Stupid Synopsis Part 1

Before we get started, I want to remind you that today is your last chance to enter the Hollow Blog Hop for your chance to win a 30 page critique, a query critique or a synopsis critique. Getting agent feedback before you query is priceless so don't miss this opportunity. Click on the big pumpkin over there. ----->

Now let's talk about the synopsis.

I have to say, that as hateful as these buggers are, they are immeasurably helpful when evaluating a query. A well written query illustrates a writer's ability to plot their story and create a satisfying ending. A synopsis shows you know how to boil down your story to it's core elements.

And if that doesn't sell you on why you need a good one, keep in mind that if you're writing a series, publishers will want to see one for your future books so they can decide if they want to buy more than one. A girl can dream right?

So what is a synopsis? According to Merriam-Webster:

Definition of SYNOPSIS: a condensed statement or outline (as of a narrative or treatise)

Examples of SYNOPSIS: I don't need to know every little plot twist; just give me a synopsis of the movie.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

When writing your synopsis there are a few things to keep in mind:
* Do not start your synopsis with As our story begins, On page one, or At the beginning of the novel. Your novel will need to establish normal before blowing everything up for your main character. All of this normal should be condensed into a single sentence immediately followed by the big hiccup set to change everything.
* Do not name every character in your novel. In fact, you should probably mention less than half of them. The more secondary characters you bring to light the more secondary plot you're including. Bad ideas on both account. Include your main character, a minimum of secondary characters that directly impact the main plot line and the Antagonist.
*  Do not be vague. The line The main character X encounters many set backs on her journey to finding Y may work for back cover copy, but has no place in your synopsis. Clearly identify the main obstacles in the way of the core plot and how your protagonist overcomes them.

* Do give away the end. This feels counter-intuitive, like telling someone the ending of a movie they want to see this weekend. However, this is a key component of the synopsis. Without it, an agent will be left to wonder if you know how to end a book. 

* Do exclude anything not related to the main plot line. This is maybe the hardest rule to follow. You've written a fully fleshed novel with tons of great twists, turns and intricacies. It's natural that you want to let an interested agent know about you brilliance. But don't do this in the synopsis. It's just not possible to fully explain all that's going on in your novel in a 1-2 page synopsis. Any attempt to do so is going to result in a jumbled mess of Huh? Stick to the key conflicts and let your work speak for itself.

Now that you know my "rules" for writing a synopsis, come back on Friday and I'll share my secret tips for how to write your synopsis in five easy steps.

Synopsis Part 2