As a writer, I’ve come to the conclusion that showers are not only a necessary task towards good hygiene, but also a most wonderfully mind-clearing and enlightening experience. Many a creative idea, or solution to a plot problem, has occurred to me while washing away the dead cells and restoring a physically sparkling perspective.
The inspiration for this observation, plus the solution to an ongoing problem occurred to me one day in the midst of a personal rinse cycle. I had been struggling with writing a synopsis for my novel––a task most writers hate anyway. Then an epiphany hit me: The basis for a successful, brief synopsis (at least from my freshly-cleansed assessment) should be based upon the following four-question format.
- What characters remain in the story from start to finish and are vital to its outcome?
Tip: Who’s there at the climax? (No, not the orgasm––unless you’re a Romance writer and the two happen to coincide.)
- What are the MAJOR plot points?
- What is the central/ongoing theme––the through line?
- Does the finished synopsis contain anything that is not directly related to steps 1, 2, & 3? If so, DITCH IT and try again. (Except the orgasm bit. Save that concept for later on…after the synopsis is complete and you feel like celebrating.)
With this manifestation churning in my mind, I toweled off and scurried to the computer, certain that I’d struck gold. If these four steps were followed, most any writer could chop the obesity from an otherwise bulging plot summary and produce a svelte synopsis worthy of capturing any editor’s or agent’s roving eye.
Satisfied with the procedure I’d outlined, I sat back and smiled. Then reality set in. Now I have to find a way to practice what I preach. Maybe I should take another shower.