Planning Your Novel Synopsis

Aug 27 07:21 2008 Mervyn Love Print This Article

Some writers claim they can sit down with a good idea for a novel and bash away until it's finished. It takes an extraordinary mind to do that. Most of today's writers will tell you that they prepare a framework, a synopsis, from which to generate their 100,000 or so words. Here's a suggested system to achieve that.

You've got a great idea for a novel and you've made an enthusiastic start on the first chapter. Easy. But where do you go from here? Once you get into that first chapter you begin to realise you have no road map to take you from A to Z with various stops in between. Here is how you can prepare that road map.

Writing a novel is a long and time consuming business. You need to move steadily and methodically along your novel writing journey if you're going to bring your story to its happy completion.

Some good advice I once received about tackling a large job is to break it down into smaller pieces and then complete each piece in the correct order.

Here is a method for creating a synopsis that does just that.

Stage 1. In two or three brief paragraphs state the broad outline of the whole story.


The action takes place in Italy where the son and daughter of two feuding families meet at a ball and fall in love.

The daughter is being forced to marry another man,Guest Posting but says she will kill herself rather than marry him. She takes a sleeping draught which makes her appear dead.

The son finds her in this state and, distraught, takes his own life with his dagger. The daughter wakes up to find her love dead beside her and kills herself with the same dagger.

Stage 2. Expand this scenario, but this time describe each chapter in two or three brief sentences.


Chapter 1

The Montagues and the Capulets are two important families in Verona but they hate each other. Juliet is betrothed to a man called Paris, and the wedding arrangements are being made.

Romeo, from the Montague family is in love with Rosaline and he goes to the ball to meet her. At the ball he meets Juliet and they both fall in love.

Afterwards they discover that their families have a standing feud.

Stage 3. Having got your chapter by chapter synopsis done, expand each one from two or three sentences to a more detailed account of the action in that chapter. Don't include dialogue or descriptions at this stage unless absolutely necessary. A chapter may well take up a page or more now, but don't let your enthusiasm run away with you.

Stage 4. Using your expanded chapter summaries begin writing the novel proper. You may find that the story wants to strike out at a tangent. Be careful of this as, if you've got a really cracking story already, you risk destroying it.

If you do find yourself going off on an exciting new storyline then stop before you get too far and go back to Stage 1. Write down your changed story in two or three brief paragraphs to see how it looks and to judge whether you're really happy with it. If you are then go back to Stages 2 and 3 and rework them before continuing with the chapter by chapter work.

Follow this system carefully and you will have created a sure road map to follow that will lead you to your final goal: your completed manuscript.

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Mervyn Love
Mervyn Love

Mervyn Love offers a warm welcome and a stress free zone for all writers at his website: Here you can relax and browse pages of advice, resources, competition listing, markets and much more. His free Article Writing Course has proved extremely popular, so why not sign up now while you're thinking about it?

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