Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Synopsis, I Fear Thee NOT!

The dreaded synopsis. If you've written one, you know the difficulty of trying to condense a 100,000 word story down to one page. If you haven't, you have probably heard the moans and groans of those writing them. Well, I am here to share how I've overcome the fear.

I took an online synopsis writing class given by Camy Tang. You can check out the classes she offers by clicking on the link.

Camy's class was the most challenging and the most useful thing I have ever done to further my writing ability. During that class, I learned more about character and spiritual arcs than I have reading all my writing books combined! Seriously. Camy has an amazing ability to see the big picture of your story and draw it out of you for YOU to see. 

Here's how it works: Camy puts up a lesson through a Yahoo Group created for the class. Then she posts a lesson and gives us homework. We do the homework and post it to the Group. Camy looks it all over and comments,and makes suggestions for making your work stronger. 

What I loved about the class is the way Camy encourages you while challenging you at the same time. She has a great way of giving you examples of what she is looking for, without telling you outright what to write. I had many "aha" moments and even found a plot hole I didn't know I had. It's amazing how she helps you look at your story from a bird's eye view, and see the big picture.

Another great thing that the class did for me was to help define the main obstacles to my heroine's goal and pinpoint the black moment. And as she teaches, she helps you to eliminate unnecessary words, giving you a tight synopsis -- full of action, and story, character, and spiritual arcs. 

I learned how to write a synopsis of a completed novel. Annnd, this class taught me HOW to pre-plot a book!!!! That is HUGE! The pre-plotting will help build a solid foundation for each future story...without plot holes. 

This class is an incredible resourse for writers. Seriously, check out Camy Tang and see what she has to offer. She won't let you down! 

What other classes have you taken that gave you an "aha" moment? Or if you haven't taken a class, what lesson from what book did you learn from?


Today is the second day of our TWO WEEK CELEBRATION of our 300th follower! 
I'm giving away a copy of Age Before Beauty by Virginia Smith
Please leave your spam-free email address in the comment section for a chance to win.

Winner will be announced in the weekend edition!


Jillian said...

I took a characterization class with Camy, it was awesome! I've also taken some Margie Lawson courses. With every class I've taken and each craft book I read, I come away with something that improves my writing. Who knew there was so much to learn? :)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Yeah 300 followers!

I took one of Camy's self-editing classes. Excellent. Oh so good!

The synopsis one sounds great as well.
~ Wendy

Keli Gwyn said...

Sherrinda, I hear you on the challenge of summarizing a novel in one page. I'm glad Camy's class was so helpful.

Congratulations to the Alley Cats on your 300 followers. I remember when I was one of the first. Memories. =)

Casey said...

Sounds really good. I keep meaning to get around to Camy's classes and I think I really probably should now. Thanks for sharing Sherrinda!

KELI, you were, weren't you?? And such a support too! :)

JenA said...

Many of my writer friends have taken on-line quick courses and I'm beginning to think I'm miss out on something! Thanks for the info. Awesome on 300 followers

Mary Vee Writer said...

Camy's class sounds exciting. There something special and exhilarating about diving into the class you're ready for.
The synopsis class would be especially helpful considering contests and proposals.
Did you notice 301 today!?!?!?

Julia M. Reffner said...

Camy's class does sound like a great choice. Its amazing how many opportunities there are for growth and many don't even stretch the wallet too much.

Though I've never been to ACFW the CDs have been a great investment.

Christine Long said...

I've been working with My Book Therapy to prepare to enter The Frasier contest by the end of the month. (Yes, I know. It's days away. Don't remind me!) They require a 500 word synopsis. I thought it was difficult enough getting 105,000 word story into 3-5 pages. 500 words? Yikes! But after working it through a gazillion times, I think it's finally ready.

Please enter me in the drawing.
teaching by writing [at] yahoo [dot] com

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oh goodness...I am late getting back to the party. Please forgive me, I had to work until 6 tonight!

Jillian, I have wanted to take Cami's characterization class, but just haven't found the time. If it is anything like the synopsis class, I bet it was awesome!

Wendy! I want to take the self-editing class! I really feel like editing is the hardest part of this journey. I never feel like I know what I'm looking for! :(

Keli, you were definitely one of the first followers and have been so faithful! Thank you for that! You are one of the biggest and 'bestest' encouragers I know!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Casey, I think you would love Cami's classes. She is a gifted teacher.

Thanks, Jen! We appreciate all the support from readers just like you!

Mary, you are right, synopsis are a hot commodity these days. It seems more contests are requiring them. :) Fun times!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Julia, you bring up a great resource! While I haven't taken advantage of ACFW Conference CDs. I have heard they are extremely beneficial. I need to check those out!

Christine, congrats on entering the Frazier this month! I did, but am wishing I hadn't. I didn't focus on all the elements they are looking for, so my entry is LACKING! lol Oh well, I am hoping for some constructive feedback! Good luck on yours...I bet your story is awesome!

Pepper said...

GREAT post, Sherrinda.
I'm thinking of taking Camy's synopsis class this summer - you know, when there is actually TIME to work at it :-) It sounds great for helping you focus in on STORY.

Btw, I'm chanting, "St. Louis! St. Louis!"

Ariel Wilson said...

I'm writing a story right now... and I am not looking forward to the day I have to write the synopsis. >.< I HATE condensing! Yuck, yuck, yuck.


Patsy said...

Would love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway


Terrie Todd said...

Pick me! Pick me!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Sherrinda ;)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com