Tuesday Discussion

It is that time of the week. Thoughts, ideas and questions are exchanged from blogger to author; writer to reader. A weekend of slow editing as my mind wondered unto the process after editing – what to do with a polished manuscript.

After having a first group of beta-readers, re-edited, re-edited, re-send to another group of beta-readers, (maybe pay for an editor) then I was left with two options: self-publish or traditional publishing.

As discussed previously about the publishing options here, this week I thought I would investigate, published authors or writers, their Synopsis.

It’s probably the single most despised document you might be asked to prepare. The synopsis is sometimes required because an agent or publisher wants to see, from beginning to end, what happens in your story. Thus, the synopsis must convey a book’s entire narrative arc. It shows what happens and who changes, and it has to reveal the ending.


I read a vast amount of examples of synopses and there are major points to consider before submitting a query to a publishing firm or agent.


These are:

  • A Synopsis is written with just the details of the plot. That will end up reading like a very mechanical account of your story, and won’t offer any depth or texture; it will read like a story without any emotion.
  • Only introduce the main characters and when you first mention the main character/s put their name in caps e.g General JOHN SMITH.
  • Don’t spend valuable space in the synopsis explaining the themes the story may address.
  • Identify your protagonist, the protagonist’s conflict, and the setting by the end of the first paragraph.
  • Avoid character backstory. A phrase or two is plenty to indicate a character’s background; you should only reference it when it effects how events unfold. For instance, PETER PARKER was bitten by a genetically modified spider that gave him supernatural powers imitating traits of the spider.
  • Avoid including dialogue.
  • Don’t ask rhetorical or unanswered questions. For your query to be accepted, they need to see your ability to conclude a story.
  • While your synopsis will reflect your ability to write, it’s not the place to get pretty with your prose.
  • Skim through each chapter and noting down the important events
  • Read through what you’ve written and check that every event in the story naturally leads into the next.
  • Read through your summaries with a focus on character and plot arcs


Above all, a synopsis should include the characters’ FEELINGS and EMOTIONS. That means it should not read like a mechanic’s manual to your novel’s plot. You must include both story advancement and colour.


A synopsis size varies between 400-1000 words, depending on the firm. Either way your story needs to be summed in a significantly short version of your novel.


What are your thoughts on these points?

Do you have any other opinions to offer?

Post your comments and answers below. If you think someone has an interesting point of view and answer, please invite them or share this post to them.

#DWTSmith #synopsis



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