How to Use the Synopsis Method to Outline Your Kidlit Novel

Connect with me: Facebook . Twitter . Instagram Visit ABMS.BLOG Join The Writers’ Society Become a Member and Get Access to More (or follow me for free but get less) RedBubble Find ABMS on Podbean Let's talk about objects and how they can enhance your writing! Creating objects can help bring your characters off the page and help to create stories for them. Look at the objects you have nearby. You probably have at least one of the following: a family heirloom photos of family, friends, holidays, festivals, and vacations posters and or other images hanging on your walls special clothes for special occasions books ornaments everyday useful things like mugs or silverware Every item has a history-including that plastic fork you have yet to throw out. They help paint a story of their surroundings. Wherever you can create an object in your writing, you build the world out a little more. Here's a few ways to use objects in literature: as a plot device: sometimes the plot can revolve around finding or destroying an object (see Lord of the Rings) to represent a character: sometimes, personal items say more about the character than the character's actions. Think of the wands in Harry Potter and how crooked Bellatrix's is. as a symbol representing something larger than itself: for this the most famous example I could think of is the green light in The Great Gatsby, and how it represents Gatsby's hopes, dreams, and his connection to Daisy. as a clue: maybe you're writing a mystery or detective fiction. Objects can be used to reveal all sorts of significant things. Channel your inner Sherlock and consider how people use objects every day to really drive this home. to foreshadow something: sometimes a gun hanging on the wall will come up later. to trigger a memory or flashback: sometimes things just look too familiar and they spark something within us. as a device connecting characters' separate stories: maybe your object, magical or otherwise, has been around for significant moments in history, sitting in the corner and lifelessly observing things as life happens around it. Objects are useful because characters can find them, lose them, receive them, gift them, steal or have them stolen, search for them, treasure them, neglect them, lock them up, and even destroy them or toss them aside. And the symbolism of their actions can add to your story. Now for the exercise: Pick an object in your home that has some meaning for you. Study it for a moment and describe it in as much detail as you can. Now construct a scene around it. Was the object stolen or found? Was it a gift? Was it inherited? Make sure the object triggers a significant event for your character (or you, if you're writing about yourself). Let the object help them make a decision, understand something that happened, or turn their life in a different direction.
  1. Objects
  2. Fairy Tales
  3. Mind Mapping
  4. An Interview with Carly Heath
  5. Twisting Your Genre

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A synopsis is a brief summary of your book. It hits all the major plot points and reveals all the secrets. Some writers know all of the big moments in their book before they’ve even put a single word on paper. This could be a good method for you if you like to have a road map but also enjoy flexibility when it comes to drafting your story.

As you’re writing your synopsis outline try to hit the major plot points: the beginning, middle, and end, all the twists and turns, the climax, and the resolution.

A good outline should answer the following questions:

  • What is the main contract of the story? Basically, what is your main character’s purpose or adventure? Boy finds out he’s a wizard and goes to school, spider forms bond with a pig, girl learns she doesn’t belong, bunnies go to war, teddy bears protect their children, etc.
  • What is the time frame of your story and how does it add pressure on your characters? Nothing feels pressing if they have all the time in the world.
  • What is at stake for your characters?
  • How will the pressure grow as your story progresses?

A synopsis has three essential parts: characters, conflict, and story arc.

Once you know your characters it’s easy to come up with conflict for them and a narrative arc. Characters are the heart of your story. Their inner conflict will often influence and be influenced by the outer conflict of the novel. Getting to know your characters means you know what will make them run and hide or stand up and fight, which means you can put them in harm’s way to create your conflict.

Remember to note how your main character becomes involved in the story, the conflict that moves the story forward as well as all the fun and games that get in the way, any notes about your world, and what makes it special.

You can write your synopsis as detailed or as skeletal as you wish and whether you write in complete sentences or fragments is up to you. The point is to get the big picture on the page before you as a roadmap to follow before you begin writing.

Having multiple strategies to approach your work with is important. Not every story can be approached the same way. You may find that your last novel needed outlining, but that your current novel is flowing from you so fast you’ll be done by the end of the month. I find it helps to assess each project as it happens and to just go with whatever seems to help me get the words on the page.

So give it a try and let me know how it worked for you in the comments!

Originally published on August 23, 2021 @ 12:00 pm


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Published by J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her master’s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessica’s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.

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