more on writing a synopsis

As you know if you’ve been watching this space, I’m working on a synopsis for the WIP. Like many writers, I hate it. I hate more than I used to because over the years I’ve become more of a pantser sort of writer than a plotter. But I still need a synopsis. With details. These details are the problem.

I figured out a good 3/4 of what should happen yesterday, got that written up, and then realized in the middle of the night (waking up just for this) that it simply won’t work as it stands. Not that I’d sorted out the key end 1/4, but that’s what made me realize it won’t work as stands. So I have to change something, probably a lot of somethings.

To give a little more detail, one of the problems is that there will be light romance in this story. The initial hero type is introduced, but seems interested in someone else. The initial bad boy/mean bully type, is introduced and is pretty awful. Later in the story, we are to learn that mean bully did what he did for her own good and then help her out and maybe there’s a romantic connection. So far I can’t figure out a motivation that will mollify anyone including me about why he’s so obnoxious to her and I can’t sell the idea to someone else if I can’t sell it to myself. I’ve been turning it over in my head and either I can make him less of an ass, or find a damned good reason why he behaves as he does.

So far I’ve figured out one vague possibility for why he behaves that way that *might* work. Might, but only if I can flesh it out more and really make people sympathetic when they learn it. So that he’s really a tortured soul. I like that idea, in so much I like a good tortured soul as part of a romance. On the other hand, maybe he’s not meant to be a good guy at all. Maybe he’s just destined to be an asshat and be a reluctant ‘hero’ without a lot of heroic qualities.

The other thing that makes this difficult is that the initial hero is put in a position to do the wrong thing because he pretty much has to, which will betray my main girl character. Unless they can find a way to solve the problem without betraying her and without harming all the other people who stand to be harmed.

It’s a bit of a convoluted story. I think I really *need* to map it out in order to write it properly since there’s a fair bit going on and I need to layer things in properly. Which means I’m going to have to map out a variety of possibilities and see where they go. On the other hand, I’ve come up with some main events that will work for either kind of story, but just the wherefore and howsabout changes.

It feels a lot like trying to play Battleship. Sigh.

So off to work on that.


  • Douglas C. Meeks

    Many writers do not realize the importance of a good synopsis, I have read great and terrible and in between but THAT is what gets most readers to try your book.

    • Di Francis

      Well, on the surface that makes sense, but really, in the end, the outline doesn’t matter. That’s because once the book is done, no matter how you got there, it still has to work as a story. So the writer revises and restructures and guts and changes in order to make it work. A lot of very good writers are pantsers. A lot write outlines that they promptly throw out because they discover the outlines don’t work. Not all that many work to the outline. Definitely some, but not very many.

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