This week we have author Rachael Thomas talking about how to write a synopsis.
Synopsis. It’s a word which can strike fear into just about every writer’s heart. How do you put everything from your story into between two and five pages? You don’t. After all, if you did, you’d be writing a book!
The purpose of a synopsis is to show how your hero and heroine change from the beginning to the end of the story. This change will be internal - their emotional journey or arc.
To show this, the first thing you need to do is introduce your characters. Bring the hero and the heroine together on the page and show their conflict. At this point, something will happen to change or challenge this for both the hero and heroine. Otherwise known as the inciting incident.
The journey your hero and heroine now embark on will challenge who they were when the story opened. The cause and effects of these challenges will be shaping them into the characters they are to become at the end of the story.
Next, show how the stakes are raised. What choices are your characters forced to make? What compromises? Or what beliefs are challenged? Raising the stakes forces your hero and heroine to address something within themselves in order to begin to open their hearts and minds to the idea of love and happy-ever-after, which will be waiting for them at the end of the story. This can be a series of events – internally and externally challenging the hero and heroine introduced at the beginning of the synopsis.
Next comes that moment when all seems to be lost. When the reader will wonder how the hero and heroine can ever be together.
And finally, the resolution which leads to the happy-ever-after your reader has journeyed with your hero and heroine to see. The grand gesture that shows how they’ve changed and proves they are going to be happy together long after the reader has closed the book.
What not to put in a synopsis
The synopsis is not a place to info dump the entire back story. Any important elements about a character’s past should be included in their introduction. You don’t need every plot twist and turn or to introduce every minor character. The synopsis is not the place to raise questions like will they ever reach their happy ever after? Keep your cliff-hangers for the story itself.
How long should a synopsis be?
The answer to this is a long as it needs to be. Check your submission details for this information, but once you have your synopsis you can either enlarge it or cut it back to suit a particular submission.
Latest book from Rachael Thomas