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Characteristics of a Good Synopsis

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Characteristics of a Good Synopsis

Postby eleika » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:32 pm

So I've looked everywhere ... and I haven't found a good, clear description of what a synopsis should be or how it should be written. I am currently preparing my submission to Tor, and I'd frankly like to know how I could sell my story best.

What tips do y'all have? Can you recommend any good books? I work in a library and so far I haven't found any.
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Postby The Master » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:48 am

One author's take: http://www.eclectics.com/articles/synopsis.html

Here's another...the author touches on Romance Novels in particular, so if you need help determining major points to cover in your genre novel maybe that would be a good discussion for the forum:
http://www.authorsofromance.com/articles/synopsis.htm

One more:
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/erozycki/synopsis.html

I think a key here theme is to be sure you present things very clearly without embellishment. Remember that you are trying to tell the editor EXACTLY what your story is about from beginning to end. Keep the fluff factor and colorful descriptions very low and stick to simple statements about the important events of the book so they can see how it develops. You do want it to make the editor see how your story will appeal to their target market, but if it sounds like "teaser text" you've done it wrong.

I hope that helps.
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Postby Mikira » Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:14 am

Thanks...I feel your advice and help pulling together some good websites to read on this very important step to getting published is wonderful.
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Postby Bibsy » Sat Sep 16, 2006 2:02 pm

Another couple websites that get into writing a synopsis:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/novels/dreaded_synopsis.htm
http://www.sfwa.org/writing/OP71.htm
http://www.writing-world.com/publish/synopsis.shtml

When I was researching how to write a synopsis, one thing I found was that no one seems to agree on how to format one--font, double or single spaced, page length if one isn't specified, etc. So frustrating.

Content-wise, though, the consensus seems to be write it in present tense, don't hold back important details for the sake of "teasing" an editor into wanting to read more (especially the ending), and unless the editor/agent/whoever wants a 10-page synospis, keep it short and avoid getting into subplots. Basically, stick to only naming your main characters--too many names in a short synopsis can add more confusion than necessary.

Hope that helps!
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