Thursday, September 13, 2012

Synopsis tip

I’m working on a new non-fiction book for my publisher. This one is on electricity and while most of my previous books incorporate experiments and inventors, this is my first all-out-science title. It’s pretty exciting. But it’s also a little challenging.

Electricity is *not* something I know a lot about. I’m having to do a good deal of research to make sure I’m getting facts right and picking all the important information to include in the tight format. Typically, after I’ve researched something I call my dad (who does know a lot about electricity) and explain what I've learned to him. Articulating things out loud before I commit words to paper helps me. 

I recently came across an interesting quote (which is now taped to my computer monitor!)

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Albert Einstein 

I was reminded of this quote yesterday when I read Andrea Mack’s blog about writing the dreaded synopsis. 

Only instead of not understanding our books well enough, I think the problem with writing a synopsis is that we know our books TOO well! We keep wanting to cram in all the little details and the results aren’t pretty. It’s a challenge to step back and find those bare bones.

Andrea shared a link to a post by Susan Dennard. I read it and bookmarked it and I highly suggest you go do the same. It's an extremely helpful post and includes a template for a 1 page synopsis. 

I think that when we find these little gems we just gotta share them. Hope you find them as helpful as I did!

Anyone else have a tip about writing a synopsis or a link you'd like to share? 


  1. Thanks, Car! Glad to know it was helpful. It made a huge difference for me in how to think about my synopsis. Then I just had to revise it so it sounded more like me, and less like a formula.

  2. I wish I did. Maybe we should write our synopis first, so it's over and done with. ;) (Which would never work.)


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