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Friday, October 30, 2009

The Perfect Synopsis


Hello Fellow Writers!

Yesterday I did the revisions (major revisions, actually, on the point-of-hopelessness in my novel) for "The Movie Star's Very Personal Assistant". I want to try and get that wrapped up because starting on November 1st I will be concentrating solely on "Snowed in with a Millionaire."

But that darn two page synopsis - that's still killing me. So today I will be trying to fix that - it needs to be perfect. The query and the synopsis are what editors are going to judge my whole novel on. Scary thought, huh.

So on that note, here are ten tips on how to write the perfect synopsis, by Andrea Semple, from http://www.andreasemple.com/:

Ten ways to write the perfect synopsis

1. Keep it short.
Two pages maximum. A single page is often enough.

2. Be brutal.
Edit like you've never edited before. Avoid baggy language. Make sure each sentence is no longer than it needs to be, especially in the first paragraph.

3. Tease.
The trick to a good synopsis is to give a flavour of your novel without giving the whole game away. Don't detail everything that happens. Don't over explain. Just provide the central premise, and a few of the juicier events.

4. Go for the present tense.
Consider the following two phrases: 'Josie's marriage was falling apart' and 'Josie's marriage is falling apart.' The second one is instantly more immediate, and involves you, because it is happening right now.

5. Read book covers.
As I've said before, the blurb on the back of a novel is exactly the style you should be going for. After all, this is how publishers sell their own books.

6. Do something a little different.
The top agents can get as many as one hundred submissions a month. Clearly it helps if you can stand out. You've got to reach out from the page and grab them by the throat (or whichever part of the anatomy you'd prefer).

7. Experiment with the voice.
Matt often uses the second person voice when he is writing a synopsis. So instead of writing 'the novel is about a man called James Smart. He has six days to save his marriage with Josie', he'd go for 'You are James Smart. You have six days to save your marriage'. Obviously this approach doesn't work for every type of novel, the point is that by doing something a little different you will stand out.

8. Don't introduce all the characters.
Don't bombard agents with thirty characters. Stick to the two or three main ones. Otherwise it will be too much for them to take in.

9. Proof read like crazy.
I know I've told a lot of you this already but the first time I sent out my synopsis I spelt the word synopsis wrong. Having synpsis at the top of the page is not a good way to start. . .

10. Finish on a great sentence
Make sure you finish on a great sentence. Something that gives enough, but leaves them itching to read the novel. The classic way to do this is to close on a question, or a series of questions that draws on the main theme of a novel. Such as 'can someone ever recover the person they've left behind?'
Today I will be trying to put these tips to good use. I don't think writing my synopsis in the second person is going to work, though. And would you believe I still haven't had a chance to watch the DVD I rented on Wednesday? This is why I have no television.

Wish me luck, and good luck to you too!

Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers

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