The ideal synopsis is scaled down, fat tree, and low calorie. It is brief, to the point, and free of unnecessary detail. Defined, a synopsis is a narrative summary of the main action of a manuscript.
- Use the format requested by the publisher’s or agent’s guidelines, single or double spaced.
- Write in present tense, third person.
- Use action verbs instead of adjectives.
- Provide important or unusual background material that is necessary to know.
- Include the five W’s: who, what, why, when and where.
- Show the tone of the manuscript: humorous, sexy, emotional, serious, dangerous, etc.
- Weave in the subplot, if there is one.
- Avoid clichés.
- Do not leave unanswered questions.
- Do not include minute details.
- Do not use dialogue.
- Do not include excerpts from the manuscript.
- Begin with a sunning narrative hook that establishes the theme of the book and the conflict.
- Start where the excitement of the story begins.
- Quickly establish who the characters are, the time period, and the setting.
- Introduce the main characters with short, vivid sketches that show their goals, motivations, fears, uniqueness, conflicts and goals. Show how their goals clash.
- Describes the first meeting of the hero and heroine, in a romance.
- Introduce the external conflict and the action that sets it up.
- Keep the paragraphs tight and to the high points of the story development.
- Relate the formidable obstacles that arise chronologically.
- Move the plot forward, expand on the characters’ motivations, and give more insight into the characters.
- Each scene revealed must have action, reaction, and a decision made.
- Build the tension, including sexual tension.
- By the end of this section, either the internal or the external conflict must resurface.
- Show the characters’ emotional growth as the complications are or are not resolved.
- Reveal events leading up to the black moment.
- Reveal the climactic scene where the characters must solve their problems in a simple, tight explanation.
- Show the main characters’ reactions.
- Tie up all loose ends and show the resolution of complications.
- Show the characters’ growth.
- In a romance, reveal the happily-ever-after scene.