S … is for synopsis

S[1] is for synopsis. In terms of writing, it is also for sex, suspense, style, senses, strength, support, spelling and of course story. In this post I’ll concentrate on synopsis, because I think it would be easy to write a post on each of the others too.

What is a synopsis?

It’s a brief summary, usually of a novel.

Are there any guidelines for writing a synopsis?

Yes, there are several, and I’ll list them here as best I can, but as I suggested in my post on resources, double-check out the topic elsewhere. What I aim to do here is give the novice, or unsuspecting novel writer an insight into a word that strikes terror into the heart of many writers.

1. It should be written in a similar style to your book: humorous, serious, or whatever.

2. It should be written in the third person point of view. i.e.: he, she, they. Not; I.

3. It should be written in the present tense.

i.e. ‘Karen is embarking on a voyage of sexual discovery.’

   Not, ‘Karen was embarking on a voyage of sexual discovery’,

   Not, ‘Karen will embark on a voyage of sexual discovery’.

4. It should introduce your main characters and their conflicts, but should not be a cast list.

5. It should give a clear idea of the plot: serial killer, kidnapper, sexual predator, etc.

6. It should flow logically so is easily understood by the recipient, (publisher, agent, editor).

7. It must show the conclusion to the story. No secrets, and no cliff-hangers. You cannot be ‘precious’ about the ending – it must be clear.

Is there a format for a synopsis?

Yes, wouldn’t you just know it. Unless advised to do it differently, a basic layout is formed in the top left corner of the first page. Single or double-spacing depends on the requirements of your recipient, and the length of the synopsis.

Synopsis of: Beyond The Law

Genre: Thriller

Word Count: 150,000

By: Tom Benson

Once again, I’ve tried to give a taste of what is a deep and detailed topic. The list I’ve given is not all-encompassing, but I hope for some of you guys at least, it has dispelled one of the myths surrounding the synopsis – like it is easy to write. lol

Thank you for reading, and I’ll be back tomorrow with ‘T’.

 

 

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