What is a synopsis?
A synopsis is a shortened version of your novel from beginning to end. It is more detailed than the blurb you will read at the back of the book. At times, writing a synopsis can be harder than writing an actual novel.
It should be written in the tone of your novel, a feat I find near impossible when trying to condense my stories into one page!
As I’ve mentioned before, writing synopses is not my forte. I find condensing my novel into one page tedious. To make like easier I myself. I split it into bite-sized, colour-coded chunks. Once I am satisfied with my synopsis chunk, I’ll change the font colour to black.
Tips for writing a synopsis
- Write in the third person, present tense.
- State how the story ends. Never write an open-ended synopsis.
- Use single-spacing with a 12-point font.
- Include all the main characters.
- You don’t have to include the subplots in your synopsis, just the main story-line is enough.
If you’re planning to submit your novel to literary agents be prepared and have the following to hand:
- A cover letter
- A outline of your novel
- A one page synopsis (a page and one quarter is supposedly okay).
- A half a page synopsis
- A full synopsis. You should start out with a full synopsis and then edit it to half a page, and finally a paragraph
- A biography
What is an outline?
I have never been asked to provide an outline. However, some overseas agents will ask for them. Of course, if you are writing non-fiction, a novel outline is a must, and you will normally have drawn one up prior to starting your book.
An outline is where you give a breakdown of you novel chapter by chapter. If you’re a writer who prepares a detailed outline of your story before writing it, providing an outline to a prospective literary agent or publisher shouldn’t be a problem.
If like me, you tend to plough straight into your story, you should write an outline as you go along. Always think about the next chapter and write a few sentences about what’s going to happen, even if you don’t stick to it, you can always change it later.