Writing a Synopsis

A synopsis is a selling tool. Your audience is agents and editors who have limited time to spend on any new work of fiction. Convince them to make time for you! More often than not, the well-crafted synopsis will be the difference between getting a routine rejection letter and getting your first three chapters read. Spend more time writing and revising your synopsis than you did with any individual chapter.

The content of your synopsis should establish the unique voice of your novel. Simply abbreviating your story will not excite a reader. Begin your synopsis with your hook--what makes your work commercial? Identify your characters and theme. What is the setting of your story? What is motivating your characters? What do the protagonists and antagonists have to lose? What are the essential conflicts within your story? How do the characters grow emotionally and spiritually? Establish a clear resolution.

A synopsis can be effectively presented in 1 to 10 pages. Briefer is better. Double-space your work with 1 1/2" margins. In the upper left-hand margin, list your last name/ partial title. In the upper right hand margin, list the consecutive page numbers of your synopsis. Include a title page with your name, the complete title of your work, your home address, phone number, and email address.