Outlines? Not for me.
So when it was time to crank out that dreaded synopsis for my WIP, I figured hell was coming to town. It did, but not the way I expected.
You see, I followed a game plan:
1) Write about major characters.
2) Write major plot points.
3) Write ending.
4) Add "voice".
Steps 1 and 2 went well. But as I got closer to the end, my synopsis showed me something I hadn't seen before.
My ending sucked.
By describing what happens in my story, I learned it was pretty flawed. Characterization was okay, but plotting downright sucked toward the final pages. So how did I fix it? I took out the epilogue, which contained a cliffhanger scene. I plan on using this scene in the sequel (if there's ever one...). I went back and rewrote other scenes in order to create a little doubt regarding the twist reveal, but not in a way that leaves the story ending in a WTF moment.
Now my synopsis looks like it's about one book, not one and a half. It does suggest a sequel, but it also shows that this story can work on its own.
There you have it, fellow pantsers: synopses can change lives.
I mean, stories...
What has your synopsis taught you?