Editing schedule

12 reasons to learn how to write a brilliant synopsis

You can quit holding your nose now—this whole synopsis thing is going to take longer than a single breath of air. Writing your synopsis is a must-have writing skill for every successful novelist.

Your book synopsis is no one-trick pony. Consider how many times and how many ways you’re going to have to summarize your novel over the course of the publishing process:

1. Querying an agent to represent your book

2. Querying a publisher to publish your book

3. Discussing the ins and outs of your story with your agent or editor

4. Building buzz for your book on social media

5. Talking to potential readers about your book

6. Writing the back cover blurb for your book

7. Writing the retail page copy for your self-published book

8. Writing your author’s website copy about your book

9. Asking reviewers to consider reviewing your book

10. Promoting and marketing your book

11. Speaking about your book at readings and speaking engagements

More than an elevator pitch

Some of these situations may call for a brief summary of your story, the so-called elevator pitch. More often, however, you’ll be expected to provide a deeper look. Sure, you may have just written a book—but do you understand it well enough to be able to talk it through on your feet?

A vague stab at mood and atmosphere may satisfy some potential readers, but publishing professionals will want to know concrete details about your book’s concept, genre, premise, and plot.

Take ownership of the process. This is your chance to make other people want to read your book.

The 12th reason to write a synopsis

You probably noticed that my list above didn’t actually include the promised dozen reasons. That’s because I’ve already written an entire article about the twelfth reason.

Summarizing your novel in a synopsis is an invaluable storycrafting and revision skill. A synopsis can reveal whether you’ve woven a coherent, cohesive story. It will help you spot holes in your manuscript like a hawk spotting a rabbit dashing across the snow. Your synopsis can prevent you from wasting time and money moving forward with a flawed manuscript containing big-picture issues neither you nor your beta readers noticed.

Writing your synopsis isn’t as hard as you might think. When you run a Plot Accelerator with me, your synopsis will emerge naturally as we analyze the plot and major turning points of your story. Not only will you finish your Plot Accelerator knowing what makes your story fly and how to make it go faster and farther than ever, but you’ll also have a head start writing a synopsis that will make agents, publishers, and readers want to buy your book.

Read more: The secret to nailing your final draft

Lisa Poisso, Editor and Book Coach

Understanding how stories work changes everything. I’ll show you how to back up your creative instincts so your ideas hit home. It’s time to accelerate your journey from aspiring writer to emerging author. 

Ready to get serious about your book? Apply to work with me.

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