synopsis writing

After the dreaded cover or query letter, here is the as much dreaded synopsis.

You would think, you’ve written the whole book you should know what happens in it. Thus it should be easy to summarise it in a page.

Oh, no! Not to me.

So as always, when I don’t know how to do things, I browse the internet. I found numerous post, that set out to be useful but in the end, they’re not, as they just say, be concise, don’t tell too much, yet let the reader know everything. I may be ironic but that’s how I felt when reading those blogs.

Fortunately for me I came upon this one.

Here is a summary of what Susan Dennard suggests to do if you’re struggling to write a proper synopsis.

You should write one sentence or two at most for all these points:

1. Opening image: An image/setting/concept that sets the stage for the story to come.

2. Protagonist Intro: Who is the main character? Give 1-2 descriptive words and say what he/she wants.

3. Inciting incident: What event/decision/change prompts the main character to take initial action.

4. Plot point 1: What is the first turning point? What action does the MC take or what decision does he/she make that changes the book’s direction? Once he/she crossed this line, there’s no going back.

5. Conflicts & character encounters: Now in a new life, the MC meets new people, experiences a new life, and meets the antagonist/villain.

6. Midpoint: What is the middle turning point? What happens that causes the MC to make a 360 degree change in direction/change in emotion/change in anything? Again, once he/she has crossed this line, there’s no going back.

7. Winning seems imminent, but…: What happens that makes the MC think he/she will win? She seems to have the upper hand, but then oh no! The antagonist defeats her and rushes off more powerful than ever before.

8. Black moment: The MC is lower than low, and he/she must fight through the blackness of his/her emotions to find the strength for the final battle. What happens here?

9. Climax: What happens in the final blow-out between the MC and the antagonist?

10. Resolution: Does everyone live happily ever after? Yes? No? What happens to tie up all the loose ends?

11. Final image: What is the final image you want to leave your reader with? Has the MC succumbed to his/her own demons or has he/she built a new life?


If you want an example as how this method is used, just go to the blog. I find always useful to see it written, so as to have something to compare my work to.

So, many thanks to Susan Dennard for her post. It’s been really helpful to me.

I hope it will help you too.




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