How to Write a Synopsis
Imagine that you have just finished your novel, proofread and revised it, and now you are ready to pitch it to your agents. The critical step at this stage of a writer’s work is creating a synopsis. Knowing how to write a synopsis is as important as putting together an entire book because without a successful synopsis, a book, no matter how brilliant it is, might not even get published.
So if you have been scouring the internet for the answer to the question, “How to write a synopsis that the agents will notice?” think yourself lucky – you are reading an article that will answer all your questions related to synopsis writing.
What Is a Synopsis?
A typical synopsis definition is that it is a summary that familiarizes the readers with the content of a book or other long text. Depending on the type of the text that is being summarized, there are various kinds of synopses but this article will focus on those that authors send to agents and publishers.
A successful synopsis effectively performs the following two functions: it summarizes the content of your book and intrigues the readers making them yearn for more.
This is a marketing tool, so make sure the text of the synopsis starts with a hook to keep the readers going. Ideally, this would mean that the agents want to read the whole novel even though they are already familiar with the plot.
As you create a synopsis, include these obligatory components:
- The full arch of narration
- Your own unique voice as an element of the story
There is no single ideal size for a synopsis that would fit any purpose. While some experts recommend writing no more than 500 words, others say that around one thousand is just what you need. Nevertheless, a typical synopsis is two to five double-spaced pages long (about two pages if the text is single-spaced).
Experts also recommend preparing a single-page (or shorter) synopsis for especially busy agents who refuse to read longer text. Writing such a short synopsis is as complicated as it is tiresome, yet making it agents-friendly is exactly what your goal is.
When Do You Have to Use a Synopsis?
It will help to have a brief synopsis for every long work you have. This shows that you care about your readers, giving them a chance to decide whether they want to go on reading a long piece. If you are a researcher, creating a synopsis for an article will help other people in your field quickly decide whether it is related to their topic or not. In other words, in addition to letting readers understand whether they will like your text or not, a synopsis also saves a lot of time for them.
So as you can see, any work that takes more than a few minutes to read should have a synopsis. That is why all books, films, and other works have synopses (or trailers) released before the audience gets a chance to access the complete work. In addition to informing the public what the work will be about, a brief glimpse heightens the anticipation, thus making the people eager to get the full work. Of course, the synopsis is still available after the release.
A synopsis is a short summary of a literary or television work, such as books and films. Usually, authors have to create synopses before sending their completed work to editors. However, students also face this type of challenge, for example, when they have to submit an abstract of a research paper or a summary of a long article. Let us have a look at workable synopsis writing techniques to help you cope with this task easier.
Synopsis Examples in Fiction
Think of all the times you flipped the books to read their summaries. That is a synopsis in action! Summaries like this come in all shapes and sizes. Below are some examples:
Romeo and Juliet: Two teenagers from warring families meet and fall in love. Several attempts to be together fail. When nothing else seems to work, they decide to commit suicide.
Great Gatsby: Nick moves into a fashionable city to meet his estranged cousin. A man of humble background, he is amazed at the lifestyle of rich and powerful people. As he learns more about the greatest and most mysterious of them all, Gatsby, he realizes some accumulate wealth only to pursue their love. Alas, a party in full swing does not make the host feel less lonely.
A synopsis is a short summary of a literary work from a novel or play to television show or film. As a rule, authors have to create synopses before submitting their completed work to publishers and editors. However, synopses are not just a prerogative of novelists and screenwriters – college and university students also get to write them. If you are working on an article of a research project, be prepared to create a synopsis. The following examples and techniques will help you cope with the task more effectively.
Example of a Synopsis for Television
Before embarking on a binge fest, people usually read through a dozen of blurbs on Netflix. Potential viewers like to scan through enticing synopses along with watching trailers. Here are some examples of such synopses:
Stranger Things: a group of teenage Dungeons and Dragons game fans notice that their friend is missing. As they embark on a rescue trip, they realize that the game they have been playing is far less scary than the reality.
Friends: this smart comedy with sophisticated jokes has become the real legend of our century. Look into hearts and minds of friends living their simple yet emotional life in New York.
Film Synopsis Example
Can you hear that male voice commenting on trailers that present the next American film?
The narrator is reading an elongated synopsis. Imagine you have to write a synopsis for one of your favorite movies of all times:
The Lion King: a cute lion cub is soon to be the next king of the pride. Unfortunately, he was denied the chance to learn from his father – the kind-hearted and smart king was viciously killed by his own brother. The baby lion’s mission is now more complicated as he has to become a new hope for his kingdom and revenge for his father’s death.
Cinderella: a young woman lives with cruel stepsisters and a heartless stepmother until suddenly, her godmother shows up and transforms her into a beautiful princess. Will Cinderella survive in the world of jealousy to reunite with the prince she met only once in her life?
Synopsis Writing in Academic Papers
Synopses are quite common in academic writing but they are more known as abstracts. As you know, an abstract is a brief overview of an article. Similar to other summaries, they explain to the readers what to expect. For example:
This paper researches the drastic increase in drug abuse among adults. Apart from analyzing the phenomenon and drawing on the most recent statistics and demographics, such as age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background of the users, the paper explores the causes of the abuse among the students of the New York University. Among the most common causes are stress relayed to social media bullying, increase in divorce of parents, and inability to find steady employment. The results imply that a deeper knowledge of the problem helps the society react to it in a more efficient way.
How to Write a Synopsis: Professional Advice
The approach to synopsis writing depends on the audience it is intended for. However, keep in mind that a synopsis is always written after the major work is finished. You can create an accurate summary only when you are familiar with the paper. Here is a simple procedure you can follow if you want to create a good synopsis:
- Start with a hook – you must grab your readers’ attention
- Include a succinct and clear summary of the entire work
- Name the main characters (the protagonist and other notable characters)
- Describe the main plot twists
- Discuss the settings, such as the time when the events unfold, place, etc.
- Mention the major conflict
- Specify the genre of your work if relevant
- Explain the significance of the literary work.
Synopses vary in length depending on the audience and the media of publication. For example, if you are writing for a short website post, you need as much as one paragraph. However, if you have written a novel and want to pitch it to agents and publishers, you will have to create a longer piece, in which you will overview the plot in full.
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Why Book, Play and Movie Synopsis Are Important
Let us imagine you have a fantastic idea for a book or a play and you want to present it to a wider audience. Finishing the book is only 50% of success. To make it popular, you have to publish it, and to do this, you have to give the agents a synopsis they will like. The synopsis has to be impeccable from the beginning till the end. For example, having an eye-catching title will attract the agents but if the synopsis is vague, you will not get the contract. The same applies to an abstract of a research paper or any other academic work.
Why Should You Hire an Expert?
Many students consult professionals when they have to submit a synopsis. The purpose of a synopsis is to help you get approval from the intended readers, whether these are agents, publishers, or research committee. If you hire a professional synopsis writer, your chances of submitting an eloquent and successful synopsis rise significantly.
Nowadays, most students have to submit thesis – a particularly complex written assignment, which is also very important. Being familiar with synopsis definition and with the effective synopsis writing techniques, a student can cope with the task easier. A synopsis must be clear and succinct and should not contain any irrelevant information; otherwise, you will miss the main ideas.
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