Synopsis Writing Made Simple

Synopsis Writing Made Simple

Synopsis. It might as well be a four-letter word in the writing community. Everyone hates to write them.


Unfortunately, they are part of the process as many agents and editors require them. To make matters worse, the lengths vary based on where you’re sending them. The post from PubCrawl was the post I used over and over again to help me write my synopsis. It’s available here.


If the Star Wars example post above doesn’t help you, consider doing what I now do when I need to write a synopsis. For starters, I write my synopsis so that I can have all possible page lengths, which makes it less heart ache for me in the end.

Here’s what I do. It’s not rocket science and many of you might roll your eyes at the simplicity of my method. It works for me. Maybe it will work for you. What’s great is you can do this before you write (if you are a plotter) or you can do it after you finish your novel.

Using either my outline or my completed manuscript, I tackle the main character’s storyline chapter by chapter. I don’t focus on page length in the beginning. I simply focus on the main plot, only introducing the major characters. The rule of thumb I follow for this aspect of synopsis writing is to ask myself if I need to mention their name. What will I gain by adding them to the synopsis? Are they mentioned more than one time? If not, their specific name isn’t needed, but stating Lacy’s best friend does XYZ should work.

Once I’ve gone through every chapter (this requires me scrolling through the completed chapter and summarizing what takes place in the main plot in as few sentences as possible), my synopsis is pretty long. The same is true if I’m trying to write my synopsis before I write the novel. I pull the main plot from my outline and do my best to summarize what I plan to happen. Naturally, this will need adjusted after the novel is completed because things usually always change.

After the long draft is finished, I then go back and make sure I’ve included the main elements to the story an agent and editor will want (including the ending). From there, I clean up the grammar, wording, et cetera, and then start cutting it down until I get the desired page lengths (usually five, three, and one).

This is just my process, but I wanted to share because I like writing a synopsis. Doing it this way makes it easy for me. Good luck in your synopsis writing!

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