Writing Your Synopsis

So you think you have a great idea for a novel. 

You start writing and by chapter five you begin to wonder if you really have a story. Will you be able to keep it going and keep it be interesting for the length of a whole novel?  This was my case until I wrote my synopsis today.

There are so many ways to tackle this problem but one way is to write a synopsis. By doing a synopsis you will see very quickly whether or not there is enough interest in the story, whether the story is actually about something, a strong story line, strong and interesting characters and what point of view would be best.

So, what is a synopsis?

A synopsis is the chronological story outline in a short piece in present tense that sums up the novel.  It is what is usually submitted when approaching a publisher with three chapters of the novel.  The publisher needs to know - quickly - whether the story is worth reading.  The synopsis introduces the important characters and is usually one page ideally should be about 500 words (check with publishers for their requirements).

It is your chance to sell idea of the novel.

What do you need to include, or leave out?

The synopsis must include:

  • the title of the novel - which should be thematic, relevant to the story
  • the ending
  • the names of the characters (in all capitals the first time they are written) which are introduced and something that shows the character
  • an underlying logic through it - keep it chronological
  • a feel of the writing style
  • the spine of the story - keep it factual, big events only and with the overarching framework (inciting incident linking to the climax)

Must not:

  • include any analogies
  • have any cliches
  • have irrelevant details or actions

I have found it to break through moment for me with my novel as it has tightened the story up.

Have you done a synopsis for your novel?  Did you find it to be helpful?

Is there anything else you would add to what must be included or excluded?

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