This blog was featured on 09/18/2019
Writing Tip: Create a Synopsis Along the Way
Contributor
Written by
Maria Murnane
September 2019
Contributor
Written by
Maria Murnane
September 2019

When I’m working on a book, at the start of each writing session it’s tempting for me to go back and read from the beginning to see how everything fits together. That’s not a big deal in the early stages, but later on it becomes an enormous time suck. All that reviewing (and the inevitable tinkering) also keeps me from pushing the story forward, which is kind of important if I want to finish the book.

To avoid getting sidetracked, I now create a chapter-by-chapter synopsis as I go. A quick review of the synopsis refreshes my memory about timelines, key plot points, character insights, etc. It also provides me with a helpful reference to consult when I can’t remember when—or if—I wrote something, instead of having to search through the manuscript to find it. (The “Search in Document” function is great, but not if you don’t remember the exact phrasing you used.)

Here are parts of the synopsis I wrote for my latest novel, Bridges:

CHAPTER 1

Daphne (Columbus), Skylar (NYC) and KC (SoCal) have a video call where we learn that Skylar is getting married. She invites them to NYC for Memorial Day weekend to celebrate. We learn that Daphne has written a novel and hopes to have news from publishers by then. We also learn she is casually dating Derek, who lives in Chicago. 

CHAPTER 2

It’s now Memorial Day weekend, and Daphne has received a bunch of rejections about her novel but doesn’t want to tell anyone b/c she’s embarrassed. At the airport she finds out Skylar has bought her a first class ticket. Derek calls, and we learn that he’s asked her to spend a week with him at a lake house and she’s been dragging her feet to reply. 

CHAPTER 3

Daphne arrives at Skylar’s apartment, which is super luxurious. Daphne tries to squash feelings of inferiority.

As you see, a synopsis doesn’t have to be super detailed. Noting the basics is enough to keep you moving the story forward. Before you know it, you’ll have finished the first draft!

Maria Murnane writes bestselling novels about life, love and friendship. Have questions? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

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