Just when I thought it was smooth sailing to get starting on pitching agents about my novel, I realized that there was one step I had so far skipped: rewriting the synopsis. My heart fell to my very shoes. Dusting off my old synopsis for this WIP, I quickly realized it wasn’t very good. So, off to the blogs: Thank God, my writer colleagues were there waiting to help me. And they’re there for you too, if you’re so inclined.
1. How to Write a Synopsis for your Novel I put Graeme Shimmin’s post about writing a synopsis first because he gets it with humor: this writing thing is as emotionally fraught as it is all-consuming. Finding out that after you’ve finished your novel that you’ve got to write a synopsis is not just bad news, it’s downright painful. His linked blog on archetypes, based on the famous writer’s tome Hero’s Journey, is also useful reading.
2. Jane Friedman is building on all that: The synopsis is probably the single most despised document you might be asked to prepare. Make sure you detail the character’s motives and emotions. This is what really drives your story. She gives a detailed list of what to include and what to avoid. And a list of links on how to write the synopsis, including to Miss Snark’s 100 synopsis archive.
3. How to Write a Novel Synopsis with An Example. Jericho Writers. Well this has some indispensable formatting nuts and bolts, such as: Bold your character name. Write your synopsis from the bones up, from the novel’s structure. Tell what plot developments mean for your protag, what’s at stake, people! Comes with Agent Submissions Builder pop-up, which I can’t vouch for because I didn’t do it. You might take these people a little more seriously if I told you: They’re from Oxford, UK. Real deep intellectual country.
4. Agent Carly Watters: How to Write a Book Synopsis Five steps to writing your synopsis, and remember the character arc: “A one dimensional main character will suck the air out of your manuscript’s tires.” Well said.
5. How to Write a Synopsis of Your Novel by Glen C. Strathy. (OMG he spells his name the same as my ex husband, but I’ll put his blog in here anyway.) Go ahead and rush past the intro to the meat of this blog post, which details various elements including plot, character, relationship, and theme that your synopsis must have, and then continues to tell how to make a set of index cards which will, if not write your synopsis for you, make it significantly easier.
6. How to Write a Novel Synopsis According to novelist Pearl Luke, ” what you present must be a stirring distillation that leaves readers eager for more.” Okay, I look at my own personal synopsis and think, I may not be there yet. But there’s hope. Luke provides you with a very detailed plan, including writing a “major synopsis” (my term) 20 pages long that she says will be useful later in the marketing of your book, before whittling to a “minor synopsis” of less than five pages. Also includes detailed formatting notes. If you refer to this one and number 3 above you should have a pretty sound idea of how to format.
7. Learn how to write a synopsis like a pro by Courtney Carpenter. No roundup of blogs about how to do anything writing would be complete without an entry from the venerable Writer’s Digest, which has been advising writers since before print went decisively digital. This brief blog will give you critical synopsis vocabulary, and also a quick list of what to avoid. Unfortunately, just before they actually tell you how to write the synopsis, they instead recommend you buy a course for $79, by Jane Friedman, to get the pertinent details. Jane Friedman’s blog post on the same topic, of course, is #2 on this list. Having read quite a bit of Jane’s blog, I admit I would wholeheartedly like to see that webinar. But given that my budget for writing development for November would be wholly subsumed in the purchase, and would leave nothing left for Submittable.com and contest entry fees, I will have to mortify my curiosity, and just write my synopsis based on the blog posts I’ve summarized.