Pip Connor's picture
Pip Connor from UK is reading On Writing by Stephen King April 10, 2013 - 4:00am

Hey guys

Sorry to bother you all but I was hoping someone could help.  I feel I have finished my first MS and am looking to send it to an agent for review.  The problem is I am having a real block when it comes to my synopsis.  I have looked around and found that the general rule of thumb is 1 page, double spaced, etc.  Keep it clear and coherent.  Include the ending.  I think we all know the requirement.  The problem I am having is writing the damn thing.

I have written several different synopses and am really not happy with any of them and I am pulling what little hair I have left out.

I would be extremely grateful for any and all advice.

Thanks in advance.

Stay cool


jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like April 10, 2013 - 6:07pm

Don't worry, Pip.

SRead's picture
SRead from Colorado is reading Stories April 10, 2013 - 6:38pm

Hi Pip,

If you have some specific questions about fine-tuning your synopsis, I'd recommend submitting them to the "Ask the Agent" column. Bree is awesome and great at answering questions.

Vonnegut Check's picture
Vonnegut Check from Baltimore April 10, 2013 - 6:52pm
Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs April 11, 2013 - 12:01am

Perhaps it would help if you were a little more specific.

Pip Connor's picture
Pip Connor from UK is reading On Writing by Stephen King April 11, 2013 - 3:40am

Thank you guys for the advice.  I am extremely grateful.

Cath Murphy's picture
Cath Murphy from UK is reading Find out on the Unpr!ntable podcast April 11, 2013 - 8:47am

Did you visit Query Shark? http://queryshark.blogspot.no/

Some people argue that a synopsis isn't the same as a query, but I think you can treat them the same way.

But generally, don't worry. This is the hardest part. Even battle scarred veterans of the Novel Wars are known to break down and weep at the thought of writing a synopsis.

My rule of thumb (for what it's worth)

Paragraph 1) Main character and the terrible problem that person faces (which should make you root for them)

Paragraph 2) What happened next

Paragraph 3) How it all got worse

Example: Elizabeth Bennet has four sisters, an out-of-work Dad and a mother who would (if any man was brave enough to propose to one of her daughters) rank in the top ten for 'mother-in-law from Hell'. Luckily her oldest sister Jane is loveable and sensible, but if FB existed in the 18th century the other three would have the kind of profiles people mock on Reddit.

Despite all this, Elizabeth loves her family, so when she hears newcomer to the area Mr Darcy pouring scorn on them, she lets him have it with both barrels. He might be super-rich and darkly handsome but that doesn't give him the right to roll his eyes at her mother's antics.

Elizabeth lives to regret her bold tongue when Jane falls sick and is forced to convalesce in the mansion of Darcy's best friend. She regrets it even more when Jane and said BF fall in love, yet her family's behaviour threatens to ruin the romance. She regrets it still further when spending time with Darcy makes her realize he might not have deserved all the horrible things she said about him. Now Elizabeth has to find a way to save Jane's chances of happiness and also swallow her pride enough to admit to Mr Darcy she might have been prejudiced against him.

This is very rough obvs, but if you try doing the exercise with some of your fave books, you might start to get a feel for it?

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies April 12, 2013 - 7:32pm

Good stuff, Cath. I've done lots of different pieces for agents and presses—dust jacket copy, synopsis, outline, etc. If you'd like me to send you something PIP, let me know. Happy to share what I have. PM me.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs April 13, 2013 - 11:41pm

A query and a synopsis are different. A query is a pitch that should entice the agent/reader/whatever to read your book. It's similar to back cover text. Lots of important details are left out to add "mystery." As far as a synopsis, it should reveal every important thing that happens in the story.