Last writer’s meeting, we tackled the synopsis, and the topic led to what exactly a synopsis entailed Some might argue that it is the ‘book blurb’ you find at the back of a book (or the book flap), but most in the business understand the synopsis entails a bit more.
A blurb focuses on getting a reader to read the book. It should short, sweet, to the point, but also hook the reader into wanting more. It is written in present tense, and you don’t give away the end or any twists or turns of the plot.
A synopsis serves the purpose of appealing to agents and publishers. It includes the entire plot, but sums up only the key points of the novel. You should include main characters, the ‘hook’, and how you will end the story. This is written in present tense, and is often added to the first chapter (or more) to submit for publication.
It could be argued that self-published authors don’t need to bother with writing a synopsis, but I disagree. It makes good practice to write out the plot for reference, as well as a good habit in case you ever wish to publish with the brock-and-mortar publishing company.
I’ve started to keep synopsis of even short stories so the plots gets laid out and used for future reference. Novels offer more challenge, but think of it as a challenge to be succinct and strip the plot of only the essential points.
- Main character
- Hook (the element that draws the reader into the story)
- Obstacles/Inciting scenes