Writing a Synopisis

Hello Readers

I have been doing more research, not historical research though, no I have been researching the synoposis process. I wasnt really aware of the importance of a synopsis until I attended a crime writers conference in  Harrogate in July. I noticed with interest how some of the writers pitching books to agents and publishers were starting with a very brief synopsis and then adding more detail – all in a two minute pitch! So I decided I needed to learn some more and what I have discovered will most definitely help me. Its not just about writing that first synopsis either for what I have discovered will definitely help me with the entire writing process on my first novel and all future ones.

It seems to be a de facto requirement that any aspiring author needs to have a synopsis of their book /  novel plus the first three chapters all written up and to have these sent off to agents / publishers in double line spacing. If your synopsis isnt good enough your three chapters likely wont even be read. Here are some major points I have gleaned.

  • Synopsis must fit a single page
  • Must explain how your story begins
  • Must introduce your main characters
  • Must explain what the conflict or problem between them is
  • Explain how the conflict escalates or develops
  • Say how your story will end.

I discovered some great advice on a web page by a published author called Beth Anderson and the hyperlink is at the foot of this blog. I also like her advice on how to turn a single page synopsis into a complete and more detailed outline of the story. She also advises you write a synopsis even before you start writing as it should help the whole writing process. Having read her article I am even more glad I didnt go charging in and decided to pause until my historical research is complete. As my story is based on a real life event I have to say my synopsis will not be too difficult to write as I already know the story, how it starts and finishes. It is the great advice about developing and understanding lead characters and the conflict between them that I may well have overlooked and I most definitely didnt want to write a dry and dusty history essay. It seems my literary journey is continuing to provide me with more help and inspiration, so much to learn but the acolyte is listening intently……..

So readers, how have you fared with synopsis writing and did it help you with your writing or indeed publishing / getting noticed? Your thoughts and opinions will be very welcome……. and dont forget to look at Beth’s webpage, very, very interesting!



About bakersfieldlad

July 2015...... I published my first book on Amazon - "Savilles Spinnney". On April 1st 2015 I published my second book - "Arsenic Sally". Christmas Day 2015 I published my third book " Murder Mystery and Mayhem on the Railways 1830-1899. That's 3 books in roughly 18 months. I enjoy researching and see no reason to stop writing. There will be many many more books and while I would love to be taken in by a publisher I am content to make my books available via Amazon. Keep checking my blogs for updates about my upcoming projects......
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2 Responses to Writing a Synopisis

  1. Hi, Bakersfieldlad, Thanks for the shout-out re my synopsis page! Another page that will help you right now is http://www.bethanderson-hotclue.com/workshops/avoiding-first-timer-pitfalls/ and then right after that, http://www.bethanderson-hotclue.com/workshops/whose-point-of-view-is-that/ which goes into more detail on point of view. Those are two more lectures I wrote and gave at conferences to help the newbie along and in the first page, some of it is developing characters.

    One more thing. Since you have this nice website started, it would be a good idea for you to start promoting your name by deciding what name you’re going to use and then putting it on this website, on all the pages where you can. Here’s why. Agents will tell you, and when you think about this, you’ll realize why they say this: It’s not the book, it’s you. In other words, a lot of YOU is going to go into your promotion all along the way and since you’ll be writing more than one book, you might as well start now, while you’re writing these blog pages (which is a great idea because every time you write something it reinforces it in your mind).

    Best of luck to you! If I knew what name you’re writing under, I could watch for you here and there. 😉 …Beth Anderson

    • Hi Beth

      Thanks for your comments and feedback, all very welcome indeed. I take your point about using my real name but someone else has the same name as me and its not available on WordPress hence my use of bakersfieldlad. I could ie try to alter it ie Bakersfieldlad – the blog of Michael Sheridan and I will see what I can do in that direction.Meanwhile I am going to follow your two links and learn some more.This is another great demonstration about the value of WordPress which I have to say is a breath of fresh air for me and is such a fantastic, supportive, nurturing environment for newbie writers like me. Thanks again and nice to hear from you!

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