Sunday, August 1, 2010

WRITING A SYNOPSIS OF YOUR NOVEL

SYNOPSIS


Please note that most of my articles in this blog will be original, but for the query letter and synopsis, I’m reproducing or paraphrasing articles from published, reliable sources.

A GOOD SYNOPSIS WILL:

• Be double-spaced, to allow editing in the margins and between lines.

• Be written in present tense, to create a sense of immediacy

• Be more like a book review than a book report.

• Capture the tone of the book (i.e., the synopsis for a humorous book should have a lighthearted approach).

• Be based on a completed manuscript.

• Be written so its parts are roughly in proportion to the book (don’t spend the first half of the synopsis on the first chapter or two of the book.

• Tell the story in a logical way, not necessarily in the order the information is presented in the book.

• Briefly describe the important characteristics of the hero and/or heroine.

• Show the main action sequences, to allow the editor to judge whether the story is logical and believable and whether the plot is realistic and well-organized.

• Show how the conflict is resolved.

• Tell the ending and show how it is brought about.

A GOOD SYNOPSIS WILL NOT:

• Waste words (“The story starts out with…”)

• Include adverbs, clichés, internal monologue, dialogue or scenic descriptions.

• Comment about how humorous, mysterious, suspenseful, etc., the story is (let the editor be the judge).

• Leave the ending a mystery (“And to find out what happened, you’ll have to read the book!”)

- Taken from On Writing Romance, by Leigh Michaels, p. 236



MORE INFO ON WRITING THE SYNOPSIS:

FORMATTING:

• Standard font, 12-point, 1-inch margins on all sides

• Justify the left margin only

• Double-spaced, unless your synopsis is limited to one or two pages, then single-spaced is fine.


OTHER DOS AND DON’TS from Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript, by Chuck Sambuchino and the Editors of Writer’s Digest Books (p. 141)

• Do keep in mind that this is a sales pitch. Make it a short, fast, exciting read.

• Do establish a hook at the beginning of the synopsis. Introduce your lead character and set up a key conflict.

• Do introduce your most important character first.

• Do provide details about your central character […].

• Do include the characters’ motivations and emotions.

• Do highlight pivotal plot points and reveal the story’s ending.

• Don’t go into detail about what happens; just tell what happens.

• Don’t inject long sections of dialogue into your synopsis.

• Do write in the third person, present tense, even if your novel is in the first person.

Information compiled by Jodie Renner, http://www.jodierennerediting.com/, August 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget