Synopsis Example: “The Fly” (Horror / Sci-Fi)

Here’s another example of a fiction summary, which can be used as a guide for writing your novel synopsis. (See all my synopsis examples here.) This time it’s The Fly (1986).

I took a crack at this one because my synopsis examples were light on horror stories. The main thing with this synopsis was to streamline Seth’s transformation process (and I left a lot of details on the cutting room floor) so that it could be whittled it down to the proper length. (Photo credit.)


At a gathering of science professionals, SETH BRUNDLE, a brilliant but eccentric scientist, meets VERONICA, a journalist for Particle magazine. Seth brings Veronica to his loft and reveals a set of “telepods” that allow instantaneous teleportation of an object. Veronica agrees to document Seth’s work. Although the telepods can transport inanimate objects, they do not work on living things, as is demonstrated when a baboon is turned inside-out during an experiment. Seth and Veronica begin a romance, and their first sexual encounter provides inspiration for Seth, who sets about reprogramming the telepods “to cope with living flesh.” A second baboon is teleported successfully.

Veronica leaves Seth one night to meet her editor and former lover, STATHIS. Paranoid that Veronica is rekindling her relationship with Stathis, a drunk and jealous Seth decides to teleport himself alone (without her witnessing this historic moment) as revenge for Veronica’s infidelity—but a common housefly slips into his pod, unseen. The teleportation is successful, and Seth emerges, seemingly normal. Veronica returns and informs Seth she visited Stathis, in fact, to permanently end the relationship.

Shortly after his teleportation, Seth begins to exhibit increased strength, stamina, and sexual potency. However, he soon becomes arrogant and dumps Veronica, screaming that she can’t keep up with him. Seth goes to a bar and uses his newfound strength to break a man’s arm so he can take a promiscuous woman home. Soon after, Seth’s fingernails fall off, and he realizes something is very wrong. He discovers that the telepod computer merged him with the fly at the molecular-genetic level.

Over the next few weeks, Seth deteriorates, becoming progressively less human in appearance. Veronica returns to help. Seth theorizes that he is slowly becoming a hybrid creature that is neither human nor insect (a “Brundlefly”). He starts to exhibit fly-like characteristics, such as vomiting enzymes onto his food and the ability to cling to walls. Worse, Seth realizes that he will soon lose all human reason and compassion, and Veronica will not be safe around him. Meanwhile, Veronica learns she is pregnant. Fearing the child was conceived after Seth’s experiment, she opts for an abortion, but the procedure is stopped by Seth, who appears at the clinic in his horrific form and carries Veronica to his loft. Seth begs her to keep the baby, since it could be the last remnant of his untainted humanity. Veronica refuses. Stathis arrives at the loft with a gun to save Veronica, but Seth attacks him.

Seth then reveals his desperate, last-ditch plan: He will use the telepods to fuse himself, Veronica, and their unborn child together into one entity, so they can be the “ultimate family.” Veronica struggles to escape, but is locked in a telepod by Seth, who has transformed so much he can no longer speak. Moments before the activation, Stathis regains consciousness and rescues Veronica. The teleportation happens, but Seth is actually fused with pieces of metal from a damaged pod. The mortally-wounded Brundlefly-metal fusion creature silently begs Veronica to end its suffering with Stathis’s gun. A devastated Veronica hesitates for a moment then pulls the trigger, falling to her knees in anguish as Seth finally dies.

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