Skip to content

How to Write a Synopsis for Your Next Big Project: A Synopsis

A fallen ego maniac, I had the idea that because I am so old and have written for so long that I must know how to do what I do every day – WRITE — and be pretty good at it.  hahaha Teachers think that, you know. In our defense, we have to or the kids would eat us alive. Frankly, we spend our whole careers learning to teach writing, so we should know something. But the truth is…

BOV 2013 Purple 5

After tackling one new writing project after another….

  1. First a blog, (I’m still learning new things every day.)
  2. I braved a NaNoWriMo novel.
  3. Carol convinced me to take a children’s story class, and I wrote several (almost ready) children’s picture book stories.
  4. Then a local history book for Arcadia Publishing Co.
  5. Now back to my novel.

SFW misc Benches 2

…I admit there are a few many things that  I don’t know. (duh!) Now I’m checking first with other experts to see what they say.  Writing a Synopsis is a link to a Writer’s Digest page – links to several articles about how to write a synopsis. Here is a synopsis of my favorite by Beth Anderson.

Does your writing meander?

Does your writing meander? Writing a synopsis ill help.

Seven  Sentence Synopsis

  1. Write a sentence that tells what your book or article is about, and names the major characters.
  2. Explain the beginning in one sentence.
  3. The third sentence tells the end of the book. Don’t pull any punches here. Spit it out. The boy gets the girl. The gorilla dies. The tooth fairy drops all the children’s teeth into magic water, and they change into dentures.
  4. Write a sentence about each major point of action in the story, and put those between step two and three.

That’s it. Step one, done.

Step Two – Write a One Page Synopsis

  1. Use your same opening sentence, then describe the beginning in a paragraph.
  2. Write two or three paragraphs describing the major points of action.
  3. Finish with a short paragraph about the end of the book.  Again, you don’t try to trick any readers here. A synopsis is to sell your book to a busy agent.

Step Three – Write a Three Page Synopsis

Add more action points and obstacles. Add secondary characters. Tell, don’t show!

Step Four – Write a Six Page Synopsis

Add more action points and obstacles. Add secondary characters. Make sure the road-blocks get more obstacally as the plot thickens. Characters never come out unscathed until the end of the book where they emerge scratched and smiling, prize in hand, and not a hair out-of-place.

Step Five – Write a Twelve Page Synopsis

By the time you add more obstacles and action points, your book is finished. All that remains is to add the dialogue and describe the setting. The best part is you know how it’s going to end.  Those pesky characters can’t sneak up on you and write their own script. Oops. They can?  Yep, these experts say they can, so watch out.  However, you have it pretty much in control.

No David's nose

10 replies »

  1. A handy post, Marsha. With my next book, I’m going to write the synopsis first. I’ve turned from a panster to a plotter or somewhere in between, while writing my W.I.P.

    I’ve read about building the synopsis like this in several how-to books. You are right with telling, not showing – the objective isn’t to dazzle an agent with writing brilliance, but to let them know what a brilliant story you have written. If self-publishing, the backcover teaser can be prepared from the short synopsis.

    Like

  2. It makes sense to work this way, it’s kind of like a first draft. I found that many of the things we are told to teach our students about great writing don’t actually apply when it comes to writing a book, especially a picture book text.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a really great way to approach a whole book – sneaky, and I like that! 😀 Actually, really interesting timing too for me and a friend. Said friend is working hard on a synopsis and having a bit of a hard time finding her groove. I am going to pass this page onto her and see if it can help un-jam her thoughts. Thanks, for your usual helpfulness again, Marsha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kinds words. The article helped me write mine. I’m still working on the 12 page one. In fact, maybe that’s what I’ll write for my 500 words. Hmmm. 🙂 Good luck with your projects.

      Like

Translate

Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

Personal Links

Verified Services

View Full Profile →

#StoryChat Y2

Writer’s Quote Wednesdays

How to Link to a Challenge

8 Benefits of Photo Challenges

8 benefits of Challenges

For the Love of Challenges

Teacher Resources

Click to Get Early Childhood Teaching Resources
SS Logo
Sunday Stills Logo

Becky B’s Squares April – Bright

Cee’s Black & White Challenge

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge

Featured Blogger Award

Free Download

Use Canva to Create Social Media

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 16,524 other followers

Categories

Blogs I Follow

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 166,290 hits
Churape's Dungeon and Stuff

Dungeons and Dragons and More

dawn2dawn photography

Tall Tales From The Field

Cognac Project

Healing CPTSD with Poetry and Photography

Micro of the Macro

Recognizing & appreciating our oneness with Nature

The59Club

Enjoying life and the empty nest while easing into retirement,

Retirementally Challenged

Navigating through my post-work world

Brashley Photography

Photographing.... that one moment in time...

Myths of the Mirror

Life is make believe, fantasy given form

A Multitude of Musings

On the Way to Wholeness

XingfuMama

Exploring my world with pictures and words.

Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

Welcome to the Anglo Swiss World

Katy Trail Creations

Creating Memories through Writing, Hobbies and Photos. And I play & teach 5-string banjo.

No Facilities

Random thoughts, life lessons, hopes and dreams

Oddments

In search of story

nbsmithblog...random digressions and musings

Haiku...short and sweet (or not so sweet)

Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

snapshotsincursive

Interesting stories about everyday moments.

eklastic

Refugees welcome - Flüchtlinge willkommen I am teaching German to refugees. Ich unterrichte geflüchtete Menschen in der deutschen Sprache. I am writing this blog in English and German because my friends speak English and German. Ich schreibe auf Deutsch und Englisch, weil meine Freunde Deutsch und Englisch sprechen.

Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge

The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

Life...one big adventure

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Travel with Intent

A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams

And Anyways...

Author, Baker, Sunrise Chaser

Thistles and Kiwis

A blog about life in Wellington, New Zealand

From Pyrenees to Pennines

We went to France ..... and then we came back.

Lins Doodles

Photo challenges, artwork

Stupidity Hole

Uninformed writings from an arrogant Sydneysider

%d bloggers like this: