I originally wrote this post for the Book Boost Lounge a little over a year ago, but in the last few weeks I’ve had several people ask for pointers, so thought it would be a good idea to post it here too. Now, I wrote this with romance authors in mind, but truly, you could use some of these points in non-romance genres.
Every writer of romantic fiction (who intends to sell that story) has to write a synopsis. First things first, what exactly is a synopsis? This is a 2-10 page piece of writing that tells the entire story in condensed version. It’s got the characters, conflicts and the resolution.
Why do you have to have one? Because editors and agents will ask to read it—it is basically a short-cut to find out if your story has enough in the plot to sustain a novel, whether it is compelling and unique, that there is beginning, middle and end, and that the ending is satisfying. As I said about, think of the synopsis as a very short version of your story. The gist. The low-down. If someone asked you to tell them all about your book including the ending over a cup of coffee, this is what you’d tell them. The synopsis in general is only about 2% of the size of your book. The bigger your book, the bigger the synopsis. For a novella, I usually only write a 2-page synopsis.
The synopsis hits on every major point, introduces and examines the characters but without all the sensory details, scenery descriptions and in-depth details that the novel does. (**Note: this doesn’t mean you can’t put a few of these details/senses/scenery into the synopsis, we just don’t need as much.) In essence, it lets the reader of said synopsis decide if your story is intriguing enough to read the actual pages.
But don’t groan! This is your time to shine. Often an editor/agent will read your synopsis before they read your pages—this means your synopsis could be a deal-maker or a deal-breaker.
1. Opening hook—what pulls the reader in? How does the story begin? Make sure it is compelling and dramatic.
2. First Meeting – in a romance, this should happen within the first three chapters, and getting the characters together in the novel is just as important as getting them together in the synopsis.
3. First Kiss – a pivotal moment, they are attracted to each other, we see that a relationship is blooming.
4. GMC of both characters (including internal and external) – this is extremely important. You need to get across in your synopsis each main character’s goals, motivations for those goals, and conflicts to reaching those goals—internal being things inside themselves that keep them from reaching their goals, and external being outside forces that impede them.
5. Major secondary characters that are integral to the plot – If there is a villain or a best friend who if taken out of the story the plot becomes mush, they must be added into the synopsis.
6. The story arc – What is the story about?
7. The character arc – How doe the characters change throughout the story?
8. Black Moment – What is the major conflict? The big blow-out?
9. Confession of Love – When do the main characters confess their love—and it better be at near the end.
10. Resolution – the synopsis must have the resolution, all questions tied up.