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!