Sunday, February 08, 2009


I've had several people ask me how to write a synopsis, and I've decided to post little bits about my process. I used to struggle with this bit of writing until an epiphany day at the library. (I sometimes take a day at my local library and put the writing mind into the light-speed setting from open until close.)

I tried and tried to write a good synopsis for my current book, but my efforts felt flat and my words were disconnected from the heart of what I was trying to say in the book. I was sitting on the floor because the library was extra busy and all my favorite chairs were taken. I'd struggled for hours to write the synopsis of one of my books. Yes, I wiped away more than one frustrated tear. What, 10 lines? How hard could it be?

Can you say, "Mission Impossible?"

That's when I looked up and saw a poster with the synopsis of every Newbery book since the beginning of time. I read each one, slowly. I thought about what elements that seemed to lurk in every synopsis.

Here's my first lesson: the nuts and bolts of synopsis writing. Each one I read included the setting, the name of the main character and indicated the age of the character, and the most basic shape of the plot. There were very few adjectives or adverbs; each synopsis was driven by nouns and verbs. Click on this link and then and read each short synopsis. Your first job is to read a bunch of these and then write your own short synopsis, something very short, no more than 6 to 7 lines. Let me know how it goes. More to come next week...

Here is this week's doodle, "Full of Eyes."

Remember: ©Molly Blaisdell, all rights reserved. If you want to use my cool doodles, ask permission first. It is so wrong to take people's doodles without permission!

I've been down this week (a number of painful rejections, folks) and am turning to my favorite RX for the blues. My playlist hit for the week is Alison Krauss and Robert Plant singing "Killing the Blues." This is a terrible recording but don't despair, go to their website and listen to their album. It's a revelation.

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. Anne Frank


Vivian Mahoney said...

Hi Molly,
I came here by way of Holly Cupala. I'm working on my synopsis right now and your post is like a huge Aha! moment.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...


This is so helpful. I also have to say I love your blog!!!

Molly/Cece said...

Hey folks, sorry I have not jumped in her to say hey. Sharon and Vivian! Thanks for dropping by. Hope you find you inner brillance! :) Molly

Kim said...

Hi Molly!
Thank you for your synopsis input. Your idea to read the synposis of a Newbery winner is brilliant.

Molly/Cece said...

Hey, Kim! You are welcome.