Do you remember getting your driver’s license? For me the road portion was nothing. To be honest, we drove around my neighborhood which was the easiest drive ever. Parallel parking on the other hand…not so much.

I’ve run into many writers who feel this same way about writing a synopsis. Here they are with 70,000 + words for a novel and this little one page synopsis is giving them nightmares. While this is understandable, with such a large plot and so many intricate settings and fun characters, the true mark of a writer is proving they know exactly what they just spent those 70,000 + words saying.

Agents, editors, and publishers all use a synopsis to weed out which writers are organized and can write a concise, detailed summary, and which writers are blowing smoke and couldn’t pick out a theme or main plot line to save their lives.


So, is the synopsis important?


While on the subject of synopsis, let me put you in my shoes for a minute and explain what I’m thinking when I ask for a synopsis.

If you have a series and I am looking at book one, I might ask for a synopsis for book two and three. I ask this so I can see where the plot is going. Does it fall apart in book two? Am I pleased with how the series ends? Are you as the author organized and to the point where you are ready for your career to take off? These are all things to be considered.

I also want to let you in on another secret.

I’m busy.


Reading a synopsis is 1,000 times faster than reading said 70,000 + words. If I can fall in love with a synopsis then there is a good chance I could fall in love with the full manuscript and enjoy reading it. This really saves me time and increases the number of other authors I can answer in a reasonable time. For more details for shortening your story into a one page synopsis, check out my other post Three Twitter Pitch Tips.

Thank you for taking the extra time to write a killer synopsis. It isn’t easy, but the time spent honing your craft is worth it.

To leave you with the ultimate synopsis, check out this amazing six-word-story that may or may not have been written by Ernest Hemingway:

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

baby shoes

When it comes to getting the answers to your burning literary questions please comment below and tell me what you think of this post or what you want me to blog about next!


5 thoughts on “The Importance of a Synopsis

  1. This is very good information about writing a synopsis. Makes me wish I was a writer trying to get a manuscript published. I would choose you to be my agent!


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