10.31.2005

Synopsis Vs Outline-best three out of five falls

Would you mind clearing up one other mystery? In the context of fiction writing submissions, is there any difference in meaning between the terms "synopsis" and "outline"?

Miss Snarks Rules for What is Considered an Outline.

I. Lack of narrative
A. phrases rather than sentences
B. Bullet points for critical action moments

II Chronological structure
A. Lack of however or "meanwhile back at the ranch" points
B. Structure of outline may not resemble structure of book

III Presence of order, and Roman Numerals
A All hail Caesar
B. Orderliness appeals to Miss Snark and her chaotic world


Miss Snarks Rule for What is considered a Synopsis:

Hamlet's father has been killed. His uncle marries his mother and steals Hamlet's rightful place on the throne. Great consternation ensues and Hamlet is bewitched bothered and bewildered. Ophelia, prototype for clingy bitch, is sent to the madhouse or the nunnery depending on the reader's interpretation, and dies. Everyone dies thus Hamlet is deathless poetry wherein everyone dies.



Some authors do outlines for books. Some write synopsis. Most editors who are looking for a synopsis or an outline want one or the other, not both, and it's up to the author to decide.

Most of my authors, being narrative guys, write synopsis. Lousy ones mostly, but synopsis they are.

3 comments:

rachel said...

We who are about to die salute you!

Kelly said...

Funny, that's about how I would have defined those two terms before I started writing fiction. Thank you for the reassurance!

DTG said...

"Synopsis they are" is ungrammatical.

If you mean the plural of "synopsis" here---as your verb "are" indicates---it's spelled "synopses".

I'm just politely ignoring "Miss Snarks rules" because I know that some people who can't figure out where to use apostrophes pretend to crusade against them.

Question for a future post: How do people who can't write English get to be agents? Oh wait. You're not an agent. You work in...what? Agriculture? Ah, of course. Shovelling sh**, no doubt.

;)

DTG
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