We are on to S in the A – Z blog challenge and my word for today is Synopsis.

Many writers who have no difficulty churning out a 500-page novel cower in fear at the thought of writing the synopsis. However, if you are trying to find an agent or publisher, the synopsis is a necessary evil you have to deal with. A synopsis, quite simply, is a summary of your plot. What happens in the beginning, middle and end – without extraneous details. Some authors write a synopsis before they begin the novel, then modify it after the book is complete. The most common method is to write it after your novel as part of your query package.

If you are about to write your synopsis, here are some things you should know:
1. Length. This depends on what you are using the synopsis for. If you are sending it to an agent or publisher, you would follow the guidelines. Your synopsis could be one paragraph, one page or twenty pages. Most agents request a five-page synopsis, which, while challenging, can help you trim your synopsis to include only what is important.
2. Hook. Begin with a strong hook in your protagonist’s viewpoint just as if you were writing the story itself. Remember you want the editor/agent to keep on reading.
3. Content. This is your forest, which is made up of trees. How do you include them all? Or, should you chop some down? You would have to include all your trees, but in such a succinct manner that you do not detract from the basic summary. For example, Setting and Period of your book can be written in one line. Three Faces of Grace is a women’s fiction set in Atlanta, Georgia in the year 2012.
4. Characterization – These can be incorporated into your plot summary. Instead of simply relating events as they unfold, combine characterization with an event. For example, Carol Whyte is a self-reliant, but cynical woman who does not believe her ex-husband when he says he is willing to forget the past and start afresh.
5. Emotional turning points – These are what drive your novel and develop your characters. Your synopsis, like your book, if well written, will leapfrog from one conflict to another, culminating in a climax. This should be clearly discernible in your synopsis and you should state how your protagonist has changed by the end of the novel.
6. Tense – Your synopsis is best written in present tense, regardless of what tense your book is written in. Present tense creates a sense of immediacy and draws the reader into the story.
7. Language – Use the strongest nouns and verbs you can think of. In the same way you eliminated weak verbs, adjectives and adverbs, you must do the same in your synopsis. Instead of assassins killed, write assassins slaughtered. Instead of she walked quickly, write she rushed. Instead of she ran, she bolted.

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