How to Write a Synopsis
by Nathan Bransford
A synopsis needs to
- cover all of the major characters and major plot points (including the ending) and
- make the work come alive.
Nathan suggests that the length of a synopsis should be two to three pages, double spaced.
Visit his site for more information about each of these points.
Learn How to Write a Synopsis Like a Pro
on WritersDigest website
The synopsis should have:
- narrative arc
- active voice
- unique point of view
- story advancement
- clear writing
- mentioning too many characters or events.
- including too much detail about plot twists and turns.
- unnecessary detail, description, or explanation.
- editorializing your novel or book.
- writing back cover copy instead of a synopsis.
Please read the whole article about more details on each item.
The synopsis should contain three elements:
- The hook (start with your story’s main character, the central conflict, and what he or she must do to overcome or remedy the conflict)
- The back-up (stop and give a little background information on your character and the conflict that makes the situation clearer)
- The meat (the plot points and how your character feels at each point)
This site suggests writing one page of synopsis for every 25 pages of manuscript, written in the present tense and telling the entire story.
This article also gives technical details on the format (header, spacing, etc.).
on Fiction Writer's Connection website
- Does the opening paragraph have a hook to keep the reader reading?
- Are your main characters' conflicts clearly defined?
- Are your characters sympathetic?
- Can the reader relate to them and worry about them?
- Have you avoided all grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes?
- Have you hit on the major scenes, the major plot points of your book? Did you resolve all important conflicts? Did you use present tense?
This article suggests to single space your synopsis if it's only one page, double space it if longer. The paragraphs should be indented, with no space in between.
Read the whole article for more tips on writing a synopsis and to help you decide when to write it (before or after writing the book).