Synopsis

When talking to writers about writing a synopsis one of the first question I am usually asked, is, ‘how long should it be?’ The answer to this is, how long is your novel? The important thing to remember is it should be relatively short and succinct. Some writers manage this in less than 10 pages, but the average can fall between 15-20 pages.

What you should remember, is:

• A badly written synopsis is like telegraphing to a prospective editor, agent, or publisher that you have no idea how to write. It needs to be well-written and positive.

• Your synopsis should highlight the salient points of the story arc, character’s growth, and the scenes that move the story forward.

• When I say salient points, I mean things like character ‘conflict,’ ‘challenges‘ and the ‘resolution.’ As in, how did they get into that mess to begin with, how do they solve their problems, meet their challenges, and how do they overcome their obstacles.

• Do not give a blow-by-blow dry account of each chapter. Condense it down to, this is where our hero steals the spaceship, blows up the Death Star and saves the prince by doing this …

• When writing genre, make sure you convey to the editor/agent you know your stuff, but don’t bore them senseless.

• Remember to show not tell. It’s the same principal for writing your synopsis as it is for writing your novel.

• Also, your voice should be as evident in your synopsis as it is in your novel.

It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway: practice makes perfect. They more practice you have at writing a synopsis, the better you’ll get at it. That said, however, writing a synopsis (for some) is like catching lightning in a bottle.

Good luck with that!