Friday, March 4, 2011

You Can Write a Super Synopsis

Last year I submitted my novel, Flight For Control, to the PNWA's writers contest and received excellent feedback. What surprised me most was the feedback on my synopsis.

Full disclosure here. While all points were graded ten out of ten possible on the submission, I received under three points from all three readers on the synopsis. One reader said, "Your writing is strong. The story intriguing. If you can figure out how to write a synopsis you might have something."

What had I done? I tried to put the entire story into my synopsis. Wrong. I didn't try to do that, I couldn't help it! I mean there are so many incredible things that needed to be told. All my characters needed to be introduced. How they interacted with each other. The plot twists. The setting. The wins and losses of my protagonist. Not.

The almighty synopsis is no longer my nemesis. Over the last year I've learned the synopsis is more than an outline for the book. This is our marketing tool. We don't need all the characters. We don't want too much detail, just enough to intrigue the reader so they want to read the book. I recently learned how to do this by accident.

I'm now writing my second novel and wrote an outline. Then I wrote the synopsis. Yes, I wrote the synopsis before the novel. This prevented me inserting superfluous facts because they haven't been developed yet. I was able to write the synopsis with ease, and craft it out of pure inspiration of what the story will be. It was easy! Try it.

Do you have any tips for a synopsis? We would love your comments. Through my search, via my best friend Google, I found a great website for helping with the synopsis with many examples. I'm not saying they are good examples because I haven't read them all. But inspiration comes in many forms. Check it out by clicking HERE. Something may help. Life is all about learning.

Have a productive writing day and remember to enjoy the journey!

~ Karlene


  1. Oh, the dreaded synopsis...LOL I'm still trying to find that magic recipe. I'll be checking out the examples! Thanks so much! :)

  2. That is one of the best ideas I've heard: write the synopsis BEFORE you write the novel! I'm doing that on mine, too, thanks!!

  3. I love your idea of writing the synopsis before writing the novel. That would definitely help keep the details down. I'm open to any and all tips on writing the dreaded synopsis because it is still my nemesis!

  4. I don't even know what a synopsis is, but I'm sure you'll teach me. Great blog ladies! :)

  5. Hi Melissa, I really think the answer is to write it early... with the outline. It works. Let me know how you like the examples.

  6. Thanks Linda. I think it works. I zipped through mine quickly. And, we can always edit after too. Good luck. Let me know how it goes.

  7. Heather, your synopsis are always great! I love them. Okay... time to kill that nemesis.

  8. Darby, I think we have so much to teach you. Join us in Seattle, you'll become wise beyond your years.

  9. I don't like writing the dreaded synopsis. And you can guarantee an agent is going to ask for a different length one from what you originally wrote. Or maybe that just happens to me. ;)

    Thanks for the links.

  10. Hi, Karlene,

    Such a good topic to write about...

    I always enjoy stopping by your blog. There is always great advice in easy to understand prose.

    Many posts are too complicated or long. Yours are always concise and to the point.

    I am super busy this month, but ladies it would be my PLEASURE to interview you at my blog. More bloggers need to know about your wonderful blog.

    Let me know if that is something you might like to do. Of course, I want ALL three of you present.. lol

    Drop me an email.


  11. Stina, that is so true on the length. I thought they should be two pages single spaced. Most recently they wanted one page double spaced. Now that was a challenge. Thank you for your comment...and it happens to all of us.

  12. Michael, Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I really needed a bit of encouragement today. An interview would be great. Heather will be in Seattle in April... third week. All three of us will be together. We could all talk then, if that works. Thank you so much. We will email.

  13. Funny how the query letter and synopsis can be more challenging than the novel itself, oy!!