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        A Guide on How to Write a Book Synopsis: Steps and Examples

        • calenderFeb 07, 2024
        • calender 6 min read

        If you’re ready to pitch your book to literary agents, you’ll need a book proposal, a query letter, an edited manuscript, and definitely, a book synopsis! The book synopsis gives an outline of your novel to the agent. It’s a great way to quickly grasp what the book is about.

        Your novel synopsis has to be precise and professional to gain the literary agent’s attention. Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it sounds and of course, we are going to help you in writing a book synopsis. In this guide, we will learn how to write a book synopsis with detailed steps and useful examples.

        Polish your book synopsis to perfection!

        So let’s jump right into it and understand what is a synopsis of a book!

        What is a book synopsis?

        A book synopsis is a brief summary that encapsulates the main points, characters, and narrative arc of a book. It serves as an overview, giving readers a clear idea of what the book is about without divulging every detail or plot twist. Think of it as a concise book summary or novel outline, highlighting the primary events and character developments, and typically ending with an indication of the book’s resolution.

        The goal of a novel synopsis is to convey the spirit and flow of the narrative. So, if a reader is curious about a book but doesn’t have the time to read it cover to cover, they can just check out its synopsis!

        To understand what is the synopsis of a book better, we will also explore a few novel synopsis examples as we go ahead in the article. Let us first look at the length and format for writing a book synopsis.

        Book synopsis length and format

        Precision and clarity are key when it comes to the length and format of a book synopsis. Here are some guidelines to help you nail it:

        Ideal length

        Generally, a book synopsis should be about 1-2 pages long consisting of 400 – 800 words. This is enough space to convey your story’s essence without overwhelming the reader with details.

        Formatting tips

        Font and size: Use a standard, readable book font size and font like Times New Roman or Arial, in 12-point size.

        Spacing and margins: Double-space your text and maintain standard one-inch margins. This makes your synopsis easy to read and aesthetically pleasing.

        Paragraph structure: Use paragraphs to separate major sections or shifts in your plot. This enhances readability.

        Adherence to guidelines: If you’re submitting to a book publishing company or for an academic assignment, always check if there are specific guidelines for the synopsis format. Tailoring your synopsis to these requirements shows professionalism and attention to detail.

        Tips for Balancing Detail and Brevity:

        • Focus on the major plot points and character developments.
        • Keep your language clear and concise.
        • Avoid subplots unless they are crucial to understanding the main plot.

        A guided book synopsis length and format can help you in getting to know how to write a synopsis for a novel.

        How to write a book synopsis

        Here are a few steps on how to write a synopsis for a book:

        • Start with a strong opening: Begin by introducing the main character and the core story conflict or premise of the book. This sets the stage for what’s to come. Introduce the main character in a way that captures their unique personality, motivations, and challenges, giving readers a compelling reason to connect with them emotionally. 
        • Include main characters and plot points: Briefly introduce key characters and outline the primary plot points. Remember, the goal is to give a clear idea of the story’s progression without getting bogged down in details. Incorporate character names, roles, and their initial motivations to help readers establish an emotional connection with the story’s protagonists. Provide a concise overview of the central conflicts and turning points to ensure the reader anticipates the journey ahead without revealing all the plot’s surprises.
        • Show the character development and story arc: Illustrate how your characters evolve throughout the story. Highlight the challenges they face and how these shape the narrative. Showcasing character development is crucial as it adds depth to your story. Readers connect with characters who grow and change over time, and the challenges they encounter provide opportunities to explore different facets of their personalities and drive the plot forward.
        • End with an impactful conclusion: Unlike a book blurb, a synopsis should reveal the ending. This gives readers a complete view of the story arc. However, you should be cautious not to provide excessive detail in the synopsis, aiming to convey the resolution without divulging every plot twist, leaving room for readers to enjoy the journey of discovering the finer narrative nuances within the book itself.
        • Get feedback: You should not submit your first synopsis draft to an agent before getting it read by an alpha reader or a beta reader first. Get feedback from them and incorporate the required changes in your book synopsis.

        By adhering to these guidelines on how to write a novel synopsis, you’ll be able to craft a synopsis that captures the essence of your book and interests your readers.

        Book synopsis examples

        To illustrate how to craft a compelling synopsis, let’s look at a couple of short novel synopsis examples:

        • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

        To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a poignant tale set in the Deep South during the 1930s. It explores themes of racial injustice and moral growth through the eyes of young Scout Finch. As her father, Atticus Finch defends a black man wrongly accused of a crime, Scout and her brother Jem grapple with the harsh realities of prejudice and the complexities of human nature in their small town. The novel is celebrated for its warmth, humor, and unflinching examination of difficult societal issues.

        • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

        The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a classic novel set in the Roaring Twenties. It tells the story of the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, a wealthy and mysterious man who is famous for his lavish parties. Gatsby is driven by his love for Daisy Buchanan, a beautiful woman married to the wealthy but unfaithful Tom. The story is narrated by Nick Carraway, Gatsby’s neighbor, who witnesses the drama and tragedy of Gatsby’s obsession with reclaiming a lost love. The novel explores themes of decadence, idealism, and the American Dream.

        These real-world book synopsis examples serve as excellent guides for writing a novel synopsis.

        Alright, so we’ve journeyed through the nuts and bolts of writing the synopsis of the book. Whether you’re a student summarizing your favorite novel or a writer pitching to a publisher, remember that every great book synopsis starts from scratch. So, go ahead, and give it a shot. Play around with your words, keep it simple, and before you know it, you’ll have a synopsis that shines.

        You can always get help from a professional editing and proofreading services company that also provides book marketing services, like PaperTrue. Who knows, your synopsis might just be the ticket to your next big opportunity!

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        Tanvi Linkedin

        With a foundation in Life Sciences, Tanvi enjoys curating technical writing tips tailored for ESL students. When she's not translating complex concepts into bite-sized nuggets, she can be found playing with dogs or painting landscapes.

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