No, really! What makes a good synopsis – I’m asking you!
I’ve got to the stage where I’ve painstakingly prepared the first few chapters from my latest novel. I’ve written a cover letter, which I hope is a vast improvement on my last cover letter (anyone who read my column a couple of weeks ago will know all about that). But I’m struggling with what goes into a synopsis.
The last synopsis I subbed, I wrote in the first person voice of one of my characters. She blushed and cringed her way through the story and used bad language with her potty mouth. I don’t necessarily think that was the way to go. For my latest synopsis I’m getting business like, telling the plot of the novel in a matter of fact style. Nothing funny and endearing. No language that would make a sailor blush. I’ve managed to get the story line down to two pages, but that's pretty much all my synopsis is – the plot.
I’ve been researching on the internet and have read a billion different pieces of advice as to what goes into a synopsis. Some people suggest summing up the main characters and the setting of the novel and then a few paragraphs on plot. Others suggest putting market comparisons in with the synopsis to work out where the book should be marketed.
I think I’ve been really beating myself up about this synopsis. To sum up an 80,000 word novel in two pages makes it difficult to outline every single strand of your novel and to sum up your characters and their personalities.
Whilst researching how to write a synopsis it seems everyone hates writing them, not just me, phew! I recently read on twitter that a famous chick lit author chose her agent because she accepted full manuscript submissions without a synopsis, which made me laugh lots – where can I find that agent?!
I’ve also learnt, and I’m going to cling to this desperately, that the synopsis is often the last part of your submission to be read, and that hopefully you can wow the agent with the rest of your work. I’m just hoping that the reader who reads my submission is exactly like that, after loving my chapters they then see enough of my plots twists and turns and the characters development in the two pages of the synopsis.
I’d love to know EXACTLY what the key ingredients are to making a good synopsis and how much weight they really do carry in a book submission.
Do you guys know the answer? How do you approach synopsis writing?