I have a one-to-one session with Emily on Wednesday about the synopsis for my novel. The finished synopsis needs to be no more than 500 words, which is a very small number to recount the plot, introduce the main characters and establish setting. The synopsis for Wednesday can be longer than 500 words, which may be useful as Emily can then point out the fat to chop out rather than point out what’s missing.
As practice I wrote a 500 word synopsis of the novel in progress I have at the moment. It was very difficult paring it back from about 850 words and it’s probably too much basic plot summary. I’ve put it in a page as a Word document. Click here to go to it.
I’ve got so far down the road with that story that the characters, setting and most of the plot are pretty fixed, although I’d like help on a synopsis. Therefore I want to use this part of the course to develop a new idea.
I want to set my novel in a pub. This has advantages and disadvantages: I can easily introduce a diverse range of characters to the narrative but it also risks being seen as a bit mundane and it will be a challenge to construct a single narrative arc suitable for a novel when the setting is â€˜soap operyâ€™.
The novel will be set in the present, or very recent past, and will reflect some general sociological changes in society, particularly the perceived shift from collective and community leisure activities (going to the pub) to more isolated activities (watching Sky TV at home). Many pubs are struggling to survive in this climate. Nevertheless, there is no shortage of optimistic people who think their vision of a pub or restaurant will buck the change and make them a fortune. Using this scenario allows a classic â€˜trapped situationâ€™ narrative that is most often used in sitcoms but could equally be adapted for a novel, although a conclusion to the narrative will be required. To create more of a predicament for the characters Iâ€™m considering stacking the odds further against them by introducing characters who want to be the agents of their downfall. In plot terms, this would mean having characters take over a pub whose owners who are secretly engineering their failure â€“ so that the pub can be proved to be unviable and so win planning permission to convert it to more lucrative private housing.
I also want to use the tension between city and countryside â€“ setting Metropolitan attitudes against more traditional mores. Iâ€™m also interested in how subtle social changes filter from urban areas into rural communities.
Here’s the plot so far in an attached Word document. It’s not complete and I don’t have many names for the characters. I think I have the start and middleÂ but Iâ€™m not sure about a satisfactory end. It’s also a badly written first draft attempt and is, at nearly 1,200 words, about three times longer than it should be (even without a conclusion). Pub Story Synopsis v3.