Crafting an Engaging Synopsis for Publishers

After you’ve perfected your query letter and piqued a literary agent’s or publisher’s interest, what’s next? The synopsis, of course! This document is your story’s trailer. But unlike movie trailers that sometimes give the whole plot away (don’t you just hate that?), you’ll need to do exactly that in your synopsis!

What Is a Synopsis?

Think of a synopsis as a concise, detailed summary of your entire manuscript. It includes your plot, characters, and, most importantly, the ending. It’s your story, start to finish, stripped down to its narrative skeleton.

Key Aspects of a Good Synopsis

  1. Character motivation: Who are your characters, and what do they want?
  2. Main plot: What happens to these characters on their journey?
  3. Conflict: What challenges do they face?
  4. Resolution: How does it all wrap up?

Why Do Publishers Need a Synopsis?

For publishers, a synopsis is like seeing a trail from a bird’s eye view before a hike. It lets them assess if the journey (aka, your story) is worth embarking on. They need to know if the plot makes sense, the characters are compelling, and the ending is satisfying.

Example of a Great Synopsis  

In MYSTERY AT WILLOW CREEK, twelve-year-old Emma Stone, armed with a magnifying glass and an insatiable curiosity, uncovers the truth behind her hometown’s hauntings.

Emma lives in the seemingly quiet town of Willow Creek, where rumors of ghost sightings have been on the rise. Despite her best friend’s skepticism and her parents’ disapproval, Emma decides to solve the mystery.

As Emma delves deeper into the town’s history, she uncovers a series of spectral secrets and finds herself in life-threatening situations. Amidst her investigation, Emma must also deal with her parents’ growing concern for her safety and her strained friendship.

In the climactic finale, Emma discovers that the ghosts are the town’s ancestors, unsettled due to a broken promise by the town’s founder. With this revelation, Emma manages to fulfill the broken promise, causing the ghostly activities to cease.

Tips for Writing Your Synopsis

  1. Be brief but detailed: Aim for 500–700 words for a full synopsis.
  2. Include all major characters: But don’t go into too much detail about secondary characters.
  3. Write in present tense: Even if your novel is in past tense.
  4. Show your voice: Let your writing style shine through.

Writing a synopsis can feel like trying to condense the universe into a snow globe, but you’ll nail it with a dash of patience and a pinch of persistence! Remember, the aim is to convey your story concisely and captivatingly.