View Full Version : Synopsis

12-17-2013, 07:12 PM
This doesn't seem to be a universal request but from my research many want a synopsis included with the cover letter and novel excerpt. I have been trying to figure out how to write the synopsis without it coming off as terrible. Condensing 350 pages to under a thousand words is difficult to do and still make the plot sound interesting.

Are agents looking for the synopsis to sell the book or is supposed to just communicate that the book has a defined path?

12-17-2013, 07:20 PM
Visit Query Letter Hell (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=174) (password: vista) There are a few synopses there that you can study, as well as a How To Write a Synopsis sticky I think. When you get your post count up to 50, you can post your own synopses and have the squirrels critique it.

12-17-2013, 07:53 PM
This is more or less how Don Maass advised writing a synopsis, from a workshop I attended. Boil the story down to the following:

Introduction of setting, main character(s) and main conflict.
The inciting incident.
Two to three major turning points in the story.
The climax and resolution.

Do this for the external conflict (the One Ring must be destroyed) and for the internal conflict (Frodo loses himself to the power of the Ring). Make sure to show what is at stake for both conflicts.

Don't include sub-plots unless the specified length for the synopsis is generous enough that there's room to include one or two.

Finally, the synopsis does not have to relate story events in the same order in which they unfold in the actual story. It's OK to compress and rearrange events in order for the synopsis to both make sense and stay concise.

12-17-2013, 08:01 PM
Thanks everyone for the help! That seems much more doable than what I was working on.