- Series: How-To Series (Memphis, Tenn.).
- Hardcover: 171 pages
- Publisher: Gryphon Books for Writers; 1st edition (July 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0965437116
- ISBN-13: 978-0965437110
- Package Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #823,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Writing the Fiction Synopsis: A Step by Step Approach (How-To Series (Memphis, Tenn.).) 1st Edition
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This is an excellent, hands-on interactive "how to," instructional book that doesn't read like an instructional manual. The authors use easy to follow examples and use movies from different genres to demonstrate each point. I am a visual learner and I was delighted to find a bonus section in the book. The appendix has several plotting boards ( in color) and GMC- goal, motivation and conflict charts that visually explain how to break your synopsis down to the relevant plot points.
I loved this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling with the dreaded synopsis. Let's face it, just about every author will have to write a synopsis. Writing yours during the brainstorming phase will help you plot your novel and will also reduce your revision time. I've read all of the books on writing a synopsis ( that I could find and it wasn't too many ) and this book, by far, taught me the most and I actually enjoyed reading it. Thank you.
Synopses are evil little demons. To sum up an entire novel in one page seems both wrong and somehow disloyal to the book. But it’s a skill every working novelist needs. I’ve taught myself how to write clear, compelling synopses and I teach others how to do it. But I’ve never learned to like them.
Oh, how I wish I’d read WRITING THE FICTION SYNOPSIS early in my career. McCutcheon has a remarkable way of deconstructing the synopsis that makes the process nearly painless. She shows what to put in, what to leave out, and how to stay true to the novel while summarizing it in a short space. She includes helpful worksheets showing characters and their motivations, plots and their turning points, and even the target market. If a writer faithfully fills out the worksheets, the synopsis is practically written for her. More importantly, the worksheets will help her see her novel in perfect miniature.
My only criticism of this book (and it’s a minor one) is that McCutcheon uses movies instead of books as her examples. I fully understand why she did it, though. Movies are a sort of shorthand for novels, where you can see the turning points and big scenes more clearly. Also, movies feel like common ground. More people will see a popular movie than read a popular book. Still, I wish McCutcheon had used at least one book as an example, perhaps a character-driven piece of literary fiction, just to show that her method works for all kinds of stories.
I don’t know if any writer will truly enjoy writing a synopsis, but with WRITING THE FICTION SYNOPSIS at your side, you can confidently tame the little demon, and make it behave as it should.