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Synopsis: A Methodology in Media Description




What is a synopsis? Essentially, it is a short, direct explanation of a story, article, film, or any piece of  formal media. It’s brief, and initiates a deeper understanding of something prior to digesting the whole. A synopsis often has key-points of the media it is iterating, and allows for a broad comprehension in a short amount of information, so-as-better to grasp an understanding of the media’s entirety, whilst allowing the reader grasp the piece in a glance.

Writing a synopsis is often the antithesis of writing a novel. Rather than long literary summations, short, curt sentences full of description makes for a better retelling of a much larger work. Think of annotations, summaries, and appendices as to best write a synopsis. Within three-to-four paragraphs of information, the reader should acquire enough information to make a strong hypothesis of whether-or-not the work being described is to their liking, and if they should humor their curiosity further. Synopses are typically done by an outside source, one that has read the whole of the work in question, then gives a rather objective summary, leaving out any personal feelings about the piece, only stating facts of what is found in the pages. This tends to allow for anyone using the synopsis as a tool to discover the work at a glance to form their own opinion, rather than reading a criticism of the work. Reviews and synopses are distinctly two separate fruits aloft the same tree. Neither of which is complimentary of the other, bur rather separated by their function, and the depth to which they go for explanation. One is for gauging the distinct voice of the work, the other is to surmise the fundamental flaws, successes, and worth of the piece-in-question.

Disavowing all preconceived notions of the perfunctory statements made in most modern criticism, one can gauge at times a better understanding in the more formal synopsis. Hence transcribing a work into such a truncated form is at times itself an art-form. A synopsis, unlike most criticisms, is not to help or harm the sales of a work, but to make a beneficial contribution to a greater understanding. It is a flawless, objective description, one that marries a reader to the work with a knowledge of what’s ahead, and never preaches to them, as they are formulating their own opinions. Synopses are a crucial element to ascribing plot points, summaries, and conclusions to literary text, nonfiction sources, and film: Hollywood blockbusters, and documentaries alike. The riptide effect of description allows a larger audience to seek out media, and better to do their own tastes, and the creator of said media, a justice to gain equal understanding that tends to be muddied by review.

Writing a synopsis should always be done in a manner that the writer greatly comprehends the focused media, and adjusts it so their audience understands the importance, while not being spoiled by the quintessential elements. By which no large plot twists are given, no major turning points to the story are revealed, and no mystery is solved within that short description. Simplistic writing, and a voice that is riveting, yet objective helps to keep a reader in-tact, and release the information fluidly, but without the hassle of a technically written manual, avoiding the feel of assembly instructions, and pamphlets of equal sort. A synopsis should always be coherent, accessible, and fastidiously structured. The wording should be precise, and strike sharply, not allegorical and unequivocal of the subject described.

A synopsis should be brief, as it should not reach the lengths of an article or report. The aim is to summarize, not embark on a full-fledged retelling, rather cover the crucial aspects in an organized, precise manner. Nothing is more prominent in describing the work than covering the bases, and showing what the creator of the media intended, thus relaying prominent information without bias. In-turn, this creates a more conscientious description, adhering to the definition of a true synopsis. The poignancy of a synopsis should entail the medium’s: Plot, protagonist, antagonist, setting, conflict, and tone. Transcribing all these bullet points will allow any reader to understand the basis of the described media, and grasp the attention of those interested in the work. It will allow for any assumptions to be made, and any ideals to be sorted out. First, know the work you're describing. Read, watch, analyze it thoroughly, as this allows for the best results. Describe the work in plain language, as though retelling the most interesting parts of the work, so others who are unfamiliar will grasp the fundamentals. Truncate the most important parts of the media, but without a gaudy, listing format. Always be capable of filling in unique characteristics that separate it from other works, so there is a better understanding of what the work is all about. Lastly, leave it open-ended, so it can be up for speculation, don’t give away the story, but give the reader an idea of what the story is about, and where it could lead. This gives them the notion that something that might interest them will be related throughout the media.

Overall, writing a synopsis is an art-form in itself, and marries reporting with creativity. It requires stout knowledge on the subject, and also feigns away from being subjective, as it is not a marketing review. Summarizing the most important aspect of the media’s basis helps to spread comprehension, and gives readers informal understanding, while not being preachy. A great amount of work and professional accolades can come from such writing, and mastering the art of the synopsis, keeping the querying to a bare minimum, allows for so many doors o pen, as it is a much-needed talent in the quasi-technical writing, and marketing writing fields. However, there is a rather cautionary factor to uphold, and that is to rarely, if never, use quotations from the work itself. Do not quote any of the work, as synopsis should be written in an original style. Even if the writer of the synopsis is the content creator of the said media being described: never quote from the original source directly, only paraphrase if there is no other option to help with the description. Using original structure and style will always benefit the synopsis, and give a reader the distinct take. This allows them to discover the work naturally, without the fear of being lead there by someone's past experiences, and keep the author’s voice a mystery. Allow the reader to find the author’s voice without giving any per-conceived impression.

Follow a linear path through the synopsis writing process, and there will be a great reward in the knowledge that the audience discovers the best medium to fit their personal tastes. Never-minding the fear that any injustice is being done to the primary source, rather take solace in knowing that objective explanation allows for peak outreach to the most quantitative readership.

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