So tonight is the night I have put aside to do something I have dreaded for a very, very, very long time. I am working on my novel’s synopsis and boy is it really hard. You would think after writing 100K or so words that a few pages should be easy but it is not.
The advice I have found from published authors or bloggers in the know, seems to be that the synopsis should include the plot, the characters, the themes etc. It should not be a blow by blow account of the novel but should share the same voice and tone of the novel. It needs to do everything the novel does but in a shorter form. It needs to flow.
The second bit of advice I found was to write it like the blurbs on the back covers of books. I tried this and found myself sounding so radio announcerish. I will have to tone that down a bit without losing the enthusiasm for the piece.
The third bit of advice said write it in the present tense and third person. Third person is easy but the novel is written in past tense as it is set in the past so writing the synopsis in past tense seems so natural. I will listen to the experts on this one so present tense it is.
One bit of advice said to write it from your outline. Oops, I use my outline as I write and the novel gobbles it as I go along. Seat of your pantsers wouldn’t have this anyway. I did go back through each chapter and make a note of what happens in each one, who is involved and the overall feel for that chapter. I am using this as a rough guide for writing the synopsis now.
The last bit of advice and the one I found the most conflicting opinions over was the correct length of a synopsis. I have seen everything from one page to fifteen pages advised. There is even a formula I came across that said one page of synopsis for every twenty five pages of novel. By my current novel’s stats that means I should have roughly a nine or ten page synopsis. I think on this one I will just have to sort the length out by how much telling I think the story needs to get the general feel and idea across in the synopsis.
So that folks is how I am spending my Friday night. I hope yours is more exciting. I will welcome any advice or anecdotes on synopsis writing if you have them.
- Writing a Synopsis (writermummy.wordpress.com)
- The Importance of Synopsizing (thewriterblocked.wordpress.com)
- Surprised by Synopsis (kristinastanley.net)
- The Synopsis: Nemesis or Unexpected Helper? (mqallen.com)