No Synopsis, but a Hero’s Journey

Once upon a time, I used to think authors sprung into life fully formed. They produced a novel without advice or influence from another living being. In my teens, I was steadfastly stubborn. I did not want books or official teaching on writing. I assumed it would somehow cheapen the ‘magical’ experience of writing a novel. I wasn’t the smartest of teenagers. Looking back on it now it was probably my crippling insecurities masquerading  as pride.

I now hold strong to the belief that being confined by a structure breeds rebellion and therefore, creativity.

I still think my most intricate and creative work comes from free-writing, but I am no longer ashamed to say I need help to structure that creativity into something that can be understood.

I was first introduced to the concept of the Hero’s Journey, or the Monomyth, at university, I began researching Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a thousand faces for an essay and came back to it for my dissertation. My dissertation centred around Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A piece I happened to be very high on painkillers whilst writing. They were for a slipped disk, not recreation, but it did give me a unique perspective. I was thankful for Vogler’s  slightly less dense text Writer’s journey: Mythic structure for writers.


To get back to my original point, if there was one, I found this spectacular website, Better Novel Project, run by the ingenious Christine. She   takes the essence of the Heroes Journey and shows how Twilight, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games all adhere to it.

Teenage me would have scoffed at the idea but present me is absolutely delighted. I’ll not waste time with my current novel as I am revising it now. However this simple, if highly detailed, template will make plotting out future novels something akin to painting by numbers. I have no trouble creating worlds, and I sometimes forget the characters in my novels aren’t real. Structure is my issue.

I discovered this website  whilst skilfully avoiding writing my synopsis. I did, however, find a few promising pages to help me write the synopsis. I then spent far too long copying and pasting the articles into Scrivener and formatting them with gaps for my own word.

I’m itching to start a new novel, or more accurately, return to a very rough draft. Being ill for the past couple of days and doing absolutely nothing has given me fresh creative enthusiasm. However, I must get back to this synopsis. I’m trying to get it done because there are a couple of competitions coming up which require a synopsis and the first 15,000 words or so of the novel. Competitions feel a lot less scary than agents.

Here’s the useful links I found for writing a synopsis

How to write a synopsis By Glen C. Strathy

How to write a 1-page synopsis by Susan Dennard 

The anatomy of a short Synopsis by Christine Fonseca 

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