How to Write a Synopsis for a Novel

How to Write a Synopsis for a Novel

Every writer who has ever published a book knows what a synopsis is. But what is a synopsis? A book synopsis is a document sent to agents and publishers and is meant to convey a book’s entire narrative. It supplies key information about the novel (plot, theme, characterization, setting), while also showing how these coalesce to form the big picture. It quickly tells what the novel is about without making the editor or agent read the novel in its entirety.

In truth writing a synopsis is necessary because it is a way for writers to show prospective publishing companies their work without having them read the whole and thus it is very important that your book synopsis is well written because the quality of your synopsis may well be the reason for you getting published.

In a way there are no pre-set methods and rules on how to write a synopsis. In fact there are many conflicting advice about the typical of a synopsis. But if you really want to please your prospective publishers it is better to stay with one rule. Keep it short and sweet. This is because the publisher have a multitude of other synopsis sent to him every day. Thus it is always a good idea that your synopsis is short but potent.

Here are some other tips on how to write a synopsis.

  1. When you are writing your synopsis you should focus on the essential parts of your story. It is not a good idea to include dialogue because it will just needlessly make the synopsis longer. Always remember that the synopsis is supposed to be a condensed version of your book. So like it was stated before. Keep it sweet and short.
  2. Always remember to keep your events in the same order as they happen in the novel. Like it was stated before a synopsis is a condensed version of your book. So it should have a beginning, a middle and an ending.
  3. Although there is no specific word count rule, one of the best word count would be 500 to 600 words. This allows you to give a swift and concise synopsis of your book, without making it too lengthy.
  4. Shine the spotlight on your main characters. This will show the publisher which character is important and which one is not. A great way to deciding which character stays and goes. If the ending would not make sense without the character or plot being mentioned, then it belongs in the synopsis. If the character or plot point comes up repeatedly throughout the story, and increase the tension or complication each time, then it definitely belongs.
  5. Do not get bogged down by unnecessary character names. This is merely a synopsis so you do not need to give every character a name. Your main focus should just be on the protagonists and main cast. You do not need to give the milkman a name or describe what he did.
  6. Do not ask rhetorical or unanswered questions. This is a synopsis so your main goal is to inform not entice.
  7. Avoid giving backstory to your characters. This will only complicate your synopsis. The backstory will only clog up the story and lengthen it unnecessarily.
  8. Avoid using overly flowery words. Although you do need to show the publishers your writing ability there really is no space for you to be fancy with your writing. Always remember that your synopsis is not supposed to show every little detail about your book. It is about convincing the publisher that your overall story is worth investing in.
  9. Do not split the story into sections. This is a synopsis, so it should be short, compact and concise. Splitting it would only needlessly lengthen it without any content.
  10. Although you do not need to add flowery words into the synopsis it is important that your synopsis has as much feelings and emotions as possible.
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