Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How to Write a Short Synopsis: Quick Tips

#Wwow - Writer's Words of Wisdom

Finishing a book is not the end. An author who wants to take their book through the traditional publishing route will have to write a synopsis and a query letter. This is a different type of writing and many writers find it difficult. 

Since I  finished writing a one-page synopsis for my newest book, Frequent Flyer, I thought I'd share several online resources I found  helpful, particularly for romance authors.

There are tons of books out there on the topic, as I'm sure you've seen. But who has time to read them? I just jumped right in. 

Fairy bookmother

My Top 10 Words of Advice for Writing a Synopsis:

1) Have a strong opening sentence. Just like in your novel, you want to catch an editor's attention with a hook.

2) Introduce your characters. Don't make it boring... Susy is a 30-something single mom. Blah! Give us some punch to it. Show the editor who the character is. 

3) Include the key components of your novel: hero/heroine, the set up, romantic conflict, character motivation, the black moment and the resolution.

4) In a one-page synopsis, it's impossible to include every detail of your chapters.In fact, I would think editors don't want a summary of each chapter, anyway.  Find a good way to include the essentials (see list above) in a way that will engage the editor. Describe the major plot points, not each scene. The goal is to give a sketch of your entire manuscript, in fewer words.

5) Don't ask questions. Will Amanda discover a renewed love for Jake? This doesn't work. The editor wants the answers, not the question.

6) Stay focused. Don't change POV's and stay in the same verb tense 

7) Don't forget to tell the ending. Editors want to know how the story ends. Don't leave them hanging.

8) Choose your words carefully. When you write your manuscript, you hopefully choose precise words. You want to do the same in the synopsis. 

9) Voice is important. If you write a romantic comedy, then your synopsis should show that. This is the time to give the editor a clue on what type of writer you are... if you're funny, you better show it.

10) Don't stress. Write your synopsis out as if someone asked you to tell them your story. Then go back and see how you can improve. Edit it just like you'd edit your manuscript.

WoW is a Smart & Savvy Group of Authors who host this weekly feature each Wednesday.
While we don't claim to be experts, the goal is to impart what we've learned about 
writing, editing, getting published, book promotion, and more along the way.

Follow along and read all this week's contributors' posts.

You can follow us on twitter at #WWoW.
Or find us on facebook at Words of Wisdom.

Thanks for stopping by,



  1. Great tips! I just wrote a synopsis.

  2. When it was time for me to write the query and the synopsis I had a WTH moment. There was more writing after the writing and I must've bookmarked at least fifty websites for help.Yet, you've summed it up very direct. Thanks! I'll bookmark this as page fifty-one!