Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oh that synopsis!

Synopses make me sleepy. They make my head spin. And I'm convinced that the author should be the last person to make their own synopsis.

The essence of a good Synopsis, in my opinion is a good but not too in depth summary of the manuscript. Keep GMC in mind. Keep characters to a minimum. You don't need to tell every last feeling, or detail. That's just coincidental to the main skeleton of the story. And when I say skeleton, I mean skeleton.

When you see a pretty girl, you say 'she has nice bones'. Yes she does. So should the good synopsis. GMC

in other words - she wants, because, but:

Perhaps a good method is to ask yourself questions.

Who is the heroine?
Who is the hero?

What does she want?
What does he want?

Why does she want it?
Why does he want it?


Let's do a synopsis for Sleepless in Seattle.

Meg Ryan.
Tom Hanks.

Sub characters are the kid, the boring fiance.

What does she want?

She wants to get married and get settled into a happily ever after. She's in a rut and the fiance is as boring as bat teeth.

What does he want?

He wants the hurt to stop. He wants to move on with his life.

But (she)?

She's blind to the man she is living with. He's a mere blob on her horizon. One night she hears a phone call. A little boy trying to sell his father. To find a lady who will make his Dad happy again. She's intrigued because she is slowly understanding herself. That she is about to be buried in a droll lifetime of repetition. So the little boy strikes that chord inside her. The part that makes her eventually write a letter.

But (he)?

He is caught in a web. The radio host is making him say things he never really meant to tell. The loneliness and the agony of a widower. And this in turn is making him realise that he must, for his son's sake, start to make a move on moving on.

There are a lot of distractions here for the synopsis. The best friend trying to convince Meg to write. The kid being cute as. The comparison of the Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr movie. But these are distractions. The essence is in the previous paragraphs.

So what happens because?

She is drawn to meet him. She traces him on the computer - it's not hard - no big deal. Gets on a plane goes to meet him but when she finds him he's hugging a woman.
She nearly gets run over, but also realises what a foolish thing she's done. She'd made so many assumptions.

So what happens because?

He sees her nearly get run over and recognises her from an encounter at the airport where, unbeknownst to her, some chemical attraction, thought lost had awakened inside him.

Answers her letter. Arranges a meeting in New York on the Empire State.

Now the emphasis falls onto the lead up to their meeting.

She's joining fiance on a trip to New York to damage control. Not forgetting that it's coinciding with a certain rendezvous the child had arranged on behalf of his father.

Finds out his son has organised himself a trip to New York for a rendezvous with a strange woman.

So what happens? We are at the climax here. The will they won't they?


Can't help herself. She has to rendezvous.


He finds his son. They forget the bag.


Finds the bag. They've gone.


He races back to rescue the bag.

And the ending?

They recognise each other and we have HEA.

So this is the barebones and given that,
how would you write the synopsis?

1 comment:

Zee said...

Ooookay. I need that. Very good stuff, Miz Money Pen.