If you have ever submitted a book to a publisher, you will know what a synopsis is, but to those who don't or have not reached that stage yet, a synopsis is a full outline of your book from beginning to end, including all of the twists and turns.
Why is it needed? The synopsis is for the potential publisher, so they can get get an overview of the story without having to read the whole book. It saves time and they can see any issues with the story straight away. Publishers receive hundreds of submissions every week, they cannot possibly read them all, so a synopsis helps them weed out the books that are unsuitable, have major issues or just aren't a right fit for their agency.
Always, always read the guidelines before submitting to a publisher. If you do not meet them, there is a good chance your file will be deleted or manuscript sent to the slush pile.
Synopses are useful to writers even if they are not considering using traditional publishing routes. It gives you an overview of your story and could help you find potential plot holes or character issues.
So why do so many writers hate synopses? It's simple - they can be hard to write, especially for your own book. How do you condense your 90k book into one page? What do you include, what do you leave out? It can be overwhelming and as a result, a lot of authors end up producing a synopsis that is too long or is missing chunks of information as they try to fit it onto one page. I see a lot of people trying to write synopses before they finish their book too! Never try this. While you may have the idea in your head, your story could change along the way, so wait until you have your final draft ready to go.
What can you do about it? Go back to the beginning. Before you wrote your book, you came up with an original idea. This might have been something simple like - a young woman goes looking for her long lost father, only to discover he is a demon! It is a simple premise and it gives you a starting point for your synopsis. It tells you who, what, where and why. Who is your main character, what is the problem they face, where is where the story takes place and where your character goes in search of answers and why, well that is slightly harder. Why answers questions about your character - Why go looking for him? Why is she only looking now? Why did he leave? Take your character from point A to B to C to D. Keep it simple, write in the present tense and list the main plot points. Side characters are unimportant unless they play a key role in the outcome of the story.
Write your synopsis out first and then trim it down after. What can be left out while still telling a complete story. It takes practice, but a great synopsis can be key to getting a publisher to read your book.
If you are still having issues or have no idea where to start, I offer synopsis writing through Fiverr. Click the button below to find out more.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”