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How To Write A Synopsis

Updated on July 5, 2011

Writing A Synopsis

You just spent months or maybe even years working on your novel. Now it is time to submit it to publishers. But wait, editors don't want to see the whole novel at first. What they generally want is the first one to three chapters along with a synopsis.

What is a synopsis? A synopsis is a very condensed version of your novel. Kind of like cliff notes. You want to capture the main theme of the book in as entertaining of a fashion as possible. Something that will capture the editor's attention enough to ask to see the entire novel.

You should take as much care in writing your synopsis as you do your novel, since this is your selling point. This can be the last thing you feel like doing after completing a major project, but it is of utmost importance.

Format Of The Synopsis

(First Page Format)



Phone Number



 The contact information needs to be typed in the left hand corner of the cover page.


                                                    Title of Book



                                                  By: Your Name 


  Tab down a few spaces and center the book information



Body of Synopsis…….

  Start the body a few more spaces down.



Name/Title/Synopsis                                                                          Page 2

Beginning with page 2, type a header in the top left hand corner, including your name, the title of the novel, and synopsis.  Put the page number in the top right hand corner.

Other General Rules

 The body of your synopsis should be as short as possible without losing the main idea of the novel.  If you can keep it seven pages or under, that is ideal.  Try sticking with just the main themes of the book.  Also, make sure to double space!

Include references to only the main characters.  The first time a character is mentioned, type the name in all capital letters.  If you have a lot of main characters, you might want to include a character profile sheet.  This will make it easier for the editor to understand who you are talking about.

Work especially hard on that first paragraph to draw the editor in and then keep the flow going.  You have to tell exactly what is happening in the book without leaving any surprises or cliff hangers.  This is when they need to understand what your story is about and how it plays out.

If you have your synopsis in the proper format and have a riveting tale, chances are you will get to have your novel seen in it's entirety!

Writing & Publishing Tips

 The following video gives some tips on writing a book synopsis for either a class or for a publisher when trying to publish your own book.  It is not on writing style or synopsis format but rather on reinforcing the points on what to include in your synopsis, basically sticking to the main theme of the book and leaving out the minor details.

Sometimes watching and listening helps to better understand what is required. 


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    • smoonee profile image


      7 years ago

      Valuable Info. Thank You*

    • profile image

      sanjay patidar 

      7 years ago

      its very good for creating synopsis best of one

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Great tips. I am sure there are a lot of budding novelists here!


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