Synopsis Writing Tips: Have All Your Questions Answered
If you need to learn how to write a synopsis, you should understand what it means first. Only a century ago, a synopsis was a common grammar exercise. The term has changed its meaning radically. Today, it refers to a general overview of a written work, be it a journal article, a book, or an essay. This piece of academic writing is common in different fields of science. In publishing, it plays the role of a book or article proposal. In non-fiction writing, it can be utilized to summarize an argument. Also, it is a common element of a report or review writing.
The term is derived from the ancient Greek word meaning a brief description.
To get a clearer understanding, let us consider an example of a synopsis in publishing. If you have written a book or an article and want it to be published, you should prepare a synopsis to advertize your work to a literary agent. The piece should be clear and appealing. The goal is to demonstrate the strengths of your work and prove it is worth attention. Consider that a synopsis is an important part of your book or article.
So just to conclude, a synopsis is a short paper that summarizes the main elements of a written work. It can acquire different forms. You can create a set of diagrams, figures, or tables, write in prose, or prepare a consolidated rewriting of the original piece.
Definition of Synopsis
As stated in the dictionary, a synopsis is “a short description of the most important information about something: a summary or outline” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, n.d.). As a rule, it is a written item; it can be presented orally or with the help of visual means, including a film or video clip. In this paper, the author has to summarize the main issues of the original piece. In a similar way, a video synopsis presents a brief version of a longer work.
The purpose of this paper defines the elements that should be included in it.
5 Tips for Effective Synopsis Writing
Out of numerous synopsis writing tips, we have chosen the five most useful recommendations that deserve your attention and can help you write a good work:
- Do not write in the first or second person. In formal writing, you are supposed to avoid “I, me, my, we, us, our, you, your.”
- Make the paper clear and reasonably short. Use the present tense only. In most cases, a work comprises one or two pages long (about 300-600 words), depending on the topic and field of science.
- Categorize your work. The task of the synopsis is to introduce your work. By specifying the needed category, you can save your agents’ time. They can focus on specific strategies to promote and sell your work effectively. Choose the most appropriate category: fiction, science fiction, novels, childhood reading, poetry, etc.
- Be clear and specific. A synopsis is not a commercial copy. It cannot be a mere advertisement to intrigue and generate some tension. Be sure to describe the plot in reasonable detail.
- Write in your style. Since this piece is an extension of your work, it should be written in the same style.
How to Write a Synopsis in 4 Steps
- Cut the long story short… literary
In synopsis writing, content is always first. You should not only retell the plot but also explain the motivations of the main characters.
- Make the work stand out. Now, it is high time to spice things up and show why your work is unique.
- No riddle, no mystery. Agents do not like frustrating synopses. They should understand what your book is about from its first lines. Be clear and leave sentiments aside.
- Ensure the synopsis is holistic and concise. Before submission, look through your rough draft a few times and ensure that it flows well. Each element should have its proper place. The text should go smoothly and be easy to read.
A good synopsis has two goals: it should convey the content and grab attention.
Do not overdo it with marketing tools and advertising techniques. The main aspect is to make the publisher want to read the whole manuscript. Again, trying to intrigue literary agents with a mystery is a bad idea. You should amaze them with your writing style, line of thinking, and creative ideas.
Make sure that your synopsis includes these three elements
- The brief retelling of the plot
- A clear explanation of the uniqueness of the manuscript.
- The ending (not an essay summary).
The author is the one to define the length of this item. It may depend on a number of reasons, including the preferences of the potential publisher. In most general terms, it is recommended not to go beyond five double-spaced pages.
Before writing your own synopsis, you may find it useful to look through professional resumes prepared by other authors. Use them as a reference point and a source of inspiration and not as a precise template to follow. Otherwise, you could be accused of plagiarizing or being kind of unoriginal and trite. Do not imitate those examples but adopt some valuable tricks or catchphrases from them.
The author has to discuss all the crucial details of the written work in a synopsis that has to reveal to the reader what your book (article, movie, etc.) is about. For a new writer, it is difficult to understand how to write a synopsis and determine what to include and what leave out. To cope with this assignment, you should use your critical thinking abilities and creativity, as well as allocate enough time. You should analyze your original work to pick up the most important information. Then you have to describe all elements in a coherent manner. You should proofread your paper. Spend enough time to make your synopsis perfect. You should understand that the quality of the synopsis depends on the quality of the original work. A resume cannot add value to your book; it can only present your work in the best light. Use your energies to make an engaging synopsis that could make your literary agents want to have your manuscript published.