photo of Elizabeth Engstrom by Mary Bartnikowski

Link to Table of Contents

Oak Tree Graphic

Writing Tips

The Three Act Structure
Point of View
Overdone Plots
How to Write a Query
Weekly Writer’s Workshop Format
The Art of the Short Story
The Synopsis
The Art of the Essay
A Simple Approach to Plot
Evaluating Your Original Idea
Last Draft: The Final Polish



THE SYNOPSIS

A well-written synopsis of your book will encapsulate all that you wish to accomplish, from beginning to end. This blueprint will also help you circumvent a wealth of troubles during the actual construction of your novel.

A synopsis will include your protagonist’s comfortable state of mind before trouble was visited upon him. It will include his reluctance to step into the problem. It will include his agreement to resolve the conflict so he can return to his peaceful life. It will include the antagonist, and his motivations. It will chart, in brief, the major points of conflict along the protagonist’s journey, hint at a few subplots and their leading characters, then end with the protagonist resolving both internal and external conflicts.

A good synopsis should be written in the same style in which you expect to write your book. If your book is funny, the synopsis should be funny. If your book is suspenseful, your synopsis should be suspenseful. You will revise the synopsis occasionally as your characters find their own course through your story, but a synopsis, frequently referred to, will also keep you and your characters on track.

Writing a two-page synopsis is not easy, but it will show an agent or editor that you know how to tell a story from beginning to end. Muster all the enthusiasm you can, use active, powerful verbs, a touch of dialogue if you want, and tell an intriguing story with clean, clear lines.