Synopsis: The Bane of an Author’s Existence

By Snow Brooks

Nothing sends us writers to the brink of unbridled insanity like the universally loathed novel synopsis. I could more easily squeeze my motherly hips into the size 6 jeans still hanging in my closet (I refuse to give up the dream), than condense an 80,000 word novel into a tiny 1 page package.

Yes, it’s difficult and laborious work, resulting in many colorful profanities along the way. But an impossible feat? No. It’s just not our idea of a good time. We’d rather spend our days creating intriguing characters and losing ourselves in our own little creative worlds.

That being said, synopsis writing is a necessary evil in the path to publishing. If you’re seeking representation by a literary agent, mastering the art of summarizing your work into 1 to 8 pages (depending on the agent’s requirements) is crucial.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion among authors on which approach to take when writing a synopsis. Generally, it’s recommended that you have both a short and long version of your synopsis available for submission. As literary agents become busier, they want to read more concise synopses that convey the points of the story quickly.

For some helpful tips on writing a synopsis see

3 thoughts on “Synopsis: The Bane of an Author’s Existence

  1. Yes, I would agree that having a long and short synopsis is a good idea. Agents vary considerably in their requirements. I’ve already written a few synopses of different lengths for my first book, as I’ve needed them for advertising sites. I found it particularly difficult to write short ones for Book 1, as the novel is basically two stories running concurrently. Making sense of them both in so few words wasn’t easy, to say the least. 🙂

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    1. The one page synopses was a thing of evil for me too. It was difficult to summarize a complicated plot into one page. I labored over it until I had the major themes of the plot generalized into concise segments.


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