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To synopsis or Not to synopsis?

Whilst my novel is being read, I thought I ought to catch up on the synopsis side of things...

I was planning on doing a 1 paragraph version for the purposes of query letters and learning off by heart for curious minds, but fear a longer version will be required. How long does this need to be? I know some screenplay ones go on for 12 pages.

What's your personal preference/ view on these things?

Thanks as always!


Re: To synopsis or Not to synopsis?

(eeuw, anyone else seeing message board looking weird?)

synopsis : book synopsis is very different to a film type, Alice. Film people (depending on what stage of the project) often seem to want the whole thing in prose form before getting almost the same in script - maybe it's to do with the history of the form, with so many films originally books or stories before being re-made in celluloid? I'd keep it as short and snappy as you possibly can - one page perhaps. Even when I'm doing a synopsis for a commissioned book, I've still always kept it pretty short - I know things change as I go along, they'll always change as I write, and what I THINK the book's about before I begin, isn't always what it's about 9 or 12 or 24 months later - whenever I finally finish! And if it's for sending out to agents, then def. the sharper and tighter the better. If they want to know more, they'll come back to you and ask. And, as with everything, it's always good to encourage them to want more!

Re: Re: To synopsis or Not to synopsis?

Hi Stella,

Yeah, the msg board is not as we know it. Perhaps those Facebook types have found out our alternative meeting place and... Oh! Me and my imagination.

Thanks for the info on synopsis - I was beginning to get lost in the research. Now I know what I'm doing I shall begin... after breakfast and a cup of tea.

Will let you know the outcome of the day.

Re: Re: Re: To synopsis or Not to synopsis?

my book synopses are usually 3 acts, one or two pages. The bonkbusters, because of so many characters and the twists and turns, run to 11 pages - still 3 acts, usually, sometimes with prologues & epilogues if necessary. I think they should go as long as you need to be clear that you've put down a good road map for yourself.

But if you're submitting it to an agent/publisher, one page is ideal, two pages tops.

Re: Re: Re: Re: To synopsis or Not to synopsis?

I've got 4/5 handwritten pages of drivel so far. Will commit to typing it up now and doing some serious rewriting. Then reward self with something bread-based and a cup of tea. I will nail this by the end of the week.