1. The95Writer
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    The95Writer Active Member

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    Any tips on writing a synopsis?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by The95Writer, Apr 21, 2014.

    I am working on writing a summary of my first fiction novella, but I am finding it hard to write it.

    Any tips?
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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  3. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    Write a few sentences that explain the basic elements of the plot.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wrote an article on the topic a few years back:
    http://www.fictionfactor.com/guests/novelsynopsis.html

    They're difficult to write without some outside input. Good luck.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    1. keep it in third person, present tense

    2. lay out all of the key plot elements

    3. include how it ends

    ...it's best to have both a short [1 page] and a medium [2-5 pages] ready to send out, since those are the ones agents/publishers will most often ask for... so few will request a long [6-10 pages] that i don't see it necessary to spend time and energy on one beforehand...

    ...btw, don't ever refer to the work in your correspondence with agents/publishers as a 'fiction novella' because novels/novellas are fiction... and you don't want to come across as a clueless beginner... ;)

    ...good luck with it all!

    love and hugs, maia
     
  6. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    It depends on who the synopsis is for. If it's for yourself, then it can be as detailed as you want, as long as it guides you through the story.

    If it's for an agent or publisher, you are restricted by what they want. Some are fine with a few pages, as mammamaia points out above. Others want a maximum of one or two pages. Remember, if it's going to a publisher or agent, you are selling a book, so in a lot respects you are pitching it. One agent I spoke to suggested that a synopsis should dispense with the hyperbole (that's their job) but display the verve of the writing, making it as exciting as possible, by including excerpts of key speeches that draw the characters, to previewing key scenes, as well as giving an overview of the plot.

    That's a lot to get into two pages, but it can be done. There's a great book on the subject by Stella Whitelaw ("How to write and sell a synopsis"). You should check that out...
     
  7. The95Writer
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    The95Writer Active Member

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    Thanks for all the tips.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    including any dialog in a synopsis is generally considered a major 'no-no'... unless, of course, an agent's guidelines specifically ask for it...

    I'd strongly recommend relying on what the majority of agents say they prefer... and the best 'how-to' for queries and synopses i've come across is found here:
    http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx

    [mod squad: can you please add that link to the 'writers resources' list that's stickied somewhere?]
     

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