Writing A Synopsis

Done with your novel? Writing work over? Great, because the tough part starts now! If you thought writing the novel was the difficult part and it will be smooth sailing from hereon till the book is published amongst a burst of flashes from the Press cameras at the book launch, you are in for a surprise. The tough part begins now.

Writing a synopsis is the first amongst the many tasks ahead of you. There are a million resources out there in the internet which can guide you on writing a synopsis. I would like to share my learnings for your benefit.

Length: The synopsis must be necessarily short. There are no hard and fast rules on this. Suggestions range from no more than 1 page to as many as 5 pages but I would settle for a maximum of 2 pages.

Tense: Always in the present tense. For some reason, of which I am not entirely sure, it is customary to write the synopsis in the present tense. For example, we would write : “Colin sees the shadow creep up that night. Events that follow are to change his life for ever.” as against ” Colin saw the shadow which crept up that night. Events that followed changed his life for ever.”

Complete: The synopsis should  cover the entire story. This is no place for suspense.  You may have a thrilling climax but you would need to share this in the synopsis. Writing  “the end needs to be seen to be believed” or ” the most unexpected things happen towards the end” is  I am afraid not the norm. You may be writing a murder mystery but you still have to spill the beans in the synopsis, even if in broad terms.

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