Monday, April 11, 2011

3 Tips on Monday

A cabinet card of three childrenphoto © 1915 National Media Museum | more info (via: Wylio)

Three. I've noticed that many informative essays and blog posts group things in 3s. Three ways to lose weight. Three ways to save money. Three ways to fold bath towels.

Strangely enough, when things come in threes, they tend to resonate with me. I can remember three things.  I can choose from three things which to implement. Longer lists will drop from my ken, try thought I might to preserve them.

So I thought perhaps I would start a series of blog posts, writing related, that would give three tips on a particular aspect of writing. By no means an exhaustive attempt to cover any particular item of craft, I do hope that it will help me, and help you, to perhaps add tools to your writing toolbox in a way that will be user-friendly and easy to remember.

For this first Monday, since I'm working on writing synopses, I'm going to give three tips that have helped me and will hopefully help you when it comes to writing the DREADED SYNOPSIS.

1. Begin with the main character.
  • Who is it?
  • What do they want?
  • What will keep them from getting it?

2. Figure out the big moments.
  • A plot is a sequence of events. Figure out the biggest of these first.
  • These events will stem from what the character wants and why they can't have it. Be sure to make clear the consequences to the character and to others if the goal isn't reached.
  • Begin to string the big moments together in a logical sequence.
3. Get Feedback
  • Tell the story to someone else. Watch their facial expressions, so you can see when your story has an emotional impact, a surprise, or if they're bored. Let them ask you questions to identify where the story needs help.
  • Identify the plot holes, areas where things don't make sense, or places where you character is acting out of character.
  • Go back to the beginning and re-tell the story aloud with your adjustments to see if it makes sense.

What tips have you learned for writing the DREADED SYNOPSIS?


  1. This is great advice. I really loathe the synopsis. Mine end up being WAY too long. I like the idea of coming up with the big event first and then going from there.

  2. 3 is my favorite number. I learned how important motivation is when writing a synopsis!

  3. These are good tips. I've read so much about writing a synopsis I think I shall write a book on it. No. Thank. You. ;)
    ~ Wendy

  4. Synopsis are far worse for me to write after I've written the story than before. I just want to get too much detail in afterward, but before writing it I can seem to pick out the major points much easier.

  5. I use "threes" quite often. Listen to my sermons or lessons, even in my blog posts, I'm using groups of three all over the place (as I just did, now, right there, in my previous words!).

  6. I've learned that once you force yourself to do it, it's not all that bad. =)

  7. Since I'm geeky about math, I created my own formula. I start with two paragraphs, one for the heroine and one for the hero--their GMC's. Then I write a paragraph for the hook, first turning point, mid-point, black moment, and the end. After that, it's just filling in the details.

    I love the idea of tips based on three!