You, Me & Subplots
Hi everyone. Get ready for a huge shock... I've been struggling with the synopsis for my MS (shocking, right?)
Here's the problem that I am always running into: I have one main plot, of course, and a few sub-plots. I've been reading about how to write a synopsis and the general opinion is that the synopsis should focus on the main plot and the MC without delving too much into sub plots.
Fair enough. Except I've realized that my sub plots are actually just as important as the main plot; in fact, without them my main plot is not really clear. For instance, characters who are enemies become involved in a sub plot then become more friendly and work together to solve a problem in the main plot. If there is no sub plot, characters go from disliking each other to liking each other (or vice versa) with no reason and that is just...weird.
So I tried to add some sub plots into the synopsis, but then it turned into "he did this, but meanwhile, this other thing is happening, okay so now back to the first thing" or trying to separate the plots but that turns into "he was doing this, for reasons that are explained in another plot, so...just assume it makes sense... so then he did this other thing"
What should I do? Forget the sub plots? Try to wrangle them all in? I am in desperate need of help right now!!
You're having the same problem, huh? About the subplots? I've recently written my synopsis for Destiny's Bond, and I have this advice: Leave out the subplots. As much as it hurts, as much as it chips away at your brain, leave them out. I had to leave out whole characters while writing my synopsis, because they weren't part of the main plot. It's best to write the synopsis in a way that lets you leave out those sidepaths.
Hope that helps.
(Sorry for taking so long to respond, had doctor appointments today, so didn't log on until a couple minutes ago)
Honestly, it depends on the publisher you plan to submit to--you should go to their website and look for their submission guidelines. Some publishers want 2 pages, others 3, 5, 10, and so on. If the publisher doesn't have submission guidelines, then it's likely they don't allow open submissions, meaning you'll have to hire an agent to find out.
On the other hand, if the publisher has submission guidelines, but doesn't mention a synopsis, then you should go under the assumption that they don't require one. Awesome, right?
That's the best advice I can give--research the publisher, and follow their guidelines to a T. They should mention how many pages the synopsis should be, if they want one.
--edited by Amber J. Wolfe on 7/28/2015, 11:48 PM--
After hours of staring at my computer and heavy use of the backspace key, I've finally come up with a synopsis. I'm afraid that it is STILL a bit too long (it's 2 pages, double spaced, TNR size 12) but I'm not sure. If anyone can take a look at it and tell me if there is something I could change to make it better, please let me know!
The year is 1911
and Julien Størgård
year away from graduating university in Marseilles, France. His life
seems set: he has a lucrative career as a doctor ahead of him, as
well as a
charming French fiancée. This dream, however, is short lived. His
fiancée is found frozen in ice, a most peculiar thing as it was only
late autumn. Julien
suspects that her
death is linked to his engagement
ring, which belonged to his late mother, but he is
to prove anything.
a better explanation, French authorities accuse Julien of murder. Due
to the absence
of evidence, he isn't
arrested but is
expelled from university and sent back to his home country, Denmark.
arrives in Copenhagen, he
anticipates a warm welcome, but is disappointed to find that
cold and distant. Julien's clever,
feels that Julien abandoned her to
the grey and lifeless city of Copenhagen six
begins to notice strange things happening in the Størgård
porcelain dolls are found in strange locations around the house and
his late mother's necklace goes missing. Julien is a man of science,
however, and his
is too sharp to be tainted by ghost stories and unexplained events.
having trained to be a doctor, it is generally accepted by Julien's
father and upper class Danish society that he will continue in the
family tradition of working at the Størgård
company. Trapped by expectations and his own timidness, Julien is
pulled into a
dull life at the factory.
changes when Julien meets an
aristocrat who decides to trust Julien with the secret to his
business success. He is the owner of a dingy tavern but, more
importantly, he is the owner of the
club of brutish men who are paid to fight in
the basement of the tavern.
leader of the group is Mikhail Layhnfiera, a roguish blond with a
taste for Størgård
and garishly colored shirts. Mikhail
also has a strangely intense interest in the
This interest is not friendly or romantic. Rather,
stolen the necklace from the Størgård
to buy his way out of the Rød
he discovers that the necklace is cursed.
hand, slipping underneath his skin and moving slowly and painfully
towards his heart. He
believes that Rochelle and
the ability to undo this. He
tries to befriend them, but the attempt is botched by an argument
between himself and the strong-willed Rochelle.
Not satisfied to
become a victim, Mikhail attacks Rochelle and attempts to frame
Julien for a crime to threaten them into helping him. With this
abrupt introduction to magic, Rochelle and Julien find themselves
depending on each other to find a solution. Julien is forced to
become increasingly daring and to break the suffocating rules of
upper-class Danish society.
secrets lead the siblings to an enchanted mirror that contains what
is left of their deceased mother's spirit. The mirror explains that
the enchanted jewelery take the negative emotions of anyone who
touches them and amplifies the feelings. Julien's fiancée
had always valued her beauty and feared aging, so she was preserved
perfectly in ice. Mikhail's negative emotion is a penchant for slow,
but sure, self-destruction.
The mirror also
gives them instructions for a ritual to remove the necklace. During
the ritual, Mikhail can't bring himself to trust his life to the
panics and destroys the process. The cursed necklace must take a life
and, for a dark moment it seems that it will be Mikhail's, but
Julien's father steps in and sacrifices himself.
Moments before his
death, the father leaves Julien and Rochelle with a warning about
Mikhail's dark past and the secrets that he has kept hidden from
them. Rochelle is irresistibly drawn to the mirror's dark magic.
Having discovered the truth about his mother's necklace, Julien
realizes that his suspicions about his late mother's ring are
probably correct. He discovers that the ring is missing.
Well, I can't really say whether it's too long, since I don't know what the guidelines are for the publisher you plan to submit to. But I'll give you my thoughts--Keep in mind I'm in no way an expert on synopses, so anything I write might be complete horse s**t
In all, I felt the synopsis read well, but I got bogged down in the halfway point. When you switched POV from Julien's to Mikhail's, I started to wonder if the rest of the story was mostly in his POV. Which, if it's not, is bad. You might want to consider revising this so the synopsis is in Julien's POV entirely.
As I said, not an expert on synopses. Hopefully someone with more experience will give you more solid feedback. That said, I hope anything I wrote is of use.
You should probably rewrite that entire section so you're ensconced fully in Julien's POV. A synopsis is a tick off of all the major events in the novel--not what happens behind the POV character's back, without his knowledge (unless you show what's happening in the book itself). I'd start by writing a bullet point list of what happens in the second half of the manuscript, then weave it in to the synopsis, via Julien's POV.