View Full Version : Fantasy Synopsis

08-04-2014, 10:41 PM
I'm revising, to have it, but no real pressure as of yet since most agents don't want one....just a query + first 5/first 10/first 50. Apologies if what I'm looking for is already present, I did a forum search for "fantasy synopsis" and got nothing relevant in return.

One thing would be more helpful than anything else in this process. Examples of Epic Fantasy synopses. Even synopses for well-known, done works like Wheel of Time Bk 1, Malazan Bk 1, Game of Thrones Bk 1, and so on.

I can find plenty of examples through the use of Google Fu, but the majority of returns are for two things: YA and romance. Not so helpful when trying to check my work on an epic fantasy synopsis.

08-05-2014, 12:00 AM
An example of a (very short) synopsis would be the following for the seven Harry Potter books:

Harry Potter finds out he's a wizard, goes to Hogwarts School of Wizardry, and defeats the evil Lord Voldemort.

"A synopsis is a brief summary of the major points of a subject or written work or story, either as prose or as a table; an abridgment or condensation of a work." [Source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synopsis)]

If it makes it easier for you try to make your synopsis what you would want a film/TV version of the book to contain if you had a meeting with a film/TV producer. And keep it to the length asked for by agent/publisher.

08-05-2014, 12:28 AM
There is some discussion of writing a synopsis in Query Letter Hell in the SYW section of the forums. That's also where synopses are posted for critiques. You might find something helpful there.

08-05-2014, 02:04 AM
The old standby for creating an encapsulation of your story is this formula:

This story is about a _________ who must___________in order to_________.

A synopsis is just a fleshing out of this formula. All you really need to do is answer the basic story questions--who is the hero? What is the driving conflict? How does the hero go about tackling the conflict? Who or what is in hero's way trying to stop him/her? How does it all turn out? And how is the hero changed by it all? You can answer these questions with a few sentences or a few pages. Ideally you want to be as brief as possible.

Synopsis writing is a skill all its own, so dont feel bad if it requires a few tries to get one youre happy with.

08-05-2014, 02:15 AM
Hello, fellow Portlander!

You'll need a very short synopsis for your query letter at the very least, but I've found it helpful to write synopses of a couple lengths because those who do want a synopsis tend to ask for a very specific length, so if you've got a few you're happy with you can take those and adjust them into what has specifically been asked for. Separate from the query summary, I've found one to two pages to be the length asked for the most.

Consider the teaser type info on covers for capturing interest. Mostly agents are looking to see that you have a solid plot skeleton all the way through that shows your twists and turns, and ideally captures mood as well. You'll want to include all the primary characters and their motivations. I recently received a rejection with the comment that the agent didn't find the motivation of my villain, which was revealed within a single sentence in the summary--it was a twist, so the genuine motive came out at the end--strong enough to read more pages. *sigh*

08-05-2014, 07:54 PM
That's why I was looking for examples of how guys like Robert Jordan and such might have done just that. To see an active example of what was included, how it was included, and what was deemed not synopsis worthy....for books I've read more than once, for the plots of books I know well. Ah well, it was worth asking.

I do like the synopses of multiple length thing. Found that here, with full examples for a story many of us know well. http://www.annemini.com/?p=12929

08-05-2014, 08:26 PM
I think the easiest way to find examples is to just search on book titles on wikipedia. You'll find one for The Eye of the World (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eye_of_the_World#Plot_summary) there for instance.

As far as I know there is no resource for synopsises used by authors to get their books published.

If you were to write a synopsis for me personally, I'd want you to give a brief overview of the important events of the book. Or to put it another way, I'd want a synopsis that meant I could sound like I had actually read the book when talking about it if I had only read the synopsis.

08-06-2014, 06:56 AM
I start by writing one or two sentences to sum up each chapter. That becomes my long synopsis. Then I condense that to one or two pages.