The Synopsis: I’m Supposed to Dread It?

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about a book on this blog, but since I know a lot of my friends are fellow writers I wanted to mention this great resource I found.

Supposedly, every writer hates writing a synopsis.  I wasn’t sure what was so horrible about the synopsis.  After all, the only difference between what agents want in a synopsis is the length.  Some want one page.  Others two pages.  A few want longer.

But the all want a synopsis that is formatted primarily the same way.  Name, title of the novel, word count at the top.  If it is a one page synopsis it should just be singled-spaced.  Two pages or more should be doubled spaced.  All right!  Agreement of what everyone wants.  Wonderful, if you ask me.

But, what exactly is a synopsis?  Is it just a glorified book report?  And why does everyone dread or even hate the synopsis?  Enter THE DREADED SYNOPSIS by Elizabeth Sinclair.  She takes writers on a step by step journey on how to write the synopsis and even gives the writer assignments at the of every chapter.

I’d give you a chapter by chapter rundown on THE DREADED SYNOPSIS, but then you wouldn’t have a reason to buy Ms. Sinclair’s book. So, let me give you an overview.  Ms. Sinclair starts with the part I needed the most.  The format.  She moves on to steps I had figured out myself.  I really needed an expert’s reassurance.

Ms. Sinclair gives worksheets that help the writer (me) figure out what specifics about the book needs to go in to the synopsis.  I had already kinda figured out how the whole synopsis worked, just not all the little quirks.

The synopsis focuses on the main plot of the book and the Main Characters.  Forget the subplots twists and turns.  Forget about the secondary characters unless you need them.  Include the who and what.  Alexandria Houston wants a Forever Home and love, but finds it is far from perfect.

Include the following points: What? Why? Why not? Tone.  Setting.  Character Growth.  Pivotal Scenes.  Climax.  Settled Ending.  Ms. Sinclair walks the reader of her book through each individual piece of the synopsis.  Then she shows you how to weave it together in to a short story about that 80,000+ word novel.  Now, you have a synopsis to show to agents and publishers.

So, what is a synopsis?  It is kinda like a glorified book report, but so much more.  Every department in the publishing house will use the synopsis.  That makes it a go-to source for everyone working on the book.  It helps editors and agents know exactly what the book is about.  Most publishing houses will use the synopsis to write the blurp for the back of the book.

And, no, it isn’t like a query letter.  Once you land an agent you will be stuck writing a synopsis for the rest of your writing career.  In fact, the longer you’re an author the more publishers rely solely on the synopsis and not the actual novel.  (Heck, they already know your writing style.)  Better get used to writing that synopsis.  Go buy THE DREADED SYNOPSIS by Elizabeth Sinclair today.

Oh, and to follow FTC rules, no I wasn’t paid to write this review.  Nor did I get anything (like a free book) to write this review.  I bought the book myself, and told no one connected to this book that I wrote a review.  Totally my opinion, government guys and gals.



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