Logline, Blurb, & Synopsis

I’ve been hearing a lot of moaning and groaning about writing the “dreaded” synopsis lately.  It doesn’t have to be the writing assignment from hell.  If a new story is kicking around in your brain, but you haven’t started to write it yet, then begin with building your characters’ personality charts (hero, heroine, villain, and anyone else you believe will play a significant role in your story).  It doesn’t have to be anything complex–a single scribbled page will do.

Decide what their strengths, flaws, beliefs, values, and secrets will be.  What incidents in their pasts have made them who they are?  How will your heroine grow from her flaw into a better person by the end?  What will the hero do to help her grow to a better understanding of herself, him, or the world?  What inciting incident leads the h/h on their journeys?  What is his black moment?  Hers?   How do you foresee the h/h resolve their conflicts, fall in love, and complete their arcs? Once you have the answers to the above questions, writing the synopsis becomes less daunting.  The story may change somewhat as you write.  Twists and turns present themselves in ways you never imagined in the beginning.  At least you’ll already have the basics of your synopsis written and any necessary changes will be more manageable.

If you’ve already written your story, write one sentence for each major event in the story. What happened first?  After you answer that, then simply ask this question over and over until you reach the end:  What happens next?  Don’t neglect the romance in the line-by-line answers.  From this rough draft you should be able to see if all of the important story elements have made it into your synopsis.  Do NOT fill the synopsis with inconsequential drivel.  Don’t mention any secondary characters unless they play a major role.  If you clutter up the synopsis with too many names and long-winded explanations of events it becomes confusing/boring for the reader.

Once you have the synopsis, take the most exciting elements of the story to use for your killer blurb.  Hook the reader into wanting to know more.  Don’t make the mistake of asking silly questions in the synopsis or the blurb.  It’s been done so many times now, it looks like a cheesy gimmick.

The logline can be quite simple if you start with a list of the most compelling attributes of your heroine.  Do the same for your hero.  You may want to reverse this and list their flaws.  Use one or two of these words to create a 1-2 sentence logline that packs a punch.

You get 3 chances to compel a reader to turn the book over to read the back blurb.  The picture catches my eye before the title, the title next, then the logline.  You only get 1 chance to snag the attention of an agent or editor:  A killer logline.

If you still need more help, these sites are filled with lessons and examples:

http://www.charlottedillon.com/synopsis.html

http://www.kathycarmichael.com/fasteasy.html

http://www.lisagardner.com/tricks/synopsis.htm

Happy writing!

Lis’Anne

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