How to Write a Novel Synopsis

There comes a time in every writer’s life where they’re asked to write a synopsis of their book. Not to be confused with sales copy (which is persuasive marketing to get readers to buy your book) the synopsis discloses a book’s entire narrative arc. It divulges to an agent or publisher what happens in your story, from start to finish. And it reveals all the twists and surprises that are held back from your reader. A synopsis needs to convince an agent or publisher that your premise is exciting and marketable. It assures them that character actions and motivations make sense. On the flip side, it can reveal plot flaws, lack of structure or hackneyed or cliched ideas.

The dreaded task of writing a synopsis is not fun or easy, but necessary. Most agents or publishers will ask for a synopsis (in addition to a query letter and manuscript sample) before considering taking on a book. Unfortunately, there is no one “right” way to write a synopsis, but the general consensus is that it should be 500-700 words, single-spaced. So how do you convey everything about your book in a modicum of space?

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