Slaying the Synopsis with MJ Moores

Creating a synopsis is about getting your entire manuscript down to one page. MJ Moores provided us with her expertise. A synopsis must be thorough, as agents want to see the whole story, including the ending. Beyond just telling the story, agents want to see what makes the story special or original. They don’t expect to see an entirely original piece, as there are expected tropes for every genre, but each book should have something special.

MJ not only guided attendees through the slaying of the synopsis, she also showed us why agents want a synopsis before investing their time in reading an unpublished novel. Agents want to ensure that there are no obvious plot holes. What are the main characters’ motivations? They want to get a sense of the primary conflict or subject of the story. Importantly, agents also want to assess the author’s ability to write and be confident that the author can follow guidelines.

There are three common methods for creating a synopsis, which MJ detailed. The first is the snowflake method, where you start small and build gradually. The second is the four-act character driven model, where are you start big then revise. The third is the three-act structure, where your break your story into building blocks. After detailing these three methods, MJ gave us the opportunity to create our own synopses. Once each participant had created the first line via the snowflake method, we were then encouraged to share and help our fellow writers in perfecting that line.

MJ also provided us with some very important tips. When creating your synopsis, avoid getting into subplots. Stick with the main plot/main character. You should also look at the impact character’s role. The impact character could be the mentor or best friend; it is the character that pressures the main character to change. There should be a light sprinkle of thematic consideration in the synopsis. Include your genre plot points. Don’t hold back! Reveal the ending, even if it is an unhappy one. Agents are not looking for a cliffhanger.

The synopsis is about balance. Show that you can craft a concise sentence. Use strong verbs, and make your genre clear. Don’t forget to follow the guidelines. MJ gave the group a lot of helpful information, we were lucky to have her.

Find MJ Moores at:

Upcoming Events:

Subject Lines Save Bottom Lines with Holly Mortimer – October 18, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Querying, Twitter Pitches, and Contests with Farrah Heron – November 8, 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Writing Practise: How to Improve Your Writing and Your Creativity by Practicing Writing with Vicki Pinkerton – November 26, 7:00pm – 9:00pm

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When Loni isn't reading other people's words or running around after her two young children, she spends time writing stories of her own. She finds inspiration in the little things, but also in momentous events. Loni currently resides in York Region. Twitter: @LoniStorm Instagram: loni_storm Facebook: @LoniCameronWriter

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