The hustle doesn’t seem to end there, does it? As it turned out, you’re now asked to produce a novel synopsis. But… What is a book synopsis, and why do you need it?
There’s a reason why you won’t see many authors online talking about writing a book synopsis with the same zest as when discussing writing a book. After all, book writing is a creative process. Writers take pleasure in sitting down and typing out their ideas, and more adventurous ones even enjoy the process of editing.
Sadly, a book synopsis isn’t loved in the world of literature quite as much as the rest of the common publications. Why? Because it’s seen as quite a dry overview of the book, where the writer doesn’t have much space and opportunity to show off their style and which can pretty well reveal any flaws in the structure or plot of the book.
Why Do You Need a Novel Synopsis?
The great thing about writing a synopsis is that you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to! The Urban Writers offers various writing packages and synopsis writer services in the majority of niches and genres to take the load off of you. The Urban Writers can help you out by offering different writing packages and synopsis writer services in a wide range of niches and types of writing.
But, before you decide that you hate writing novel synopsis, let’s take a good look at what a synopsis is, how it’s written, and what information about your book it should contain.
A book synopsis, as mentioned earlier, is a concise overview of your book’s idea, structure, and plot.
Don’t confuse a synopsis with a book description or a book blurb, though, because they have completely different structures and purposes.
Unlike a description or a blurb, a synopsis doesn’t reflect the book’s unique style and voice. It’s not meant to tease the reader and make them want to get the book. Instead, a synopsis is a complete overview of “what the book is about.” Revealing the entire plot and characters in a blurb would be a major no-no because it would take the thrill and mystery away from the reading experience.
The reason a novel synopsis is said to be so “dry” is because it’s written for publishing houses and literary agents. As such, it serves to give a complete overview of the book so that those who are meant to publish it understand what it’s about before they start reading.
Instead of teasing the reader by showing the book’s hook and main conflict, a synopsis covers the entire narrative arc.
A synopsis starts from the beginning of your book, and overviews the entire story to the end, revealing it to the reader. That’s how the entire narrative arc is transparent to the publisher, showing the entire course of the story, plot twists, character changes, etc.
There’s no hard rule for when you might be asked to send a synopsis. Some publishers ask for it right along with your pitch, and others might ask for it later in the reviewing and publishing process. Either way, keeping the synopsis in mind and writing one beforehand is the smarter way to go about your publishing efforts.
Reveal Narrative Arc and Plot Twists? That's Gotta Hurt
Now, how does one write a synopsis successfully?
Writing a good novel synopsis includes following these few simple rules:
#1: Know the Difference Between a Synopsis and a Book Description or Book Blurb
A good synopsis writer understands the key difference between a synopsis and descriptions or blurbs. They don’t try to intrigue or entice, but instead identify the key elements of the plot, the main characters, stories, and events, and put them down in a concise one-page document that gives an even overview of the book.
#2: Use a Professional Tone
The tone of the synopsis is, unfortunately, flat. It shouldn't be necessary to attempt to translate any of the actual magic from the book into it, since that isn’t the main purpose of synopsis writing. Remember, it is a document written for industry professionals, not your readers.
It should be a realistic representation of the book that will help the agent decide if they want to read the entire piece or give you a chance to make improvements before they decide it’s not worthwhile.
That means you need to write it well, regardless.
It can help increase your chances of getting your book picked up by a publisher. Poorly written synopses, on the other hand, can ruin your publishing gig even if you have the best book out there.
#3: Write a Short Synopsis
Unless asked to do otherwise, write approximately 500–1000 words. Your synopsis should fit on a single page. Authors who try to 'sell' their manuscript by writing an overly long synopsis are usually rejected by publishers.
However, keep in mind that each publishing house has their own synopsis writing guidelines, and they may ask you to write a two-page synopsis instead of the standard one-page synopsis. In any case, the best way to know what kind of a synopsis to write is to simply ask. Look at the publisher’s website and see if they shared any requirements for synopsis writing, or drop your agent an email to clear out any confusion regarding your task.
#4: Follow the Industry Standards for Writing a Synopsis Format
Although most publishers prefer a single-page synopsis, the standard length for one is actually between 500 and 1000 words. Your synopsis should be single-spaced, no matter the the length of the content.
#5: Start From the Protagonist and Move Along the Plot
You should write your synopsis in third person and present tense, starting with the protagonist. The synopsis should give a glimpse into their perspective of the story, their situations, and the inciting incident that triggers the plot. It is critically important that you provide a solid overview of what drives your character.
Once you’ve set a solid foundation that answers the question of 'Why' the character does what they do, you can proceed to tell the story in the same order as it is told in the book. Keep a sharp focus on the effects that character’s actions create, which will give the agent a clear idea of the book’s scenery and the ways in which each of the characters' actions affect the plot.
The synopsis, in this sense, should paint the brief picture of how your story unfolds from the main protagonist’s point of view.
