Douglas L Perry, The Author blog

July 16, 2009

Writing a Synopsis

Filed under: Books,Writing — douglaslperry @ 6:17 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

There’s a first time for everything, and it’s my turn at writing a synopsis. This is actually a good thing. It means that an agent is interested in seeing more. It means that I somehow got their attention. It doesn’t mean things will go any further, but that’s the next hurdle. 

Writing a synopsis is actually a lot harder than I thought. It’s like a query letter in that it has it’s own unique style. It’s basically another hurdle that a writer has to jump over on the way to publication. It might seem contrived, but agents use this for two reasons. 

  1. To get an overview of the manuscript, to see if they like the story
  2. To see if the writer can write one – similar to the check to see if the writer can create a good query. If you can’t write a query how can you be a writer? If you can’t write a synopsis, how can you be a good writer? Yes, it seems contrived, but it’s one more check to see if you are really ready to be a professional writer. 

I talked to an agent at Thrillerfest and picked his brain on the style of a synopsis. It turns out it’s just like back cover copy of a book, with one big difference. The back cover copy is meant to be a teaser, relaying just enough information to get the reader excited enough about a story, so that they want to read more. 

The synopsis is in the same style as the back cover copy, present tense, presenting a flavor of the story, but also includes the main plot, subplot, main characters, plot twists, and the ending. That is the hard part, taking a 400 page story and condensing it down to two pages without sounding silly. Even some of the most famous works when condensed to a few sentences, sound silly. 

I would love to put up the finished product when it’s done, but I don’t want to ruin the story for you, when it gets published.

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1 Comment »

  1. After taking Bob Mayer’s class, synopses are easier to write. I think you’re right on the money with this.

    Comment by jasonamyers — August 10, 2009 @ 6:38 pm


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