Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to Write a Synopsis

What? You believed the title line of this post? Truly, I haven't written one since I wrote my last book report in about 9th grade. Yes, I am an engineer, not an English major. Please forgive my misuse of all past-tense verbs...there appears to be several past-tenses in English that I never studied. I go with what sounds right, which is probably wrong, but I digress.

Synopsis! That's what I was talking about.

For Book One, I finally figured out that I should write my first pass through the synopsis "in character," to retain the flavor of the story. I could downgrade to 3rd-person later, if needed.

The advice that I've read in the blogs for how to write a synopsis, is to craft a mid-level, blow-by-blow account of the story, leaving out characters who are not critical to the plot-lines. This should be 2-3 pages, either single-spaced or double-spaced, depending on the recipient's preference. It should have some of the flavor of the story, but should not be literary (overly prettied-up). It should flow when read aloud. It should be able to be extracted to a dust-cover. It should include the ending, hiding nothing.

Did I get that right? For those of you with experience in writing a synopsis, is there anything else that I should include or not include?


  1. Sounds about right. You can skip subplots too. The final draft should def be third person, though I see how writing in the character's POV first then revising would help you retain the tone of the book.

    Also, it should be in present tense, and the format at the top left side should be:

    Frog Kisses and Near Misses
    Young Adult
    59,000 words
    Jennifer Hoffine

  2. Jennifer, thanks for the advice! I shall give it a try. :-)


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