finished my first round of editing, there was no longer an excuse not to get on with it. After reading loads of articles and getting lots of different advice (as always), I went back to an article I had read about story structure because it was proving really hard to write a synopsis when the story still didn’t seem quite clear in my head. Unsurprisingly 😉

The article I read was about Dan Wells’ 7 Point Story Structure. You can read about it in a number of places on the internet but this link was especially useful because it includes videos and some worksheets too.

I took the worksheet and filled in all the stages of my story and suddenly, once I’d done that, I had the makings of a synopsis. I suppose you could argue that what I’ve written is really the outline of the story which I could/should have written from the outset but hey, this was my first novel and I have learnt so much since then. I was a pantser then but would definitely outline every time in the future. Having written the outline though, it’s not a huge step to create a one page synopsis. Of course, if a longer synopsis is required, this approach wouldn’t really work but it would help you to get started.

I would really like you to take a look at my synopsis and tell me what you think. Remember it’s my first go at it so it will need some more work and as I work through my revisions, I will adapt it but some feedback now would be much appreciated. I hope it helps you if you are trying to write a synopsis and if so, please leave me a comment below. Thanks for reading.
Nashville synopsis


6 Comments on How I used story structure to help me write my synopsis

  1. Julie – I needed this. Thank you so much. I’ve been jotting down notes for a dystopia idea since November and I’ve been struggling to bring it all together. I’ll have a look at the videos for sure. Your synopsis sounds amazing. Seems like you’ve got all the point plots covered. Good luck with the writing!!!

    • Thank you so much for your great feedback. I’m really glad you found it useful. Those videos are a godsend! Thank you for reading the synopsis, I really appreciate it. I hope this helps you bring your ideas together, Diana. Good luck 🙂 Let me know how you get on.

  2. I like the cut of your jib J-Stock! I definitely want to read this book when it’s finished. Now, I’m by no means an expert but I’d say this is a pretty strong example of how to write a good synopsis. the only thing I’d say, a minor quibble really, based on things I’ve read on the interweb, is that when you first mention a character, you should ‘all caps’ their name. It helps agents/editors identify the main players at a glance (apparently). Like I say, a minor quibble. Have you ever tried using a script treatment to write your synopsis? I find them helpful for pacing and identifying key events when I’m outlining. Also, visualising your stories as Hollywood movies is massive fun 🙂

    • You made me laugh with your opening comment! I will make sure to send you a copy when it’s finished 🙂 You’re absolutely right about the caps thing for the first time a character is mentioned, I’ve read that before and will correct it ‘tout de suite’ 😉 (I have been drinking wine so maybe cheerier/Frenchier than usual!)
      When you say about script treatments, do you mean for example, like Alexandra Sokoloff’s approach? I have downloaded her e-book but not used it for this synopsis. If not, can you elaborate, please HB?
      Thanks so much for taking the time to reply and for commenting on my synopsis 🙂

      • Ooh no, but I might have to check that out! I found out about script treatments by accident really. I was trawling the interweb for outline templates, and, I don’t know, the treatment thing just struck a chord. The common consensus seems to be that you can approach a treatment with either ‘five major plot points’ or ‘eight individual sequences’. I use the latter but I’ve tweaked it to suit me and how I visualise my stories. I’ve got a little of everything in there I think, including a bit of Joseph Campbell. The key is to find something that works for you, find a process that interests you and play with it, make it your own. I don’t know about you, but I can’t seem to stick religiously to any one formula. I’ve got to shake it up a little. Some of the sites I have found useful though are wheresthedrama.com, scribemeetsworld.com, and thescriptlab.com, to name a few. Hope that sheds a little light on things. Give me a holler if you’ve got any other questions 🙂
        Now, Alexandra Sokoloff you say…

        • Thanks so much for all this new info, HB. I have been busy bookmarking all these sites. Not come across any of them before so I look forward to reading them. I agree that you have to find a system that works for you but when you’re a beginner, there is just SO much information out there and it’s hard to sift through for the best one for you. Anyway, it takes time but I feel sure I will get there eventually. Good luck with yours.

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