Here are notes I took while in a PNWA seminar by Jason Black.
He’s a great teacher. I recommend taking this course, checking out his editing services, or taking other courses by Jason.
Essential 6 Ingredients:
1) Setting & Genre
2) Major Characters (Names or role-title)
3) Central Conflict / Major Goals
4) Major Plot Events / Turning Points (Inciting Incidents)
5) Character Arc Elements (Changed Characters)
6) Resolution (end of the story) goals met or not
1) Over-specification of the setting / genre
2) Supporting characters & bit players
3) Secondary conflicts & goals
4) sub-plots and minor complications (focus on net result)
5) Over-specification of the resolution
Structure of a synopsis:
Synopsis mirrors your story, Keep it chronological, Minimize Back story
1) Immediate impressions
An enticing image, setting or concept to grab attention
2) The protagonist
Who and what’s their dream
3) Inciting Incident
What event, decision, or change forces the main character to take action
4) No turning back
Action or decision which changes the story’s direction. Protagonist is all in.
5) Conflicts, characters experiences
Who do we meet and what happens leading to…
What event forces the MC to do an about-face on an attitude, emotion, goal etc.
7) Final Crisis and despair (something unexpected)
What near-success is thwarted, or unexpected crisis occurs, making victory seem impossible
What happens in the final confrontation
MC’s fate; how does he/she re-orient towards the next phase of their life. Tie up loose ends.