The Dreaded Synopsis

You know that manuscript I’ve been blathering about, featuring Bai Hsu, the intrepid CIA spy from Blood Money? I’m entering it into the PNWA literary contest soon. Real soon.

I’ve had friends and family critiquing and revising my submission for me for weeks, and thought I was basically just about ready to submit my entry when I realized what I was forgetting.



Dun dun DUNNNN!!!

Those of you who are fiction writers who’ve survived writing a synopsis will know why I punctuated this like that.

Oh my GOSH, was there ever a more crucial, pain in the butt piece of writing than the synopsis? For those not in the know, a synopsis is a summary of your whole book, plot start to finish, preferably kept to one page.

Seems simple, right?


How-to-Write-a-Novel-SynopsisNot only do you need to hit all the major plot points in the story, you also need to convey some of who the characters are and what makes them special. Oh, and don’t forget to avoid cliches, keep it in the present tense, and make sure you lend the flavor of the book to the synopsis so the story doesn’t come across as boring.

Oh, and in case that wasn’t intimidating enough, most of the time your synopsis will determine whether the agent/publisher/whoever even bothers to read your story, so it has to really pack a punch. If it doesn’t? Your manuscript will never see the light of day.

So, you know, no pressure. The fate of your whole book rests squarely on your synopsis’s shoulders, which is kind of funny when you realize that writing the synopsis may just be harder than writing the whole frigging book in the first place.

Now, if you’re a real pro, you’ll procrastinate on writing the synopsis and just write a splenetic blog post about writing synopses instead.

Because that’ll help.

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