How to write a synopsis

I know, I’ve done all the technical stuff about submissions packages before, and in truth, I have written previously one successful synopsis, – which took about a year to get right, and only after having read lots about how to write a synopsis – which helped me to obtain the services of my agent, and led to my publishing contract. As I propose to publish my next book myself, next year, who knows whether my next synopses, for my fiction series, will ever be useful?

But meantime, I think I have discovered a secret of success with this subject that seems to strike fear in the heart of all writers. So if, like me, you have tended to shy away from the word ‘synopsis’, if the very idea makes you quake in your shoes, these tips for a quick fix might help…

~ Write a synopsis without thinking about the technical stuff, as if you are writing a really exciting letter to your best friend about your new book. What excites you about it? How will you communicate that excitement?

~ Forget your audience or intended target readership. In my experience, thinking about submissions readers or editors before we’ve even finished our synopsis, is a bit like frightening oneself with images of ghosts. Forget the future and enjoy the thrill of writing a condensed version of your novel plot.

~ Be happy while writing, and whimsical humour will come out to help you. Or good ideas, or a nifty sentence you can quote from somewhere in your novel to add flavour.

I guess it comes down to the same thing every time, whatever we are doing. If we are enjoying it, that’s going to reap dividends, and if not, why are we doing it?


  • It’s also very helpful to leave a draft synopsis for a while, and come back to it after a break. It’s amazing how a change of scene and time to reflect can bring fresh perspectives.


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