Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Elements of an Effective Synopsis

What do you consider to be the important elements of an effective
synopsis?

John Lawson
San Jose, CA

John, I have to admit that’s a pretty tall order and not one easily filled. For example, how long are we talking? What makes a two-page synopsis effective is not the same as what makes a ten-page synopsis effective. For me, a short synopsis reads like flap copy, but tells you the ending. But a longer one is tougher. Some read like straight descriptions of action, but others give you more detail. Probably the best way to think of how to write a good synopsis is to try and write a “book report” on your novel. That’s all a Reader’s Report is, after all. It’s a brief description of the novel, followed by a longer synopsis (two to three pages), followed by the reader’s opinion. If you can write a good, engaging synopsis of your novel, you’ve saved that editor from asking for a reader’s report from his assistant, and his assistant appreciates it, I promise you.

Z