Pam McCutcheon aka Pamela Luzier


Writing the Fiction Synopsis

Writing the Fiction Synopsis Cover


Writing the Fiction Synopsis:
A Step by Step Approach
From Gryphon Books for Writers
(ISBN 0-9654371-1-6, $18.95)

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Writing the Fiction Synopsis:

  • What a synopsis is and why editors want one

  • What to put in your synopsis, what to leave out, and why

  • How to include plot and character development, including resolution, in your synopsis

  • Learn the key to a good synopsis

  • Fill out the worksheets to write a synopsis of your book

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What others have to say:

“Bravo!  Pam McCutcheon has decoded the synopsis! 
Writing the Fiction Synopsis is packed with useful information helpful to both the professional and novice writer.  I wish I’d had this informative book years ago.  Writing the Fiction Synopsis is a must-have tool for all writers.  Pam McCutcheon has given writers a cure for the synopsis headache.”
— Maggie Osborne, Award-winning author of more than 40 novels.

Writing the Fiction Synopsis is destined to be a classic!”
— Karen Fox, RITA-nominated romance author

“Pam McCutcheon takes the ‘scary’ out of writing a synopsis. 
She walks you through the process and gives you the tools to create a clear, professional summary of your work.  It will help you the rest of your career.” 
— Debra Dixon, author of Goal, Motivation, and Conflict

“This is by far the best book I've ever seen on writing a synopsis!!  And like many others, I've gone nuts trying to get my synopsis to say what it needs to say in an interesting and concise way without making it a yawner.  I’m also one of those authors who writes a rough synopsis as a road map after I’ve written about three chapters of a book to keep me on track.  This book makes it so easy.  I have all three of the books at Gryphon along with a whole shelf full of reference books and I tell you, the Gryphon books blow the others away.  If you buy one book on writing a synopsis, buy this one.”
— Lisa Mondello

“I bought your book Writing the Fiction Synopsis a while back, and it has been so *very* helpful!  It is one of the best books I've read on writing synopses—clear, concise and wonderfully straightforward. I've referred to it often and suspect I always will.  A damn good book!”
— Edna Sheedy aka Carole Dean

“Pam’s clear, logical style helped me fashion a winning contest entry with my very first, book-length manuscript.  Not only does she teach how to write a winning synopsis, but her insights into plotting and characterization are a winning combination.”
  — Carol Umberger, Golden Heart Winner, Author

“Though I am published in poetry, I have never written anything ‘book length’ because the prospect was just too daunting.   Pam’s class on ‘How to Write a Synopsis’ broke down the elements of plot and character into manageable chunks.  Her teaching style was fun, clear, and well thought out.  I left the class inspired to write!” 
— Wendy Grace Wolf

“After several years of classes and lectures on synopses, I was totally confused.  When Pam McCutcheon taught her method of writing the dreaded synopsis, it all came together and I hit the ‘aha’ response.   Ms. McCutcheon makes synopsis writing easy!  Every writer will benefit from this book. 
— Kathleen Wells, Ph.D.

“Every writer needs to know how to write a synopsis that sells.
This book is a definite must-have.” 
— D.C. Arnold

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(from the introduction):

     The first indication I had that writers were looking for a book like this is when a beginning writer approached me during a local conference.   She was frustrated because a contest judge had told her she'd written a nonfiction outline instead of a fiction synopsis.  Naturally, she wanted to know where she could learn how to write the appropriate type of synopsis for her novel.
     I was stumped—I couldn't think of a single book that explained how.  Since I learned by using other writers' synopses as examples, I did the only thing I could and gave her one of mine.  It didn't seem enough, though, so I looked around to see what else was written on the subject.  I didn't find much, and those books that did mention it seemed to do so only briefly.
     It seemed that everywhere I turned after that, people were grumbling about writing synopses.  And the contests I judged verified my suspicion that many beginning writers simply didn't know where to start writing one. 
     So, I decided to analyze my own method.  I'd like to claim it's wildly innovative and unique, but the truth is, all I did was take the techniques developed by other well-known writes and synthesize them into an approach that worked for me.  Once I analyzed that approach, I developed a step-by-step method for teaching others how to do the same.

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Table of Contents

  •  Introduction

  • Chapter One
    Getting Started

  • Chapter Two
    Knowing Your Characters

  • Chapter Three
    Understanding Your Plot

  • Chapter Four
    Filling in the Gaps

  • Chapter Five
    Writing the First Draft

  • Chapter Six
    Pulling it All Together

  • Appendix A
    Blank Worksheets

  • Appendix B
    Sample Synopses (Long)

  • Appendix C
    Sample Synopses (Short)

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Last modified on June 29, 2003