1. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    Synopsis for novel -- tense?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by StoryWeaver, Oct 8, 2013.

    What tense do you use when writing your synopsis for a novel? Past? Present? I am writing up a synopsis for my (first) novel, inadvertently finding myself constantly writing first tense by habit because of my screenwriting background. What is the proper/customary tense for writing a novel's synopsis?
     
  2. hippocampus
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    hippocampus Active Member

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    A synopsis is written in third-person, present tense regardless of how the novel itself is written.
     
  3. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I write it in past tense because technically it already happened. All you need to do is figure what happened?

    Oh wait, No, I do use present tense nevermind :-D I'm half insane
     
  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Past Tense here.
    Simply because nearly everything I read uses that so it's an environmental thing.
     
  5. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    nice. that works more for me as i am so used to writing in present tense for screenplay. but i can write in past tense for prose for an actual novel, that will not be a problem. okay off to tweak my synopsis!
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    for synopses, the accepted standard is third person, present tense... write it in past and you'll be branding yourself an amateur...

    amp... the synopsis is not done in the same tense as the novel itself, which is most often in past tense...
     
  7. Fatback
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    Fatback Banned

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    I like to write in riddles.... Also crayon.... It appears to me with so many people completely and hopelessly hung up on fronts and preconceptions that crayon is the ultimate way to betray myself. Look friends and family, I just wrote an in depth novel all in hot pink crayola. Structure matters not... Method matters less. Some of the most profound and glorious things ever written are simple... basic even. Yet as writers we must delude ourselves, or risk not being writers at all. Worry less about presentation and focus instead on content. I for one think you should create some new form... Call it 55th person and place pop up pictures in your novel..... They won't see it coming
     
  8. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    yeah, it is weird, at first i wrote my synopsis in third person present tense, felt natural as a screenwriter; then i rewrote it in past tense figuring that is the way it must be done; but that felt weird, so i am going to rewrite the synopsis again in the original third person present tense!
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It occurred to me, reading this thread, that third person, present tense is EXACTLY what you'd use to tell a friend about a good movie you want them to see.

    There's this guy, see, and he lives in New York, and one day he goes out for a meal, and he meets...


    Third person present seems a natural tense to choose when you're presenting synopsis.
     
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  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good point, jannert!... and it's not only natural, but expected...

    fatback...
    of course one can write any way they like, but when it comes time to submit that work to agents/publishers, if you don't hew to the standard format and method [no crayon!], your ms will most likely be tossed on sight as the hubris of a clueless amateur...

    your post is a perfect example... both the orange and italics make it too much of a bother to read, so i scanned it only as far as i had to, in order to get to the gist of it and didn't care to read any further...
     

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