Friday, March 11, 2011

the synopsis

At some point, whether we want to or not, most of us will have to write a synopsis. I personally don’t much care for them, nor do I feel I need one. I’m perfectly happy with my chapter-by-chapter outline of what happened to who when. But an agent is probably going to want one. The trick is turning an outline into a synopsis. According to YALITCHAT, which I belong to, here’s how to do it:

· Start with a hook, maybe like the line you used to interest the agent in your query.
· Introduce the main characters and tell their motivation, conflict and goals. Be brief and use present tense.
· In the body of the synopsis use paragraphs to write about the high points in chronological order. Each scene should include ACTION, REACTION, and a DECISION.

For example, the Outline of the beginning of Almost Paradise looks like this:

Prologue – Louis Cade, a scientist working on a secret project disappears.
Ch. 1 – p. 3 Katherine abruptly decides she cannot marry her fiancé.
Ch. 2 – p. 7 In an effort to escape she answers an ad for an unusual vacation on Cristobel Island where she meets Louis Cade who has apparently designed a means of time travel.

And here’s the Synopsis:

Katherine Kennedy is a woman who appears to have it all but in fact wants none of it. Jack McCabe is a veteran with an unhappy past, drifting in search of something. They both soon find themselves back in 1881, thanks to Louis Cade, the owner of Cristobel Island, a unique vacation resort.

And this is Grimoire:

Chapter One ~ p. 3 (1805)Arlen: a girl who seemingly has everything, loses it all.

It is February of 1805 in a slightly alternate England and Arlen, a girl who seemingly has it all, loses everything. Destitute, she is sent to live with a grandmother she never knew she had. Her last view of her home reveals a startling vision of her parents waving a ghostly goodbye. What Arlen doesn’t know is that she’s a witch and her ‘talents’ have begun to manifest.

Do you have any tricks or rules for writing a synopsis?


  1. No tricks. It's just a matter of writing it out until it feels right.

  2. Sounds like you're off to a good start. If you outline your work before you begin writing that tends to help with the synopsis.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  3. Looks like you are off to a great start. Those outlines do payoff.

  4. Looks great! But I've never written a synopsis, so I have nothing to base that on other than that it looks great! :D

  5. I heard you should start with a chapter by chapter outline, and rewrite it until it could make someone want to read your manuscript, even if this involves glossing over a few minor features of the actual book.


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