Friday, December 27, 2013

A Synopsis That Gets Noticed

Originally posted in the TWRP greenhouse.

The Synopsis: A Synopsis That Gets Noticed

Your synopsis can be a winner if you follow these tips:

1. The synopsis tells the entire story. Make sure it has a beginning, middle and end.

2. Don't give your synopsis a hook ending like "for the rest of the story read..." The editor won't read the book if she doesn't know that the ending is satisfactory. You need to give her all the facts.

3. Your synopsis must be written well. It must have proper margins, spacing and fonts. If your synopsis is difficult to read because the type is too small, the editor will not read it. Make sure the synopsis is grammatically correct and that there are no typos. Use strong, evocative language.

4. If this is a synopsis for a romance, you need to focus on the romance. You need to make sure the reader understands why this hero is so important to this heroine or why this particular heroine is the perfect mate for your hero. It's a lot more than saying he's a rich, single bachelor. Keep in mind things like "soul mate", and why this man has remained single all this time until he meets "her". You need to show the changing and developing relationship between the hero and heroine in the synopsis.

5. Marketing Hooks. If your story contains some of the tried and true like, marriage of convenience, secret baby or cowboys - get that in there. Make sure that stands out. If you think your story has something less attractive (suppose your hero is an ex con or a football star) keep that low key, write your synopsis around that so you downplay it. It might work great in the actual manuscript but could scare an editor if she/her thought it wouldn't work.

6. You need to know your characters and get that across to your readers. You need to know their motivation and their goals. You need to get that in the synopsis without giving too many details. Not an easy task! Your synopsis should be straightforward, not much room for backstory.

7. Make sure the tone is appropriate to your story. If you're writing romantic comedy, your synopsis needs to contain humor; a romantic suspense story synopsis needs to be filled with intrigue, etc.

8. A synopsis is one of the hardest things you'll ever write, but it will make writing your novel easier because it’s your guide to what happens. You will know what's going to happen and where your characters will end up. Even writers who write the book first and then the synopsis, always have a synopsis even if it’s in their heads.

9. Can the actual manuscript ever change from the synopsis? Yes and no. Not in a major way but certainly in some smaller not as important events. If you think your change will make the story stronger, you need to do it no matter what is in the synopsis, but then go back and rework it so when you send it to the next editor, it’s true to the story.

10. The standard length of a synopsis for a category length romance novel is 2 pages single spaced or 5 double. Some historical or regencies novels allow a 10 page synopsis. For a short story you wouldn't do a synopsis at all.

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