If you are an aspiring author, knocking at the door of every publisher in the market, you must be habituated to one demand by now. Send one page of synopsis for evaluation. No?
Writing a synopsis is probably the most hated job for an author. True. How can one concise a 60,000 words novel into a single page? It is difficult and unfortunately, the most significant step while one approaches the process of publishing. A publisher’s first interest always lies in what all happens in the story. Synopsis draws out the whole narrative arc; the protagonist, the other characters, the plotting and how the whole story ends. Writing a synopsis is not about the punchlines to make readers curious by glancing at your book’s back cover or about those saleable points exclusively written for online portals.
The synopsis is essentially for the editors/publishers. Remember, they are not waiting there to read your lines and jump on their chairs for the curiosity you create through all those eyebrow-raising points. Rather, they require the synopsis to understand your story’s appeal and if it is worth reading the full manuscript.
What to include in the synopsis?
A synopsis is usually written in the third person and should start with the protagonist. For memoirs, one can opt for the first-person narrative as well. In any case, a synopsis is the gist of the story. The protagonist’s character, actions and reactions towards the circumstantial development form the foundation of a good synopsis. As we know, no story ever runs around a single character. A good story develops through several characters who in turn chalk out the premise of the protagonist’s course of action. However, not every character needs a mention in the synopsis. For example, a plumber who comes in a single scene signifies the normalcy of a narrative and doesn’t play any role while writing the synopsis. In short, not every detail needs to be shared.
Slight exposure of the backdrop becomes necessary when the story deals with something that has never happened. For example, if you consider Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the storyline is set in Gilead where the norms are quite distinct. In such cases, the synopsis must include a little detail about the whole setup for the editors to understand the protagonist better.
Do include the ending. No literary agent or an editor likes cliff-hangers. The synopsis must have a proper justification for the whole narrative.
How should be an ideal synopsis?
Honestly, nobody goes beyond a few pages. Usually, a good synopsis comes anywhere between 500-1000 words. The idea is to keep it crisp, concise and most importantly understandable. Refrain from using unnecessary phrases or unwarranted jargons. No one is sitting there to see your elephantine vocabulary.
The Secret Recipe
Keep the beauty intact and do not make it a manual. The emotions, the different shades of the characters, the plot development must flow in synergy as you narrate your story to the publishing world.
Written by – Atrayee Bhattacharya at Inkerspress