Synopsis Example (Crime/Noir): "The Big Easy"

This time it's The Big Easy (1987), a crime/noir story. There's a lot of New Orleans flavor in this story that I had to nix here, as a synopsis is not designed to show the spice, but rather the three acts. It was important to show Remy's arc, more than explain the small, interesting elements of the story, such as Voodoo or Zydeco music.
Author:
Publish date:

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 Big Easy (1987), a crime/noir story. There's a lot of New Orleans flavor in this story that I had to nix here, as a synopsis is not designed to show the spice, but rather the three acts. It was important to show Remy's arc, more than explain the small, interesting elements of the story, such as voodoo or zydeco music.

Image placeholder title

REMY MCSWAIN is a smooth-talking New Orleans police lieutenant with a Cajun-Irish family background who comes from a long line of cops. Remy is called to investigate the murder of a local mobster and meets ANNE OSBORNE, a by-the-book state district attorney sent to investigate alleged police corruption in the city.

Remy takes Anne to dinner at a Cajun restaurant, and she quickly witnesses the corners he cuts on a daily basis—from running red lights to not paying restaurant bills in exchange for extra protection for that establishment. Anne accuses Remy of being on the take, and he accuses her of not having the first clue about how New Orleans "works." While he alludes to some questionable activity on his own part, he believes his vices permissible because he is, deep down, "one of the good guys." Remy's and Anne's opposites-attract attraction blossoms, and the sexually-shy Anne is fully seduced by Remy's New Orleans charm—but their newfound physical romance is put on hold after more underworld figures turn up dead in what looks to be an all-out war for control of the heroin trade.

Remy stops by a strip club to pick up a small payoff from the owner, only to be caught in a videotaped Internal Affairs sting. Anne prosecutes him in court, and she quickly moves her duty to the state ahead of her feelings for Remy. With help from his police friends (including several cousins who are cops), the key videotape evidence is lost and Remy beats the rap. He celebrates with a old-school Cajun party, where he happily learns that his longtime mentor, CAPTAIN KELLOM, will marry his single mother. Anne appears and chastises Remy for bending the rules at every turn; she accuses him of no longer being one of the good guys. Remy becomes unsure of his path in life.

More area drug lords die, and Remy finally realizes that corrupt cops are actually behind the deaths. In an effort to reclaim his integrity, Remy assists Anne in investigating his own department—something that alarms his longtime friends/cops. In retaliation, Remy's younger brother is shot by unseen gunmen. Outside the hospital, a desperate Remy turns to Capt. Kellom for help, only to learn his longtime mentor is himself involved in the heroin corruption. Remy tells Kellom he is no longer welcome in the McSwain family, and their conversation turns violent and almost deadly.

Guilted, Kellom heads to the drydocks at night to put an end to the heroin dealings, but is shot by fellow corrupt cops who don't want their profitable venture ended. Remy and Anne appear at the pier, and Remy gets into a firefight with Kellom's two cop conspirators. Remy wins the gun battle and saves Anne from harm. In the final scene, Remy and Anne enter a honeymoon suite as newlyweds.

Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers Conferences:

Image placeholder title

Don't let your synopsis be rejected for
improper formatting. The third edition of
Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript
has more than 100 examples of queries,
synopses, proposals, book text, and more.
Buy it online here at a discount.

Other writing/publishing articles and links for you:


Arisa White: Putting the Pieces Together

Arisa White: Putting the Pieces Together

In this post, Arisa White shares how she was able to piece together her past with her present, how some works freed her to write, and more!

Adapt vs. Adept vs. Adopt (Grammar Rules)

Adapt vs. Adept vs. Adopt (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use adapt vs. adept vs. adopt with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

wow no thank you

Nuggets of Humor

Bestselling humor author Samantha Irby talks about her writing process and finding funny topics for essays.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Guidelines

Announcing the 14th annual April Poem-A-Day Challenge on Poetic Asides. Here are the guidelines for this fun annual poeming challenge that starts on April 1.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Call for Submissions, Free Downloads, and more!

This week, we’re excited to announce a call for submissions to the WD Self-Published Book Awards, free resources for writers, and more!

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 28

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write a story using only dialogue.

Nicole Galland: On Returning to Familiar Characters

Nicole Galland: On Returning to Familiar Characters

Bestselling author Nicole Galland explains what it was like to dive into writing a series and how speculative fiction allows her to explore her interests.

6 Tools for Writing Nonfiction That Breathes

6 Tools for Writing Nonfiction That Breathes

Nonfiction author Liz Heinecke gives her top 6 tips for crafting a nonfiction book that will really capture your subject.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 27

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write something that makes you laugh.