September 27th, 2010

If you're one of the two-to-four people playing along in the First Annual PBWQ, then you should be painfully aware that the end of the first month is upon us. Have you spent it planning? Plotting? Writing? Sleeping? Or did you do what I did and wasted too much time making a synopsis that looked a wee bit too much like the final product?

Productivity-wise, I had a pretty good week. In spite of the fact that I had several nothing-at-all days, the (essentially) two days I was on were good ones. As I mentioned in my PBWQ update yesterday, I decided this week to visualize the entire storyline as a series of bullet points. So instead of writing a long and winding synopsis like so:

At this point the protagonist decided to fix a bowl of cereal. He had been up all night trying to figure out how he was going to get out of his current predicament. He decided to talk things over with his buddy right after breakfast. His buddy always knew what to do.

I ended up with something quite a bit more succinct:

  • o Bob eats breakfast.
  • o Buddy helps out Bob.

It's easier to read, understand, edit, manipulate and discourages the fluff that tends to creep into my synopsizing. Which is another way to say: it's virtually darling-proof. If you're taking the whole just-the-facts-ma'am approach, you're not creating little literary gems all over the place. If a bullet point doesn't fit, out it goes and no one cares. It's refreshingly clinical. I wish I'd thought of it fifteen years ago.

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One Response to “The Succinct Synopsis”

  1. Jason says:

    Good times. I will try this. It looks very much like something that will help me get past the crushing weight of three years of notes.