Monday, April 1, 2013

Writing Tips: Synopsis

Oh the dreaded synopsis. I'll admit, when I was compiling a list of the top 5 agents I wanted to query part of my decision making process was eliminating (for now) the ones that wanted a synopsis. I was having a hard enough time editing my manuscript, getting my word count down, and drafting the query letter--I wasn't ready to take on another task that everyone said was really hard. Once I got the aforementioned completed, I started researching what a synopsis was. I knew I'd have to do one at some point so may as well get it over with. Here's what I learned:

Basically a synopsis is a one page (can be more--depends on the agent/editor) overview of all the major plot points and characters of your manuscript. You don't have to worry about getting it in the right voice--in fact, the dryer the better. And you don't want to be vague. Agents and editors want to see that you can properly develop and tell a story from start to finish. That's right, you need to put in your synopsis how your story ends. Put characters names in ALL CAPS on the first mention, tell the setting, and make sure to name your stakes. They need to see what motivates your main character to do what they do. Only put sub plots in if they drive the main plot and keep your minor character mentions down to around 5. 

Sounds simple, right? You'd be surprised at how hard this actually is. Surprisingly, I had an easier time with the synopsis than I did the query. The dry, tell it like it is formula of the synopsis was easier for me to do than the voice-filled, give them some but leave them wanting more approach of the query.  

Here are some websites that helped me craft my synopsis:

http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2012/04/17/how-to-write-a-1-page-synopsis/

http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com/2010/07/how-to-write-synopsis.html

http://writerunboxed.com/2012/02/27/untitled-2-27/

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/08/how-to-write-synopsis.html

http://www.writingforchildrenandteens.com/submissions/anatomy-of-a-synopsis/

Well, that's all for today! Thanks for stopping by and feel free to comment below. See you back here tomorrow!