Caleb S.
Caleb S.

How to Write a Synopsis - Tips from Professional Writers

7 min read

Published on: Aug 30, 2020

Last updated on: May 19, 2023

How to Write a Synopsis

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Ever wonder how to write a synopsis?

Don't worry; we will help you craft an amazing synopsis according to your demands.

For example, if you are giving this assignment to someone who does not know about what happened before then, it is okay to only give the key points from the climax of each chapter.

But if you are giving this assignment to someone who knows about what happened before then, it is good to summarize everything because everyone has already read the story.

Continue reading to learn how to write a synopsis.

What is a Synopsis?

A synopsis summarizes an article, essay, or book that tells the reader about the major plot points and how it opens out. These summaries also appear on Wikipedia and school book reports. This guide will construct one synopsis for potential agents and book publishers (and eventually, customers).

Your novel synopsis should achieve two things:

  • Firstly, it should tell people about your story
  • Secondly, it needs to be interesting!

You do not need to use all the informative material at this point. But you should have a concise introduction and a sense of urgency underlying your content so that people want to read more.

You should also make sure that your short story includes:

  • A complete narrative blend
  • Unique elements of your own voice
  • A strong conclusion or resolution

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How Long is a Synopsis?

The length of the synopsis varies depending on the project. Some people recommend 500 words, but others might write thousands. It is usually between 1 and 2 single-spaced pages or 2 and 5 double-spaced pages.

Parts of Synopsis

It's used as an opportunity for agents or publishers to learn about you and what they can offer readers, so be sure of it. A synopsis should include three components:

  1. Characters - Make your characters strong and memorable from the start. The main and secondary characters are the life of your story.
  2. Conflict - A story has a different part called conflict. You need to say what this is in your synopsis.
  3. Narrative Arc - A narrative arc is a mainframe for your plot. It should have more than one layer in the synopsis.

Synopsis Outline

A synopsis is like an executive summary for your manuscript. It consists of three parts. Have a look at these three points in detail:

  • Synopsis Introduction

Start the synopsis with a sentence that says what the beginning of the story is about. It should also have main characters. The first paragraph starts with something that grabs people's attention.

The rest of the paragraph tells what happens in the story but does not include any subplots or backstories.

  • Synopsis Body Paragraphs

The synopsis should only contain necessary information. What the character does, what they feel, and what they confront. Do not write irrelevant details like dialogues. Just say what is necessary and summarise the dialogue by saying who said it and who replied.

  • Synopsis Conclusion

A conclusion is a part where the climax of the story takes place. It should be interesting but make sure it does not include any new information.

Synopsis Formatting Guidelines

A synopsis has a simple format that is easy for writers to follow. Have a look at it:

Line SpacingSingle spaced
Word Count500 – 800 words
Margins1’’ margin
LanguageUse clear and neutral language
Character NamesWrite in bold and capital form
Font12 pt. and Times New Roman

Now let’s move towards the steps of writing synopses.

How to Write a Synopsis?

Now we will explore each point in detail:

  • Get the Basics Done

When writing a synopsis, agents want to know about the story. They want to know if the plot is good and if there is a strong narrative arc. So make sure you add in these things when you write your synopsis.

  • Create the Plot

You want agents to know the big parts of your story. To start, make a list of the most important parts. These are:

    1. The inciting incident - what starts the main conflict?
    2. Rising Action - What happens in the middle of your story? How does this build up tension?
    3. Climax - This is where it gets exciting! Never forget to add it.
    4. Resolution - How is your story resolved or ended?
  • Include Character Motivation

The point here is not to get too deep into characterization but instead to emphasize the character's motivations. So, for example, you should first justify the inciting incident by saying that they do something.

And then, at the end of your synopsis, say what happened because of this event. For example, "so he killed him."

  • Highlight Unique Points

Now it's time to talk about the parts of your book that make it special. Agents need to know what makes this book different from others. They want to make sure that people will be interested in reading it and not just ignore it.

Make sure you include something about the story, like a certain adventure or mystery, and also mention how many pages there are in total.

It can also help if you include an interesting author note at the end of your synopsis explaining more about who you are and why you wrote this book.

While writing this section, make sure to add the following points:

  • Voice

Voice is one of the most important qualities in your work. It helps people know what they are getting. The best way to do this is by having very deliberate word choice and sentence structure.

If you were a writer, you would use words in a clever way to make your story funny. For example, when Darcy asks for Elizabeth's hand in marriage when she is not ready, Elizabeth has the understandable reaction of saying no.

  • Plot Twist

A good way to make a story more interesting is with a "plot twist". This can be at the beginning, middle, or at end.

If you use one of these turning points, make sure that your summary of it is in your synopsis. Hinting too much about it will make it seem more dramatic when it happens.

  • Point of View

A distinctive point of view is good for books. It is how the book was written. For example, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is narrated by Death, who tells the story.

You can also do this for first-person narrators or other points of view.

  • Polish your Synopsis

Do not keep your synopsis a secret. It is frustrating for literary agents. Instead, after you finish writing the bulk of your summary, read it to make sure that it is clear to people reading it. Then you might have to take out some things so that it is under a couple of pages long.

  • Edit it for Clarity

A tip for writing a synopsis is to tell the reader what they will find, not describe it. It's the opposite of that old saying you've heard your whole life. When describing something, be clear and quick.

  • Edit to Remove Excess Words

If your story is longer than a couple of pages, you need to make some cuts. Read carefully and get rid of any sentences that are unnecessary or don't contribute to the story.

  • Send It with Query Letter

The synopsis is a segment of the proposal that contains both a query letter and a sample of work. Make sure to read the agent or publisher's guidelines before submitting it.

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How to Write Synopsis - Examples

Check out these example synopses to get a better idea of what they look like.

Synopsis Writing Tips

Below are tips to help you write a good synopsis.

  • Use the active voice and present tense.
  • Keep it concise.
  • Present your unique point of view in the synopsis.
  • Do not reveal the climax of your story in the introduction paragraph.
  • Include details about how your characters feel during important events, but only share what is necessary to understand them better.
  • Focus on clarity when writing, avoiding wordiness or unnecessary detail or explanation.

You can now write a quick and accurate synopsis for your research paper. With our help, all you need are six hours of time! We know what it takes time to produce high-quality work with great detail that meets everyone’s expectations.

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Caleb S.


Caleb S., Marketing, Literature

Caleb S. derives the most satisfaction from helping students reach their educational aspirations. With a Master's degree from Oxford University, Caleb has ample experience in writing that he can use to aid those who request his assistance. Focusing on his client's necessities, he always goes the extra mile to deliver first-rate service.

Caleb S. derives the most satisfaction from helping students reach their educational aspirations. With a Master's degree from Oxford University, Caleb has ample experience in writing that he can use to aid those who request his assistance. Focusing on his client's necessities, he always goes the extra mile to deliver first-rate service.

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