How To Write A One-Page Synopsis

How To Write A One-Page Synopsis


Writers Write is your one-stop writing resource. In this post, we show you how to write a brilliant one-page synopsis for your novel.

If you are looking for a literary agent or a publisher, it’s important to write your story’s synopsis as well as you can. I’ve never met a writer who enjoyed writing a synopsis, so I created this simple formula to help you.

What Is A Synopsis?

A synopsis is an outline of the plot in your play, film, or book. It is a brief summary of the characters who drive your story, especially the protagonist and the antagonist, and the events that occur in the story. Literary agents ask for a query letter and a synopsis to determine if they want to read your book.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to see your story clearly when you’ve been so involved in the minutiae of your book. Writers often include too much detail in their synopses, or they leave out details that should be there.

This formula will help you to write a concise synopsis. I suggest that you answer each question in one sentence. You can also combine some of the answers into one longer sentence. (If you need to, please refer to my post on The Five Plotting Moments That Matter used in the template.)

How To Write A One-Page Synopsis

How To Write A One-Page Synopsis

Three important things to remember about a synopsis:

  1. A synopsis should be no longer than one page (two if you absolutely have to).
  2. Use the same 12 point font you have used in your manuscript and query letter. Look for the font you should use on the submission guidelines page.
  3. Your synopsis should be error-free.

When you’re finished the synopsis, you may find How To Write A Query Letter In 12 Easy Steps useful as well.

Top Tip: If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.

by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this, read:

  1. 15 (or so) Fabulous Publishers For Debut Authors
  2. First Novel Jitters: 6 Things To Do When You Finish Your Book
  3. 18 Things Writers Need To Know About Editing And Proofreading
  4. The Daily Word Counts Of 39 Famous Authors
  5. The 5 Essential Elements Of A Perfect Ending

This article has 12 comments

  1. Debbie

    Ty so much for this eye opening help-much needed-

  2. Ernesto San Giacomo

    Wonderful and concise advice!

  3. Larry Johnson

    Thank you for this post…Wow a real eye opener…
    Not only are you gorgeous, you are great…and some other ‘g’ words…

  4. Larry Johnson

    Other ‘g’ words…galuptious, good, grand, gracile, gracious and certainly NOT gallionic…

  5. Marjory Riley

    Thank you for this.

  6. Loretta Stradley

    I printed this off for future reference. Synopses have always been a challenge for me. Thanks for the info.

  7. Amanda Patterson

    Thank you for the positive feedback. I’m glad it helped.

  8. anita

    Thanks

  9. Karel Segers

    I really like the simplicity of this approach, Amanda. Thank you for posting this!

    The length of your paragraphs is also beautifully proportionate to what a reader would like to see in terms of act 1, act2 and act 3.

    For a feature film synopsis, I would recommend writing 4 paragraphs, ending the second paragraph on the Mid Point Reversal. This would emphasise the major change that happens halfway.

    You’ll also get a great synopsis by covering the main Hero’s Journey stages:
    Paragraph 1:
    – Ordinary World
    – Call to Adventure
    Paragraph 2:
    – Crossing the Threshold
    – (Mid Point Reversal)
    Paragraph 3:
    – Ordeal/ Reward
    – Road Back Home
    Paragraph 4:
    – Resurrection

    For writers of movie screenplays, here is a handy checklist: http://cl.ly/1v2n0K310B2g.

  10. Esther

    Thank you Amanda for information.

  11. Esther

    Thank you Amanda for such information.

Comments are now closed.