Simply Writing | THE SYNOPSIS – NOT AS SCARY AS IT SEEMS – Wrapping up

In Guest Articles by RWA Blog Coordinator11 Comments

Over the past two months we’ve covered two major sections of the synopsis – the opening paragraphs, namely, the ORIENTATION, and the main body, namely, the MAJOR TURNING POINTS.

Just to jog your memory, the ORIENTATION comprises of four parts – a hook, central theme, world-building and central characters (GMC). Once we’ve oriented our readers into our story, we must next show how our story unfolds via plot arc, character arc and romance arc.

We do this via our MAJOR TURNING POINT PARAGRAPHS (MTPPs) where we highlight the major plot points or events in our story. As we structure our MTPPs, we must ensure that we not only capture the plot events, but also any growth or changes in our central characters, as well as any major developments in their romantic relationship (in the case of a romance).

To do this, use my six step structure for major turning points as a guide of what to include:

  1. Plot
  2. Character
  3. Action
  4. Motivation
  5. Reaction
  6. Impact

For a more in-depth outline of either ORIENTATION or Major Turning Points, see my previous blog posts from August and September consecutively.

Now, onward and upward . . .

We’ve reached the last bend, the finish line is in sight, and it’s full steam ahead. Right?

Wrong. Not so fast.

This is the moment your readers have been waiting for. They’ve read your book, loved your characters, their story, their journey. They’ve forged through hell and high water, experienced their pain, endured their struggles, all in the hope of reaching that metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t short-change them on those final, pivotal turning points. Give them the satisfaction, give them the RESOLUTION and the CONCLUSION they deserve.

Let’s visit each of these critical elements in detail:


Just as no unresolved tensions or conflicts should remain at the end of your story, the same goes for your synopsis.

Whilst the synopsis will not include ALL the conflicts in your book, it will contain the main ones. And those should all be resolved by this point.

As part of the resolution, make sure you consider the six step structure in the same way as you have for your MTPPs.


Everything is resolved. There is no conflict. No tension. No reason for your central characters to be apart. They have their HEA. Now all we need is a line or short paragraph showing how the story leaves them in those critical, final pages.

Sometimes this will form part of the resolution. Sometimes, especially in the case of an epilogue, it will require its own paragraph. This is particularly important with issues that require a time lapse to show that all is well in the world that is their romance.

Let’s revisit our example of Aladdin. I’ve included the TPP before just to provide perspective. This is just one of the many ways we can show the resolution and conclusion.

Aladdin fights to save the kingdom and the woman he loves, despite knowing they can never be his. Finally, Jafar is defeated by his own greed, wishing to become an all-powerful genie. He is sucked into his lamp and banished to the Cave of Wonders. Jasmine runs to Aladdin and he apologizes for his deception. She can’t help but forgive him. He’s proved his love and strength of character by returning and saving both her and the kingdom. Plus, she loves him. Yet Agraban law says they can never be together.

Witnessing their love, Genie offers to use Aladdin’s last wish to make him a prince again. Steadfast, Aladdin refuses – he’ll no longer pretend to be something he’s not. Fulfilling his promise, he wishes for Genie’s freedom. Despite understanding, Jasmine is devastated. If not for that stupid law! Then the sultan proclaims a new law – a princess can marry anyone she chooses.

With a smile, Jasmine wraps Aladdin’s hand in hers and chooses the man she loves.

What do you think? Are the story, character arc and romance sufficiently wrapped up? How satisfied to you think these last paragraphs will leave the readers?

And there you have it, what was once a scary synopsis broken down into 4 much less scary parts using Simply Synopsis.:

  1. Orientation
  2. Major Plot Points
  3. Resolution
  4. Conclusion


And once you’ve identified these components? It’s a matter of putting them all together in a way that’s engaging and riveting. But more about that another time . . .

As always, thank you to all my lovely followers, who’ve read and commented on my previous posts – either directly on the blog post or on the social media mentions. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support.

Sooo, as a thank you for reading and supporting this post, I have a special prize for this month’s winner. I’m offering one lucky commenter a half hour skype session to discuss your synopsis or 300 words from your current work in progress. Yes, you heard right. We get to chat, face-to-face – or computer screen to computer screen – and chat about whatever it is about your synopsis you’d like to discuss.

To enter the draw, please comment below and share the most surprising or useful thing you’ve learned since reading my Simply Writing blogs.

