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Thread: Help with writing a synopsis?

  1. #1
    Saturnine Saturnine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Northern New Jersey

    Help with writing a synopsis?

    I tried to search old threads for this, but so many results came up that didn't answer my question, I figured it might be easier to start a new thread... I apologize if this has been answered before!

    I recently submitted a full ms to an agent, and she sent me a follow up email today saying she's about halfway through it, but she would like a full synopsis of the novel. I've never written a synopsis for fiction (only just the two-paragraph blurb that might go on the back of a book) and I obviously don't want to do it wrong since it's for an agent.

    Is there a format? Any pointers anyone could give me? Do you give the ending away in a synopsis? I can pop out fiction at a dizzying pace, but when it comes to writing things like summaries or query letters and the like, I'm really awful....

  2. #2
    Opinionated suki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Hi Saturnine. Welcome to AW.

    Go to Query Letter Hell in Share Your Work - password is vista (I think - if not, it's likely printed right under the place where you enter the password on the gateway screen).

    There you will find resources on writing a synopsis and threads where people have posted their own synopsis for critique. You can't start your own thread for critique until you have 50 posts, but you can learn by reading the resources and reading the critiques. And if maybe even offering some critique of your own, while on your way to 50 posts.

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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    May 2011

    A synopsis covers your story from beginning to end, so yes, you give away the ending. The synopsis is for the agent to know that you can plot, there aren't any (or too many) loose ends or massive plot holes, there's a story arc, a character arc, etc.

    However, how in depth the synopsis gets into subplots and nuances will depend on its length. Check the agent's guidelines to see if there's a specific length, or any other specific requirements. If not, I usually go for 2 pages singled spaced, or 3-5 pages double spaced.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW emccabe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Montana, U.S.A
    I found this page helpful.

    I do not know if it is sound advice but it dose give you somewhere to start.

  5. #5
    ... DanielaTorre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    GuruLord posted a helpful link on synopsis last year. It takes Star Wars as an example and it is probably the best tutorial on synopsis I've ever seen. Very simple too. Help me a ton.

  6. #6
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Lost in space. And meaning.
    There's a step by step on synopsis writing in the SYW forum, but I'm having trouble remembering exactly where it is (or I'd link it). I'd definitely poke around in that forum, though, as there are a lot of threads and some good advice there.
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  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW ucf612's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by DanielaTorre View Post
    GuruLord posted a helpful link on synopsis last year. It takes Star Wars as an example and it is probably the best tutorial on synopsis I've ever seen. Very simple too. Help me a ton.
    I was just about to post this same one. I haven't used it yet because I'm not to that stage but I thought it was great info.
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