How to Write a Synopsis

  • Write in the third person.
  • Write in the present tense.
  • Show that you have a complete novel with a beginning, a middle and and ending.
  • Capture the opening, the ‘hook’ and the major climaxes.
  • Two to three pages should be enough, although there are no rules and each agent or publisher may have different requirements (do your research).
  • Describe the setting, the main characters and their relationships, the problem or goal, a brief outline of the plot (and sub-plots if relevant, but be brief, and move smoothly from one plot point to the next).
  • Trim away anything unimportant.
  • Give away twists, shock endings and surprises so that an agent or publisher can assess the book in its entirety. They’re assessing your work for its commercial potential, and the synopsis isn’t the place to tease them or leave them hanging.