How do you spell the synopsis of a novel?
You have finished writing your novel, you have reviewed it, and you are hoping for a publication.You are ready to send your manuscript to publishers. These in response asking you to send the synopsis.Let’s start with a premise: the synopsis and the back cover are not the same thing.Newcomers tend to confuse the two when they are quite distinct.
The back cover is addressed to the potential reader and its purpose is to capture the attention, so that we can proceed with the purchase of that novel.
The synopsis is aimed at publishing professionals and is a reasoned summary of the work, able to give an overview, without neglecting the fundamental details, and which usually must be written at the end of the process of writing the work.
- Sounds easy that way, doesn’t it?
- Well, no, it’s not easy at all.
- Let’s find out why …
- Why do you have to learn to write a synopsis?
- I have read sentences such as:
- “It’s easier to write 300 pages than the synopsis of my novel!”
- But that’s the point.
- If you are unable to summarize the basic idea of your novel, highlighting its strengths and peculiarities, perhaps you have a bigger problem than not knowing how to write the synopsis. Perhaps you yourself did not understand what your story is about.
As already mentioned, the synopsis [from lat. late synopsis, gr. «general view» (comp. of «with, together» and «view»)] indicates that “reasoned summary of the work” able to give an overview, without neglecting the fundamental details.
But what does this mean in practice?
It means that when we draw up a synopsis there are some basic “data” that must be reported and that can be traced back to: the beginning, development and end of the novel, without neglecting any important coup de théâtre for the main plot.
It must never be forgotten, in fact, that the synopsis is not addressed to the reader, but to the publisher or other publishing professionals (literary agents, editorial consultants, etc.), who must be able to get an idea as exhaustive as possible of the novel, in a limited space.
The synopsis therefore serves as the first screening, so that the publishing professional chooses to read the entire novel for which it was proposed.
It is important, therefore, that the synopsis is exhaustive and complete, and that it does not contain phrases that can be read as a positive and / or partial criticism of one’s writing.
Therefore, comments or praise on one’s novel should be avoided.
But how long should the synopsis be?
There is not a commonly shared rule on how long a synopsis should be, so the advice is always to check the various sites of the publishers, in the section where they talk about sending manuscripts, or to send an e-mail request information.
In any case, in general, if no other length is expressly requested, the synopsis is to be intended as a maximum of 2000 characters (spaces included).
Small specification: the synopsis for the poetry collections is different from the synopsis of the essays and the latter are, in turn, different from those required for the novels; we must therefore be very careful when proposing our own text and drawing up the related synopsis.
Some advice on how to write a synopsis
The synopsis is, in essence, a summary of your work, a bit like those that were done at school, neither more nor less.
There is no universal method for writing a synopsis, only general indications that are those given above;
moreover, each person is different, as is every novel, therefore the author of that text must be cut out on himself
a method that is congenial to him, as well as appropriate to the work he has written.
However, when you are preparing to draw up your synopsis, and you are in trouble, you could always start with some basic questions:
- Who are the main characters?
- What happens to them?
- What are the events narrated?
- Where do they take place?
- When do they take place?
- Is there any particular event that matters in the context of storytelling and has a significant influence on the course of events?
- What is the plot? How are facts told?
- When you have answered all these questions, you will have all the data necessary to write your synopsis.
- The synopsis and the back cover are not the same thing.
- The synopsis is a reasoned summary, able to provide an overview of the work.
- The synopsis must be written in a maximum of 2000 characters, including spaces.
- The synopsis must contain: the beginning, performance and end of the novel, plus any twists related to the main plot.
- The synopsis is for publishing professionals to understand if they want to read your novel.
- Write your synopsis to this indicative in the third person.
- Avoid entering details of secondary frames.
- If you are in difficulty in drawing up your synopsis, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are the characters? What are the events narrated?
- Where / when do they happen? Is there any particular event that affects the plot?