Any and all comments welcome! I love reading your feedback and input each month J and much as this blog isn’t set up for notifications, I always ALWAYS answer your comments. So make sure you pop back to check my replies J

If you’d like extra chances to win, share links to this blog on any or all social media sites. Tag me so I know you’ve shared, and the more shares, the more times I’ll place your name in the draw.

A name will be drawn next week, on Friday 19th October, by 5pm DST and winners will be notified on the blog, so keep your eyes and ears peeled J

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a fabulous month, and I’ll see you all again in November.

Michelle xx

Michelle Somers

Michelle Somers is a bookworm from way back. An ex-Kiwi who now calls Australia home, she’s a professional killer and matchmaker, a storyteller and a romantic. Words are her power and her passion. Her heroes and heroines always get their happy ever after, but she’ll put them through one hell of a journey to get there.

She lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her real life hero and three little heroes in the making, and Emmie, a furry black feline who thinks she’s a dog. Her debut novel, Lethal in Love won the Romance Writers of Australia’s 2016 Romantic Book of the Year (RuBY) and the 2013 Valerie Parv Award. The second in her Melbourne Murder series, Murder Most Unusual was released in February 2017.

In between books, she runs workshops – both face-to-face and online – for writers wanting to hone their craft. The first book in her Simply Writing Series, Simply Synopsis, is changing the way writers craft this vital, yet perplexing, writing tool. And through her Simply Writing series of blogs, she hopes to simplify so much more.

You can find out all about Michelle, her adventures and her books at her website or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

Remember to register for Michelle’s amazing OWL on the 6th of August!


    1. My pleasure Catherine. I’m so glad you found it helpful 🙂
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.
      Heaps of luck in the draw 🙂
      Michelle xx

  1. What’s the major thing I’ve learned?

    Understanding what makes your character, an individual you’ve plucked out of the ether and breathed life into, do the things they do. Believe the things they do and act in the way they do. As well as what they need to learn / change / adjust before they get their happy ever after. All this is one of the hardest things to understand, grapple with and articulate briefly, succinctly and with clarity. Because everything that happens in your story (plot points and the emotional reactions) all comes from the way your characters see the world, and react to it.

    But golly, when you do work all this out, you’ll end up with characters most people can identify with. And that makes your story (and your synopsis) unique, different from everyone else. And hopefully, interesting enough to entice a reader, an agent, or a commissioning editor of a traditional publishing house.

    But it isn’t easy. Not at all.

    1. Hi Wendy
      Thanks so much for your comments! I’m so glad that in some way I’ve been able to help you delve deeper into your characters. Oh the fun we had in our Simply Synopsis OWL 🙂
      I really appreciate you stopping by and sharing your insights.
      Heaps of luck in the draw!
      Michelle xxx

  2. Michelle always gives such good examples and the way she breaks down the information is really easy to follow. I find myself coming back to my OWL notes, this blog or her book when I’m stuck for a refresher or inspiration. It takes – some of – the stress out of writing a synopsis!!

    1. Hi Tanya
      Aww, thank you so much! You’ve just made my day.
      I’m so glad you find my blogs helpful. It’s comments like this that make everything worthwhile 🙂
      Thanks so much for stopping by and putting a smile to my face.
      Heaps of luck in the draw.
      Michelle xxx

  3. I’ve always found writing a synopsis to be quite a challenge. (It all sounds very easy until I start) Your blogs outlining how to structure a synopsis and your examples have been particularly useful in helping me with the challenge. I’ve relied on your structure (the 6 points) to outline the turning points in my current synopsis as well as your idea to start the synopsis with the novel’s theme. I found myself continually referring to your examples to make sure I was on track. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

    1. Hi Annette
      That’s great! I’m so glad you found my posts helpful, and I hope this means you dread crafting the synopsis a little less?
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and let me know 🙂
      Heaps of luck in the draw.
      Michelle xxx

  4. You’re so good at explaining the synopsis Michelle. I remember the workshop you gave and you made it sound all so possible and something anyone could do as long as they follow this formula. And, after that workshop I went on and wrote a synopsis for my unfinished novel and it really helped me to finish off this wip as I felt I knew so much better where I was heading.

    1. Hi Rita
      Wow, that’s fabulous! I love that you were able to use my strategy and it worked! Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know.
      All the best for your WIP 🙂
      And heaps of luck in the draw!
      Michelle xxx

  5. Aaaand the winner is . . .


    Congratulations Annette! Please email me on to arrange a time for our Skype session.

    Thank you to everyone for commenting and supporting my blog. And remember, if you didn’t win this month, pop by in November for another chance.

    Have a wonderful month and see you all soon.


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