Not only do you have to write your book and a query letter, you also have to write a synopsis. I think this word is slightly more dreaded than the “E” word . . . edit. Whenever I think about writing a synopsis I feel my soul darken. Okay, that is a little dramatic, but it gives you an idea of my dislike for the big, bad synopsis.
A synopsis is a 1-2 page summary of your book including the conflict your character(s) face and all the events that build to the climax. Every main event, character, and plot twist has to be revealed. No surprises can be left out of the synopsis!
Here are 10 steps you can follow to help you get through the task:
1. Put your name, address, phone number, and email in the upper left-hand corner of the document. In the upper right-hand corner indicate the genre and rounded word count.
2. Several lines down, put your byline just as you would with your manuscript’s cover page. Then several more lines down begin the synopsis.
3. Single space, no tabs, Arial or Times New Roman size-12 font.
4. Write in the present tense and third person point of view, even if your story is written in past tense, first person point of view.
5. Whenever you introduce a character for the first time, type their name in all CAPS.
6. The first paragraph needs to introduce the main character, setting, and the beginning of the story.
7. A simple format to help you figure out what events to highlight is this:
Plot Point #1
Pinch Point #1 (smaller, linking event)
Plot Point #2 (midpoint)
Pinch Point #2
Plot Point #3
8. Just as you write about every event that leads to the climax, you also have to give away the ending. Yup, however the story ends you need to reveal it at the end of the synopsis.
9. Write “THE END” at the bottom of the synopsis like you would at the bottom of a manuscript.
10. When you send your synopsis to an agent/editor, follow their guidelines. They may want you to mail it, which you’ll need an SASE for (self-addressed, stamped envelope), or email it by either attaching a .DOC file or pasting it below your query letter.
Don’t let the S-word scare you. Face the big, bad synopsis head on.
How to Write a Query Letter
Formatting Your Manuscript
QUESTION: Do you hate or enjoy writing synopses?
SHARE: Your tips for writing a synopsis.