How to Write a Synopsis (Sorta)

Photo credit: jazbeck on Flickr
  1. Realize you can no longer put off writing your synopsis. 
  2. Open up a Word doc. 
  3. Write “[INSERT TITLE] Synopsis” at the top. 
  4. Center it. 
  5. Change the formatting of the post to Times New Roman, point 12 font. 
  6. Tap your fingers on your desk. 
  7. Compose a tweet about how much you hate synopsis writing. 
  8. Feel validated by the groanings of fellow writers agreeing with you. 
  9. Go back to your synopsis.
  10. Copy and paste the first two paragraphs of your back cover copy summary—just for inspiration!
  11. Rewrite a single sentence.
  12. Open up the book document and scroll through the scenes to jog your memory.
  13. Go back to your synopsis.
  14. Write a few sentences.
  15. Delete a few sentences.
  16. Compose an e-mail to your agent or CPs, debating whether or not a synopsis is really necessary.
  17. Delete the e-mail.
  18. Grovel at your desk.
  19. Go get a snack. You’ve worked hard. It’s lunch time.
  20. Back to the synopsis.
  21. Write a blog post about how to sorta write a synopsis.
  22. Pound it out, one sentence at a time, until you finally—finally!—get into the zone.
  23. Eventually get to the end.
  24. Cry tears of joy.
  25. Then weep tears of despair—because your synopsis is three pages too long.
  26. Agonize over condensing your synopsis until it fits on two to three pages.
  27. Agonize more over creating a one page version.
  28. Send it to critique partners who have read the book and pray they don’t suggest changes.
  29. They suggest changes.
  30. Make said changes, declare it COMPLETE and vow never to write another synopsis again. You know. Until the next book.

And for some real advice, check out this ridiculously amazing synopsis post from Susan Dennard that I basically go to every time I need to write a synopsis.

What tips do you have for synopsis writing?

Twitter-sized bite:
Writer @Ava_Jae shares how to write a synopsis in thirty steps. Kind of. (Click to tweet)


MK said...

I couldn't do it. When I queried, I only queried agents who didn't require synopsises (synopsi?). The plot of my first novel was just too complicated! The next time around though, I'm going to attempt to suck it up and do it. Thanks for the link, that looks super-helpful!

Sam Taylor said...

31. Realize several days/weeks later that your synopsis needs more revision.

32. Sob.

33. Repeat steps 1-30.

34. Repeat steps 31-33.

35. Muwahahahahahaha.

Ava Jae said...

You're welcome! That link helps me so much. And I totally get the desire to skip this step entirely lol...but it's often needed after querying so... *sigh*

Ava Jae said...

This! ha ha ha

Jess Harvey said...

THIS. All of it. But especially: "Then weep tears of despair—because your synopsis is three pages too long." And then steps 26-30. Every single time. Thanks for this laugh, I needed it today and it made my night. Awesome post as always, Ava!

Alyssa said...

Love this! I always tell myself I'll write a synopsis as part of my revision process to lessen future pain, but I never manage to get past thinking about doing so. Queries can sometimes be fun. Synopses cannot. *weeps and collects tears for a spell that assists in synopsis writing, maybe*

VictoriaGrace Howell said...

Lol. XD Been there! It's such an agonizing process.

Jen Donohue said...

totally legit.

(I didn't write a synopsis for the novel I'm querying 'til I got a full request from an agent who wanted a synopsis along with it. still waiting on the full. afraid to revisit synopsis.)

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