ANNOUNCING A HUGE GIVEAWAY TODAY: Author, Laura Cross is giving away a FREE ONLINE WRITING WORKSHOP to one lucky winner! Among the workshops to choose from are:
- GET A BOOK DEAL: HOW TO WRITE A WINNING BOOK PROPOSAL, SELL YOUR BOOK IDEA & GET AN ADVANCE BEFORE YOU WRITE THE BOOK
- FREELANCE BOOK EDITING: HOW TO MAKE SERIOUS MONEY AS A DEVELOPMENTAL OR LINE EDITOR
- DEVELOPING CELEBRITY EXPERT STATUS: HOW TO BUILD YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM
- GHOSTWRITING: HOW TO MAKE SERIOUS MONEY AS A HIDDEN AUTHOR (new! correction!)
- BOOK-TO-FILM: HOW TO ADAPT A BOOK INTO A SCREENPLAY
- ABOUT A SCREENPLAY: HOW TO WRITE YOUR FIRST SCRIPT
To Enter for your chance at winning, please leave a question for Laura Cross in the comment box below the post. You must leave your question for Laura before midnight, Central Time on Feb 10. Come back tomorrow to see who was randomly selected.
Literary agents receive tens of thousands of pitches each year and need a system to winnow out which manuscripts they will select to read. Enter the infamous synopsis, the two to eight page summary of a novel, which has the potential to land an author a book deal. Yeah, it’s that important!
An agent will read the synopsis to determine if he or she should request the full manuscript. A synopsis is used as a guide to see if an author is capable of crafting a strong plot, creating compelling characters, and constructing a solid storyline. Here’s what agents are looking for:
- The Author’s Writing Ability
Is the author a strong writer? Can she create fluid prose that leaps off the page and grabs the reader’s attention?
- The Author’s Voice
Does the author convey a clear, original, and distinctive voice that will draw readers?
- If the Writer Understands Her Genre
Does the author know the expectations of the genre she is writing in and can she deliver those elements in a satisfying and unique way?
- The Main Conflict of the Story
Is the conflict interesting and compelling enough to engage readers?
- The Transformation of the Main Character
Does the protagonist change and transform throughout the course of the story or does the hero remain flat and unaffected? What will entice a reader to follow the main character on his journey?
An effective synopsis should deliver an entertaining reading experience and answer all the agent’s questions. Here are a few tips to help you write your synopsis:
- Succinctly Summarize the Plot
There is not enough space to include every plot point in the synopsis so you want to focus on the setup, the inciting incident, major turning points, the crisis moment, the resolution, and the obstacles and conflicts the main character faces that test her commitment and ability to achieve her goal.
- Include Emotional Turning Points
An impressive synopsis engages the reader by providing emotional impact and showing how the protagonist develops and transforms.
- Express Your Voice and the Tone of the Story
You want to capture your voice through the words and phrases you use, and convey the tone of your manuscript. If your story is comedic, then the synopsis should be humorous. If you have written a thriller, the reader should experience the suspense of the story.
- Create Compelling Sketches of the Main Characters
It is often a story’s characters that capture a reader’s curiosity and interest. Present a captivating portrait of your main characters and devote most of your focus to your protagonist – show her quirks, personality traits, what she wants (her internal and external goals), why she wants it, and what is at stake if she fails.
- Provide a Conclusion
In a synopsis you must reveal the ending. Be sure to present a conclusion, resolve all plot points, and explain why the main character made the decision that lead to the final outcome.
YOUR TURN: How do you create your synopsis? Do you write it before, during, or after you have completed your manuscript? How do you decide what to include and what to edit? Do you create both a long and short version of your synopsis? How do you successfully convey your voice and capture your protagonist’s personality in so few pages?
Laura Cross is an author, screenwriter, ghostwriter, freelance book editor, and writing coach specializing in nonfiction books and script adaptation (book-to-film projects). She writes two popular blogs, www.NonfictionInk.com and www.AboutAScreenplay.com, and teaches online writing workshops www.ScenarioWritingStudio.com/workshops. Her latest book is The Complete Guide To Hiring A Literary Agent: Everything You Need To Know To Become Successfully Published. You can download a free chapter, view the book trailer, read the full table of contents, and purchase the eBook at www.GetALiteraryAgent.com.