Now I’ve never really paid this subject much attention, my sole focus being completing my novel. But as all around me people are getting ready to submit to agents, I thought that it was time to look at some quick tips around creating an effective synopsis.
1) Firstly its a roadmap:
Keep a holistic view. The big picture and don’t get bogged down with tiny details. An editor or agent will read your writing and read your story to see where the journey takes them – the synopsis is like a road map in case they need a shortcut!
2) Be catchy:
Are there cultural references that will help us understand what the themes of your book are or the tone of your voice? And don’t be scared to be different.
It’s Great Expectations meets Mad Men – or it’s The Wire set in Walsall…
3) Summarise :
Think about it as a book you’ve read. When you pass a book to a friend you say, you must read this because the ending will make you cry. Or I know you’ll love this because you like banter and people who play the guitar.
4) Try it out verbally first.
How are you describing your book to your family, friends, writing buddies?
5) KISS -Keep it short and sweet:
Two pages – MAX! Focus on character and turning points – whether that be emotional turning points or plot ones.
6)Try different things:
If you’re talking a lot about characters then write brief character sketches and then outline the plot. Put in pictures or split it into parts.Think about your title, synopsis and story all working as one:- make the most impact.
Image from Claire-king.com
Imagine this scenario. …an agent or editor has just come back from a holiday and has a stack of papers in front of them. The last thing they want to do is dig through the paper work for a gem. Your synopsis needs to show your concept succinctly and be engaging or you risk being missing out at the first hurdle.
Well that’s my brief look at writing a synopsis. Looks like I’d best go and write one now. Maybe I’ll post it on here for people to have a look at once I’m finished. Happy writing.
Neil Sehmbhy is an author from a town that calls itself a city (‘It ain’t a Cathedral honest guv). Author of the forthcoming Corporation, Sunder and Jinx novels you can follow him on @NeilSehmbhy