#6 Display Changes
While going over the plot, describe what changes occur as a result of the character’s actions. While you don’t have to include every scene, you should emphasize the major scenes in the book. However, don’t write many irrelevant details. Instead, focus on the big picture.
You should also skip over any subplots that aren’t too essential to the main plot. In other words, reveal as much of your plot as you can to give a clear overview of the story’s most important moments.
#7: Reveal the End
Don’t forget to explain the ending! Write how a situation or a problem is resolved and what the situation looks like from the protagonist’s point of view.
As you can see, there’s not too much work around a book synopsis. However, writing can prove to be challenging in many ways.
Perhaps you’re already exhausted from writing an entire book, and you’re not sure if you have enough energy to carry out yet another document.
Also, you might find it hard to simplify your story to the necessary degree. After all, you’ve spent months to a year thinking about fine details, character shades, subplots, and building the writing scenery. Suddenly, you’re supposed to explain your entire novel within two pages. That can be hard, and could have detrimental consequences to your publishing efforts.
Synopsis Writing Dos and Don'ts
No matter the type of novel synopsis you're writing, it's easy to forget the rules that apply. Let's lay out some of the common dos and dont's of synopsis writing:
Follow Submission Guidelines
Keep a short list of novel synopsis structures to follow, including the word count, main elements, and guidelines. Following the recommendations given in the above paragraphs ensures that a literary agent gets a good overview of your major plot points and understands your book well.
Write a One-Page Synopsis
Unless specified otherwise by the publisher, your synopsis should be a brief summary of your book. Story advancement must be described within a short possible content length. Revise your synopsis after you finish the first draft, and remove the elements that take the reader's attention away from the main plot point.
Be Concise About the Story Arc, Characters, and Plots
The publishing industry appreciates authors who give a concise, on-point overview of their books. In that sense, a synopsis is quite similar to your cover letter, with one key difference. While the cover letter for your book focuses on the book as a whole, the synopsis is written from the main characters' point of view.
If you're unsure whether to write your synopsis longer or shorter than the recommended industry standards, simply drop your agent or publisher an email! They'll likely be glad you asked, as there are so many authors whose amazing books get rejected for not following the required forms and conventions.
Try to 'Sell' The Book
A synopsis isn't a book proposal. If your publisher reached out to ask for one, it likely means that they're interested in your book. Now, they only need good insight into your characters' actions, character names, characters' feelings, and other relevant plot twists to get a good feel of your book.
To Write an Overly Long Synopsis
Make sure to write a good synopsis that gives as much required information about the main and other characters as possible within the fewest possible words. This will give the agent a reliable preview of your book and increase your chances of a good book deal.
Leave Out Important Information
While you shouldn't describe your plot in too much detail, you also shouldn't forget to include the inciting incident, plot twist, the resolution, and other key elements of a synopsis. The number of plot points that you mention related to your protagonist's journey should then spark particular interest in the book.
Write Irrelevant Details
As an aspiring author, you likely know the importance of providing a unique point of view to whoever is reading your book. While your synopsis should display strong writing skills, keep in mind that the reading experience isn't its main purpose. Upon writing the first draft of your synopsis, check if it gives a good and reliable preview of the story. If you feel like something is missing, you can add more detail to it.
Synopsis Writing FAQ
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Synopsis Writer?
Hiring a synopsis writer shouldn't break your bank, but it will come with many benefits. Most writers charge either a rate based on word count or an hourly rate. At The Urban Writers, you'll pay a pre-set price rate based on the size and type of your book.
What's the Purpose of a Synopsis?
Your synopsis writing serves to ensure literary agents that each of your characters' motivations and actions are realistic and that they fit into the main plot of the book. When looking at a synopsis, a literary agent can learn if there are any inconsistencies, plot holes, or poorly devised endings (e.g., dreams, deus ex machina interventions, and others.)
A synopsis reveals plot holes, character inconsistencies, and other structural issues in the content. It also shows how original your story is.
What Are the Main Synopsis Types?
There are three main types of synopsis:
This form of synopsis is used to present a research paper, and its elements reflect the main structure of each paper. It doesn't have a lot of similarities with average novel synopsis writing, aside from its main purpose.
Although there are many synopsis writers, the format itself is most associated with writing synopsis for fiction, nonfiction, and other books.
This synopsis format is used for different projects. A synopsis writer tasked with it doesn't follow the same writing process as if they were to write a novel synopsis. Instead, they need expertise in project writing so that they're able to identify the most important project points and elements.
Hire a Synopsis Writer With The Urban Writers!
If you’re finding it too hard to write your novel synopsis on your own, why not hire a freelance writer?
Write a good novel synopsis quickly and easily by joining our Platform and choosing the services of our synopsis writers. Our synopsis writers are well-versed in almost any genre and literary form, from science fiction to article writing.
Whether you're writing fiction, nonfiction, or children's books, we have a service for you!
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