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Writing a Synopsis for a Novel

Reading a whole manuscript for every unsolicited submission of a novel is too laborious and time-consuming. That is why every publisher requires an author to make a synopsis for each submitted novel – so that they will know if a certain novel is saleable or not just by reading a few pages. . A synopsis is a summary of a book, and gives adequate information to the publisher about the book’s potential.



The synopsis must be written in the present tense, and the outline must be exactly in synch with the story to make it easy to determine the events occurring in the book. Always address the whole story with the major twists in the plot and the end of the story. You also have to reveal the mystery behind the story, i.e. include a “spoiler”; do not try to taunt the publisher by leaving out key information because publishers do not have time for that.

The best way to write a synopsis of a novel is to make a more concise version of the book, with a different audience in mind. It is also wise to make a synopsis first before starting to make the book, or at least to do so while still writing the first chapters of the novel.

The length of a synopsis varies according to the publisher’s requirements. Some publishers want only one page, while others prefer to have ten pages. A ten-page synopsis is desirable as you can explain every chapter, or at least every chapter containing material vital to the progress of the storyline. For the one-page synopsis, the subplots and the minor characters must be excluded.