What Did You Learn?

June 2, 2011

Getting Published: Synopsis

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , — ax20 @ 12:32 pm

Unlike your query letter, the synopsis provides a more in depth view of a novel. Here is where you can get into the more complicated parts of the story. (You still need to make sure it is clear, but you have more space to explain things.)

Make sure to hit all the major points of your book. (You still should not give every detail and event and character to show up, but you can expand on some of the details.) Introduce your main characters and the main conflicts. Give a clear idea of what your book is about, what the characters we will care about (or dislike), what is at stake for the heroes, what they stand to lose, and how it all turns out.

Don’t forget to include how it all turns out. Some writers think it is better to tease the editor, but the truth is, they have to know that there is a clear, reasonable ending. They have to know that it makes sense in the end and that you know how to finish a book (which is often one of the toughest parts).

A synopsis is generally written in third person, present tense. Make sure it is active (not passive). Be specific but not so specific that you include every detail.

Start where your book starts and end where it ends. If you tell an editor that your story is about a girl who has no memory of her past and must learn the truth, that is what they expect. If they then pick up your manuscript, expecting to read about an amnesiac girl only to find one who has her full memory, they will be disappointed. (This may actually be a flaw in the book itself since it would be more dramatic for us to start with her lack of memory and slowly discover the truth.)

A good idea would be to ask a friend who does not know about your book to read your synopsis. Do they understand it all? Does it interest them?


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