No one likes to write a synopsis, but, alas, it must be done. I will admit that I am not particularly good at it. But as with anything in writing, the more you do it the better you become. Well, we hope, at least.
I belong to a yahoo loop with over 100 published authors writing for the same house and we were discussing this very topic over the past week. I was amazed at how differently everyone goes about the synopsis. Some authors admitted they tend to be vague and try to keep it short. Others said they wrote synopses that were often over 20 pages long.
I fall somewhere in between those two extremes. I don’t know where I heard this but someone somewhere in the writing world once said to “write one page of synopsis for every 10,000 words of manuscript.” I find this to be a great rule of thumb. To those pages I like to add a character sketch for the hero and heroine. I think this is great for the editor to check out the motivations for the characters actions and emotions, even though most of the information will not appear in the actual novel. I like time-lines too, but I have never turned those in to my editor.
Diana Cosby, an author friend, says that one of the most important jobs of the synopsis is to show the emotional growth of the characters. I think as new writers we sometimes forget to develop this part of the summary, because we are so focused on the action plot points. But really, the characters’ emotions are what drive our stories and make them unforgettable.
If you want more tips from a great teacher, try this link.
And below, please share your own synopsis writing tips. Why do you love or hate them?