How to Write Character & Plot Synopses

This breakdowns every type of character and plot synopses you will need. You can do them in any order, but I prefer character based fiction, so start with characters before plot.

You need short versions for minor characters, but require longer ones for major players. It’s easiest to start small and grow from there. You may discover minor characters have major playing parts.

You should have ideas for characters types you want. Write sentences outlining each character, in documents for each, while adding the sentence to an ‘all character’ document, keeping them in order of their importance. The sentence synopsis is important to keep characters focused on individuality. 

Give them simple, yet original roles. Achieve this by giving characters interesting jobs or hobbies. Use things you know well, may have put in your research folder, or are interested in.

Once you have a sentence for every character, focus on writing a sentence synopsis for your story. The character creation will give you ideas. You can also expand your character sentences into charts and more.

This is an example of a sentence you can roughly use showing external conflict: -

 ‘A (whatever characters main trait is) (whatever their role is) who (whatever their goal is)’.  

This could be - ‘A clairvoyant mail carrier who must find a bomb before it destroys Bedford...’ or something less silly. You can use it for the characters and plot.

Use your sentence synopsis as guidance to write paragraph synopses for characters. Change their sentence if you can enhance it. This should incorporate the characters main conflicts, and focus on their relation to the general plot.

Once complete, make a paragraph synopsis for your story. Think of the paragraph like a pitch. Your sentence should be quick, but the paragraph is for when you have more time, or if your lure someone in with your perfect sentence.

Expand each characters paragraph into a full page. It should detail everything you know about the character. Again, change the sentence, and paragraph, synopsis if you can improve them.

Tackle your stories page synopsis by adding every idea you have. Use your research and any background work lurking about. Make sure you form the plot as much as possible, paying attention to how characters and the plot interconnect, as well as believability.

When you have completed the page synopsis, write full character synopses. Show each characters relationship to the story, to each other, and their relevance to the plot.

Repeat the process for the plot. Don’t feel restricted by pages, paragraphs or sentences. Exhaust every avenue. The beauty is in the detail.

Keep track of which characters know each other, and what they mutually know. This reduces errors. Focus on family, friends, foes, whoever plays parts in your characters lives. Make notes about these relationships in every characters document. Not all characters need to know each other, but the reader will.

Note what scenes each of your characters are involved in. You can only do this after writing your plot outline. Take your full synopsis and think logically about a chronological order for necessary events. The plot doesn't have to unfold in this order, but time will, so it's important knowing which incidents cause knock-on effects. 

This helps you think about what characters do when they are not involved in scenes. If necessary, you can add more scenes if their stories are compelling and aid the plot. 

Happy Creations!