By: Cordon J.
8 min read
Reviewed By: Melisa C.
Published on: Oct 19, 2021
After writing a book or novel, writers are often asked to draft a precise document, i.e., a synopsis.
The publishers sometimes require it as they want to see what happens in a story. Therefore, it must present the entire narrative arc without revealing the ending.
Do not confuse it with a marketing description. Instead, it is an industry document that helps potential agents or editors to assess your story. Similarly, an appealing synopsis also makes it worth it for the audience to read the entire manuscript.
It is not that hard to write a good synopsis.
However, it is important to understand that each literary piece has specific guidelines. Follow the easy tips given in this guide to learn how to write a synopsis in no time.
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A synopsis presents a brief summary of a literary work to the reader. It must include the following elements:
Unlike a summary, it just gives a general overview of the story. Similarly, it covers the main conflict, the resolution, and the character’s emotional development.
A good synopsis appears in the query letter that you will send to the literary agent or publisher. Then they will use it to determine the marketability and salability of your writing piece.
Below given are the essential parts of synopsis writing:
The following is the primary purpose of writing a synopsis for your book or novel:
The agent will ask you for the full manuscript if your synopsis achieves the purposes mentioned above.
The standard length is about one or two single-spaced pages containing 500-1000 words.
It is recommended to keep a novel or book synopsis short unless there are any specific submission package guidelines. It is because most editors are not interested in a synopsis longer than a few pages. Thus, the standard length is about one or two single-spaced pages containing 500-1000 words.
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Here is a complete format structure of a good synopsis:
Lastly, you can also insert a little snippet of 2-3 lines at the top of your synopsis.
Follow the below-given steps for writing synopses that impress publishers.
In the first step, a writer must note down the main characters and plot. Keep in mind that only the most important characters will be mentioned in a synopsis. Also, ensure that each character should impact the book published in a significant way.
Apart from this, you should also emphasize character motivations at the beginning and end of the synopsis.
The next step is to identify the narrative arc of your story. However, it does not include the subplots. The best way is to make a list of the major plot points that include the following:
Listing down these points effectively helps to map out the actions and arc. It will also enable the readers to follow the story from beginning to end easily.
The publishers read hundreds of synopsis every day. Thus, it is important to highlight the unique elements of the story to make it stand out. Similarly, you can also use a different angle.
Keep in mind the following elements to grab the agent’s attention:
It is better to follow the correct formatting guidelines and word limit while writing a synopsis. Remember, every agent has different requirements for synopsis length. Thus, before starting writing, look up a few publishing houses and check out the instructions specified by them.
The next important step is to develop a detailed outline and begin with writing your synopsis. It includes the following paragraphs.
After finishing writing, the last step is to proofread your work. Carefully read the synopsis for typos, misspellings, grammatical mistakes, or missing words. Also, remove any unnecessary words, phrases, or clichés.
You can also ask someone from your friends or family to proofread and revise it for you. Furthermore, hiring a professional can get you suggestions that you need to improve your synopsis before submission.
By the time it’s finished, make sure your synopsis should read like a summary. This means clearly and concisely written and follows the right amount of emphasis on the critical moments.
The following are some examples of synopsis for you to understand better
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Follow the given tips to produce a well-written synopsis.
Here are some common mistakes that you should avoid while writing a synopses:
If you are not making these errors, then your synopsis is good to go. However, if you still need help on getting your synopsis structure right, take professional help.
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Cordon. is a published author and writing specialist. He has worked in the publishing industry for many years, providing writing services and digital content. His own writing career began with a focus on literature and linguistics, which he continues to pursue. Cordon is an engaging and professional individual, always looking to help others achieve their goals.
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