Do You know How to Write a Synopsis?

A synopsis is something most authors hate to write, yet it is the most important tool you have at your disposal.  It’s a lot harder to write a synopsis than it is to write a novel, but if you want a publisher to notice it, you just have to do it. The good thing is that you can use it in your marketing afterwards. You’re going to need a description of the story anyhow.

 I’ve almost completed the final edit of my newest romantic suspense novel, “The Capricorn Contingency”  aka “Impassioned”  aka “To the Limit”. The great thing is–I know it’s good. I also know I want to land a contract with a major publisher. Anyone can self-publish these days, but you only know how good you are if a publisher wants to buy your manuscript. I’ve done the research, and I decided to share it with other writers who may be able to benefit.

A synopsis can be anything from one page to ten pages, and more in some cases. Most agents or publishers publish their required length in their submission guidelines. I’ve read that two pages is usually enough.
So how do I do it? You ask.

A good suggestion I found was to imagine you’re telling a friend about a movie you just watched and really enjoyed. You would want them to know why you liked it so much, so you would be enthusiastic about the way you tell the story.

The first thing you need is a one-line description of your story, about 20 – 25 words. This is the sentence that will captivate the agent or publisher in your query letter and entice them to read on. You can use it as a blurb later. Mine is:

“Small town veterinarian Riley Shaughnessy can’t help falling in love with mysterious FBI agent, Powell Stewart, even though he could be the serial killer.”

The next step is to read your entire novel through and make notes about each chapter. This is essential and is called your Outline.

Now write a paragraph summary of your first chapter. This will set the scene. Write in the present tense and show whose POV you are using. Some submissions tell you whether they want it to be single or double-spaced. If they do not specify, make it double-spaced just the same as your manuscript.  The first time you mention a character, put their name in capitals. 

“RILEY SHAUGHNESSY is afraid to reveal the details of her dark past to the inhabitants of Shady Valley.” NOT “RILEY SHAUGHNESSY was afraid…”

The next paragraph to write is a summary of the ending. It is considered amateurish to hide the ending from editors and agents.

Now you can fill in the middle with a few more paragraphs. The third one should start with a sentence showing the dark moment, and you can add a few more lines to make a paragraph.

Begin the fourth paragraph by writing a sentence describing the turning point, then complete the paragraph.

The next few paragraphs will fill in the rest of the story. This is where you should address character and/or romantic development.

And now you have the basis for your synopsis. As always, edit until you’re happy with it.

Next thing you need–a query letter. I’ll post about it when I’ve done the research.

Good luck!!

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