Friday, May 04, 2007

Technical Topics -- Synopsis

Couple of thoughts on a synopsis.

A synopsis is you sitting down and telling the story to a friend.
That's the kind of organization and straightforwardness you're aiming for.
If you can, sound like yourself, that's a plus.

This belongs in a synopsis --

Who is the story about?
What kind of person is he?
What problem faced him, or what was at stake?
Why was it important?
What did he do about it?

-- Write they synopsis in present tense.
-- Almost always, give the action chronologically.
-- Follow the story of the protagonist or protagonists ...
-- Don't try to tell everything that happened.
-- Ignore the stories of all the other characters insofar as you can.
-- Do not give plot detail. Give plot essence.
-- Do not keep any secrets or raise any questions you do not answer.
-- Describe minor characters as 'Jim's mother' or 'the Evil Overlord', rather than 'Charlene' or 'Mycroft'.
-- Describe motivation and character of your players, not appearance.
-- No backstory.
-- No descriptiion. No worldbuilding. No explaining.
-- If the story and the synopsis still makes sense after you remove a paragraph or a sentence, remove the paragraph or the sentence.

The agent comes to the synopsis wondering whether you are capable of constructing a story with a beginning, development, and resolution ...
and whether you can create a main character with human motivation who makes believable decisions which result in realistic consequences.

So that's what you want to put into the synopsis.
beginning, development, resolution, motivation, decisions, consequences.

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