Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Writer's Wednesday: Nailing Your Synopsis

I know we've talked about tips for writing a query, and the outline of a synopsis here at Oasis For YA, but I wanted to delve a little further into my personal tips for nailing a synopsis. Now, by no means am I an expert, but I've done several synopsis critiques ... and of course have written a few myself :)

Writing a synopsis is daunting and overwhelming to most people. How do you possible condense your monstrous project into a page? Or five pages? Hopefully these tips will help.

In no particular order ...

  • Your synopsis should be written in third person, present tense ... irregardless of how you actually wrote your novel.
  • The first time you mention a character, BOLD their name.
  • Begin with your hook!
  • You want to hit all of your major plot points, climax, and reveal the ending in your synopsis.
  • Synopses should be tight. Make every word count.
  • Include active verbs, not passive ones.
  • Stick to the essentials, side plots aren't necessary in the synopsis.
  • Along with the above point, stick with your main characters. Supporting characters aren't necessary to include, and just serve to confuse the synopsis reader.
  • When you're done, reread and revise, and then do it again. Get someone to critique your synopsis. It's an important part of your submission process.
  • If your synopsis is less than a page, it should be single-spaced. More than a page, it should be double-spaced. Yes, I realize there is a gray area where if you double space a single-spaced page - it will bounce to two pages anyway! But, go with your gut on this one.

Of course, this applies mostly to the short synopsis (less than five pages). A longer chapter synopses (usually included as part of a proposal) will include more characters and depth.

Good luck and feel free to share your synopsis tips below!

1 comment:

Breaths that matter...

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