Writing the Mystery Synopsis

It’s Labor Day here in the USA and any writer will tell you…writing a synopsis is hard labor. After checking multiple author websites, and my own writing manual (free PDF here) I have refreshed my memory on exactly how to organize one. These tricky summaries of plot are basically story outlines in sentence form.

No subplots. Few characters, just the main one (or two). Include all major plot twists and/or turning points and spell out the ending with a super spoiler. Also, make the first sentence a sensational hook. And, use the voice of your book, so if it’s comic, write a funny synopsis. If it’s dark, write a spooky one.

That’s my best advice plus a wing and a prayer. Why am I putting myself through this grueling process? I want to get eyes on my work and Pitch Wars! has agents, editors and authors looking at synopsis and first chapter near the end of September. The window is only open for a few days. There’s still time, but not a whole lot of it.

Today I’m working on the synopsis with an eye toward sending it to my Michigan Sister in Crime Pitch Wars! partner, Zoe. We have already vetted each other’s first chapters. 🙂 Believe it or not, writing the synopsis is harder. Particularly when you have to do it all on one page, which is what Pitch Wars! asks for.

Lucky for me, Al has the day off and he’s barbecuing dinner.

Easy Synopsis

I was dreading writing that synopsis for Mary Louise. But as it turns out, it was totally easy, because it’s just like writing the middle part of a long review. I have a method for reviews, a sort of template I follow. The middle of  my PW reviews are always a summary of the story, without spoilers. They need to be intriguing in themselves, so readers will want to buy the book. Or not. That’s the point of reviews, right?

So I’ve been reviewing for a long time, and it’s gotten to be second nature. Which is why the synopsis was a snap! I’m not kidding. I wrote out a draft yesterday and polished it today and I feel like its ready to go!

The other nice thing about a synopsis is it shows me plot holes and how to fix them. It’s a look at the big picture. It really helped. Next up, I’m taking some time for myself. I got so revved up by this assignment that I sort of forgot to grocery shop, exercise, or breathe. So today I am going to make an effort to just slow down and be calm. A yoga class will help with that.

All will be well. Things are proceeding even better than expected. This is so fun. I knew my fiction button would turn on again with just a little bit of encouragement.