Synopsis Criteria

You’ve tackled your novel and now you’re ready to write the synopsis before you turn it in. What are the essential things you need in the synopsis? First, the synopsis should be written in the present tense and in third person. Try to limit it to one page. Think of your synopsis as your selling point to your reader or editor. Begin with your premise or an opening statement to hook your reader. This should communicate the setting and genre. For example:   Last Chance, Idaho is the last place you’d expect an alien to walk into the local tavern.

Introduce the main character with a few words that describe him and then tell the reader what he wants. Include the inciting incident that launches your character into his journey. Leave out secondary conflicts and sub-plots. Detail what happens between the bulk of the story from first plot point to midpoint and through the climax. Stay focused on the main characters. In the final section of the synopsis, spell out the resolution. The synopsis is a summary of your story.

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