How to Write a Novel

Step Five: Extended Synopsis

It's time to expand on your short synopsis. This is a really fun time, because you can let your imagination loose and start adding the detail that will make your story delicious and compelling.

Take your short synopsis and expand it into about four or five pages - but don't worry about being too dogmatic, give yourself a free rein. If it turns out to be ten pages, so be it.

After writing your short synopsis you'll probably be bursting with ideas, and getting new ones faster than you can jot them down - but these ideas can be fitted into a robust structure, rather than just being an incoherent spaghetti mess.

Make sure that you're covering all of the stages in the skeleton. In some cases you may struggle with one section or find that most of the action is piling up in one stage. This could be a sign that your story is migrating away from your original plan. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; however, you must ensure that you resolve it.

You will need to decide if your plan needs updating.  Go back to and review your skeleton plan.  Can you alter it to reflect your new direction? Does this work? Are the stages in the right places? Try writing a new skeleton that reflects your current ideas and compare it to your previous skeleton.

Having this high level overview but beginning to work the character and story threads together, and seeing the scenes unfold, allows you to spot plot holes and inconsistencies early, and iron them out before you've written ten chapters that will all need binning because of the flaw.

This synopsis will not only give you a great grounding for writing a great story with the minimum rambling and wasted effort, but is also what publishers will be asking you for when you want to submit your novel. It's likely to be the deal maker or breaker, before they even read the first line of your manuscript - so you want to make sure it doesn't let you down!

Task Five: Expand your short synopsis into an extended synopsis

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