Crafting the perfect synopsis

A synopsis is likely to be the first piece of writing that a publisher or agent reads about your project – often, it’s also the last thing they read. Here are some tips for putting together a strong synopsis.

  • Your synopsis IS NOT a sales pitch or the blurb that might be found on the back of a published book.
  • Keep it relatively short – aim for something around 350-500 words.
  • Write it in third-person, present tense, regardless of the tense and point of view that the book is written in.
  • Make sure the first paragraph introduces the reader to when and where the story takes place, the main protagonist and the core conflict in the book.
  • Describe how the protagonist succeeds or fails in the face of that conflict, how the conflict eventually resolves and how the character evolves (or doesn’t) as a result.
  • Avoid a dry step-by-step description of the plot. Try to convey the narrative arc, the emotions and feelings that accompany each main plot event.
  • Avoid unnecessary detail, back story and dialogue.
  • Keep your language sharp, vibrant and concise.
  • Polish and tighten so that every word counts.