The Devil’s in the Details… or writing a kick-butt synopsis

I’ve spent the last few weeks in the cave, that mythical place writers hide to commune with their Muse and struggle to put words to the page. Starting a new story is always the hardest part of writing for me, and usually I write the first three chapters (a few dozen times) before I have a good handle on the characters and plot direction. This time, though, I needed a solid, detailed synopsis before I could start writing.


Into the cave I went, struggling to find the heart of my story. By George, I did get it. I thought I had a solid plot direction, a good handle on how it’d play out. Oh, sure, there were a few details up in the air, but I hadnt’ written the story yet, so how could I know what would happen?

Off it went to my editor.

Back it flew to me… with more questions.

Back into the cave I went, but this time, I dragged WonderCP Beth in with me. For every point I made, she asked why. For every twist I added, she’d ask how. My skimpy 5 page synopsis grew, unfolded and blossomed into 11 pages (maybe morphed into an outline, really) and tada!!! Its done!

I have a solid outline, a clear roadmap. Now, as a plotter, I truly do appreciate this. I know pantzers everywhere (those writers who dive in with just the glimmer of one story aspect and create without a map) are cringing. But I needed this. I am excited, and more, I feel really solid with this story knowing I can devote the entire rest of my writing of it to the characters, to the simple joy of letting them tell their story, instead of constantly stopping them to ask them why.

Gotta love it when all those details click!!

So how about you? If you’re a writer, when are the detials crucial in your storytelling? As a reader, how important are details to your reading experience?


  • Mary says:

    I’ll be really interested to see how this story comes out for you – I wonder if it will be easier.

    I could never do it, though! I’m the pantzer twitching in the corner 😉

  • Tawnymwr says:

    LOL Mary on the twitching. I’ll be honest, I’m a plotter all the way, and the detail of this actually had me twitching a time or two.

    But… its so clear. Not the details, not the emotional unfolding (or better still, not the hot love scenes LOL) but the direction and the how/why/what, that I think this will be a pleasure to write.

    I hope LOLOL.

  • Virna says:

    Details are key, I’m finding. But they do seem to be the hardest part for me, too. Yesterday, I powered through a “this is hopeless” feeling and wrote and wrote and got to the “wow, maybe I can do this” feeling. It’s a lot nicer than the first! 🙂

  • Tawnymwr says:

    Virna, what a great example of why we have to push past that evil block. I really do believe writing is like exercise. When its time to actually sit down and do it, there are a million reasons why we don’t want to, excuses not to, painful issues to face. The easy thing is to give in to that feeling of hopelessness and just NOT write (or not exercise, hmmm) But… push through the block, write despite the blocks and after a really short while (for me, its usually about a half hour when I’m first getting into a new book, by chapter 4 its about 5 minutes)that feeling of hopelessness is ::poof:: gone!

  • Edie says:

    Glad you’re happy, but I’m twitching in the corner with Mary. I would have guessed you’d be a plotter. I’ve seen your lists!

  • Tawnymwr says:

    LOL, I need to get you and Mary refreshments for that corner, huh, Edie? Maybe margaritas will help with the twitching?

    btw, I adoooore lists 😉 Seriously, they make my life sane.