I attended a workshop with an agent who had critiqued my MG novel at a conference. This is her information.
For fiction stories only. NOT for NF. I don’t rep NF.
Conveys narrative arc. Characters. Actions and motivations make sense. Who changes.
Entire plot in a single page.
Third person present tense, even if novel is in 1st person POV and is in past tense.
Any time new character mentioned, name goes in ALL CAPS. (first time mentioned only)
Times New Roman
12 pt font
What is important?
Major plot points:
What changes your character away from normal? (inciting)
What builds tension in the story?
Main external and internal goals.
What is climax? What is point when protagonist and antagonist meet and fight to the death?
Resolution. How does it end?
Do not have to include the minor plot points.
Show plot twists.
In contemporary books, the protagonist is also the antagonist. They have to squash the old version of themselves to become new versions.
Write a sentence or two for each chapter.
What highlights are in each chapter?
Make sure it flows together in one cohesive narrative.
Goal is to make each point flows into the next.
- What the conflict of story is
- Setting (world building is included here)
- (Can put in picture form)
- How conflict ends up changing them? Show that as part of structure.
Mistakes to Avoid
Don’t worry about specifics. Think high level.
Know and understand the theme of the story, but leave that out. That’s the interpretation for the reader.
Don’t use dialogue or rhetorical questions.
This is a time for you to TELL, not SHOW.
The ending of the synopsis should show how the conflict is resolved. VERY SPECIFICALLY.
Test It Out
Have someone who has never heard of your story read the synopsis.
Who is protagonist?
What is their goal?
What is the conflict?
Were there any places you found confusing? Was there anything you didn’t understand?
Was there too much information? Was there anything you didn’t need to know?
Is the ending clear?