Saturday, December 12, 2009

Story Structure and writing synopsis

I have a friend who is entering a publishers open submission period. We were talking about the submission process. The problem with this submission is that instead of the traditional two paragraph blurb about your story, in a traditional Query, and a one-four page synopsis. They want a two-three sentence blurb, and a three paragraph synopsis.

I was in shock for a few moments. It's hard enough to summarize a 300-600 page book in a few pages. But to do it on three paragraphs!!!!!!?????

The guidelines intrigued me, so I thought I'd tackle the problem myself as a challenge, especially if I ever need to do the same thing.

After an evening staring at the guidelines I was beyond frustrated. Three paragraphs is just not enough to properly describe a complex story. Then I had the epithany.

"Story Structure." Doh! I almost smacked my head with my palm.

What are the most important parts of the story?
The introduction.
Plot Point #1, along with the reactive stage.
The mid point and the active stage.
Plot point #2
And Resolution.

Now the idea became clear. Use the important parts of story story structure to write your three paragraphs of synopsis.

So I sat down and in three sentences I wrote the two main plotlines and a sentence to draw them together.

Then I wrote one paragraph about the characters and thier desires and inner demons.

The second paragraph I wrote the first plot point, the reactions, and the midpoint.

The third paragraph I wrote plot point #2 and the resolution making sure I told them the end of the story.

I couldn't believe how easy it was once I applied "Story Structure" to what I needed. I'm in shock at what my knowledge of "Story Structure" has done to my wirting. I know I probably sound preachy but I am sold. It has changed everything I know about writng. Try it for yourself, I promise you wont be disapointed.


L.T. Elliot said...

Tell me more about this "Story Structure" you're referring to. Is it a book or program? Or just the general description of structure?

Noble M Standing said...

L. T.,

Larry Brook's Story Structure ( is a "theory" for structuring the way a story is written. It is loosely based on screenwriting and has parts and pieces that are supposed to be in certain places.

Go to his website, there's much more to the site beyond Structure. The link is to the right on the sidebar. I actually printed them off and have re-read them a number of times.

The link to the specific series is at the top of my blog in my "if your a writer. . ." header. I also wrote two guest blogs for Jordan McCollum on Structure and Heroes Journey. They are listed there too.

Hope this helps.

Jaime Theler said...

Brilliant! I can't even rave enough about Larry Brooks' Story Structure. It's so beyond awesome!