My work in progress is off to beta readers for the next month. I have to say, I am thrilled to take a much-needed break from editing. I plan to spend the next month working on some other elements of the writing/publishing process, including:
1. Creating a synopsis for my WIP
2. Create a query letter shell that I can use when querying agents
3. Identify what literary agents I would like to query
4. Do some research on self-publishing options
Today I am tackling item one: the synopsis.
A synopsis is a short summary of your novel. It conveys the narrative arc of your work, without covering all the twists and turns, of course! A good rule of thumb is to keep it under a page.
Here are some basics, as laid out by Jane Friedman:
- Give a clear idea of your book’s core conflict
- Show what characters we’ll care about, including the ones we’ll hate
- Demonstrate what’s at stake for the main character(s)
- Show how the conflict is resolved
- Tell what happens in an energetic, compelling way
- Use active voice and third person, present tense
- Show the character’s feelings and emotions
- Mentioning too many characters or events
- Including too much detail about plot twists and turns
- Unnecessary detail, description, or explanation; every word must earn its due
- Confusing series of events and character interactions
- Writing flap copy rather than a synopsis (do not editorialize)
These are all great tips, but they still leave you sitting down at your computer wondering where to start. How to Write a Book Now has a great resource, which walks you through seven steps to generate a great synopsis. I will be utilizing this technique this afternoon to draft my first synopsis. We’ll see how it goes!