Saturday, August 1, 2009

Synopsis Writing: Get To The Point

by Molly Noble Bull

“Would you like to drive into the city?’ the man asked.
“I’d have to go to Target first,” the woman replied. “No question about that. And I need to have my nails done.” She showed him her hands. “Just look at these. Have you ever seen fingernails this bad? Well, my toenails are worse, if you can believe it. And of course, I’ll have to phone Anita. I promised I would.”
“Get to the point, honey.”
“Oh, I almost forgot about Pretty Cat. We can’t leave her behind. She's expecting kittens. I guess we could just leave her in the back seat with a window down a little.” She shook her head. “No, she could become overheated. We’ll just have to leave her at home in the air conditioning. Besides—”
“Honey, I asked you a question twenty or so paragraphs back, and there can only be one of two answers—either yes or no. So, would you like to drive into the city?”
“My goodness, sweetie. Weren’t you listening? I already answered that question.”

Did she or didn’t she? You can only give one answer. Either yes or no.
Does this dialogue sound like it came from your mouth and from your husband's? It sure sounds like countless conversations my husband and I have had.
The gift for gab is fine when writing a novel. But when writing a synopsis, you need to get to the point. In other words, write it the way your hubby would.
“Would you like to drive into the city?” the man asked.


Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh, this is awesome advice, Molly! You made me laugh!

Molly Noble Bull said...

Thanks for reading my article, Eileen. Making you laugh and learn stuff at the same time is exactly what I hoped to do. The main thing to remember is to delete details and just tell the facts of the story. Those wonderful details should be kept for the actual novel.

Michelle McLean said...

LOL too funny. I tend to ramble on like that....not a good thing when it comes to writing :D Great post!

Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Michelle,
Our thoughts aren't organized. At least, mine aren't. Sometimes rambling can work if you are writing a person's thoughts or in dialogue as shown in my article. But when writng a synopsis, you should dump the details. You must only put in the facts and explain why you put them in.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I love this analogy (or whatever you want to call it)! --

I detest synopsis writing....detest is a soft quiet nice word compared to what I really feel about synopsis writing *laugh*....

love this post.

Diane said...

Good tip. Thanks for sharing with us newbies!

Carla Gade said...

Excellent advice, Molly!