Writing a Synopsis
Here is a summary of the points and suggestions that were made at the panel I was on about writing synopsis. It is frequently difficult to write them.
A synopsis is an important part of the submission package you will use to sell your novel. But what is a synopsis and how is it developed and polished? Is there an ideal length? How much detail should it include? Panellists discuss common problems and errors. (Erik Buchanan, Michael Martineck(M), Stephen B Pearl, Karl Schroeder, with additional points from Draumr Publishing.
- Take a sentence from each chapter as a key and use these to build the flow.
- There is a big difference between a synopses to sell a finished book and a synopses to sell a book on speck.
- If you have trouble, work out the tag words you'd use for the book on Amazon and the like as your start point.
- Avoid "ly" words. (Adjectives and adverbs) especially suddenly, very and finally.
- In writing, in general, look for and avoid superfluous characters. If you can combine two or more minor characters in to one do it.
- If you are selling on speck, don't feel overly bound by the synopsis.
- For blurbs look to the film industry for good examples.
- As always, write to the publishers stated preferences.
- Don't get cute. This is a professional document so be professional.
- Synopses don't have to be boring.
- If you are stuck, just write the thing, then edit. Write a synopsis and don't worry about the length. Then write a synopsis of your synopsis and repeat until you have the length and quality you need.
- Find your main theme and stick with that.
- Don't go into why your characters do things, it is enough to say they do them.
- Give an overall description of the book not a retelling.
- Cover the entire story including the end.