1. cockneyjay

    cockneyjay New Member

    Apr 2, 2010
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    What makes a good Synopsis?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by cockneyjay, Nov 13, 2010.

    Hi all,

    I've recently finished my 120,000 word novel and I'm wondering what size a synopsis would have to be for a novel of that length? Also do I need to describe every single plot point and scene or is it just a case of giving a general outline?

    I realise that perhaps every agent / publisher has different preferences but what tends to be the best way to write up a good synopsis that really grabs the readers attention. Any tips on this subject would be really useful.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Reggie

    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

    Nov 10, 2010
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    To be honest, I was wondering that too. I did not know what a synopsis was until I came across Rand's Snowflake Method. He said that having a description of your characters builds up the synopsis. He said that the first thing to do before getting to the character description is to have a description of the character's name, the storyline, his/her motivation, his/her goal, the conflict, and the character's consideration after he or she encountered conflict. I normally use Randy's guide to help me make a good synopsis.

    Personally, I would find it easier to give the characters obstacles that will keep him from doing something he/she wants to do. I don't always improvise his Snowflake Method, especially when make a squeal to my book. I would tell him what is his favorite hobbies, relationship statues, where he lives, etc, to make the character realistic. Other than this, I don't know what else to say to make a good synopsis, because someone on this forums told me that that's not how to construct a synopsis. I'm learning from you all on how to improve my characterization. Please don't get upset if this isn't helping, sorry. (redface)
  3. Elgaisma

    Elgaisma Contributor Contributor

    Jun 12, 2010
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    You are in the UK get a copy of the Writers and Artists Yearbook 2011 it has a list of agents, publishers and advice about synopsis and covering letter. Almost all I have contacted so far in the UK have asked that I use the guidelines in there or they have them on their website. (the guidelines on their website tend to be pretty much in line with the yearbook occasionally asking for more or less.)

    The basic seems to be 50 word introduction. 350-450 word synopsis and 50-200 words biography (who are you, why do you write etc). So far none have asked for more than 1 A4 page synopsis and a couple are as little as two paragraphs.

    You also need a covering letter which is also detailed in the book.
  4. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    if you're planning to query agents/publishers in the us, the most requested synopsis is the 1-2 pg 'short'... 'medium' would be around 5 pgs and 'long' up to 10 or more...

    should be in present tense, with no dialog... just laying out the plot and characters as all occurs in the book, in a compelling way that demonstrates both your writing quality and the 'voice' used in the book...

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