Re: A Good Synopsis

#1
Hey, I was just wondering what do you guys think of as a good synopsis? I know some people like to do it from the perspective of the MC, others do a jokey blurb type thing, some just give a concise summary of the premise, no-frills attached.

So what do you think makes a Synopsis good? What do you think it needs to explain, and what do you think it can\should leave out? If you have any examples that'd be great!

I'm looking to rework mine to be evocative, but simple and to the point.   


Re: A Good Synopsis

#2
Personal opinion, but I think a "good" synopsis is one that describes that basic idea of what the story is about and how the MC relates to the overall plot. The books that I read tend to have their synopsis's pinpoint who the MC(s) is/are, the basic background of what the story is about, and a very, very short blurb on the story's starting point. (I.E. Someone of important note died, and that leads to a series of events that somehow drags the MC  into the book's plot.)

Synopsis need to be very short in detail and description, but there also needs to be enough to draw in potential readers

As for examples, your best bet is probably Amazon or other online stores that sell books.

Re: A Good Synopsis

#4
The blurb is supposed to catch your readers' attention and sell the story, not tell the story.

I'm going to pick from Author's Society: Fiction book blurbs start with a situation (a), introduce a problem (b) and promise a twist ©. They usually end with a sentence that emphasizes the mood (d) of the story.

So you start with a catch-up sentence, since often, people will drop the blurb if they don't like the first sentence, and you end with a kind-of-cliffhanger so that people go from blurb to story.

PS: Should rewrite mine.

Re: A Good Synopsis

#5
I'm not the most experienced when it comes to writing a synopsis but I can at least say what method I strongly dislike. Almost to the point of just ignoring the story and moving on. It's when instead of summarizing the major parts of the story, the author puts in a snippet of dialogue or a scene from the story. I have no idea who these characters are and as such have no reason to care about what's happening in the scene. These scenes are never enough to actually give the potential readers an idea of what the story is actually about. 

I do enjoy when the author starts with a question to the reader, it at least catches my attention. That is completely my opinion though, I know some people don't like that method.

Re: A Good Synopsis

#6
Blurb sample using the formula (along with 'a', 'b', 'c' and 'd') lists:

For nearly twenty years since they've opened, the Gilded Gates of the Infinite Labyrinth have brought power and wonders to the subjects of King George III. Fueled by the resources from the place beyond the Gates, the modern age is in full swing across the British Empire (a: situation)

But the Hordes of Napoleon are not standing still. They will not stop until they can achieve total dominance, and ending the British advantage is what they plan for (b: problem).

Jonas Sims never planned to be a Labyrinth Professional and be involved in high stakes games (c: plot twist)

Now he, and the rest of his team have to level, push themselves forward and grow beyond their origins (d: story mood)

Or the Sun may set upon the Empire at last! (final hook)

Re: A Good Synopsis

#7
Another one to illustrate the method:

The town of Las Viadas has two sides, like the twin swings of its saloon's entrance. One seedy, one bright, and never the two meet. (a: situation)

But sometimes, people go into the saloon and don't come out, and that's something sheriff Marcus can no longer ignore. (b: problem)

The thing is, sometimes people who haven't gone into the saloon come out, and no one finds that strange. (c: twist)

Getting to the truth will not be easy, nor will it leave the sheriff untouched by the weird. (d: mood)

Unless he goes in and never goes out. (explosive suspense)


Of course, you can have a full paragraph for each part rather than one or two sentences. You just need to keep your sentences very short, to the point.

Re: A Good Synopsis

#8
Another one (i'm on a roll. Not all of these have stories behind, btw)

NATO is used and ready to deal with all kind of world security problems. Terrorists, rogue nationstates, extremists are always ready to threaten their member's safety. (a: situation)

What NATO did not anticipate was Polish Nationalists attacking one of their supply depot. Using superpowered surnatural abilities. Or a geodesic dome with strange technologies popping up. (b: problem)

But what NATO's upper echelons could never have imaged is one of their own special force responding in kind. Going all-in with fireballs and lightning bolts. (c: twist)

Now, Lieutenant Al Varanson, Captain Erika Zacharias, and the other members of the hastily assembled NATO Magus Force have to scramble all over the world to stamp the emerging threats (d: mood)

Because some people do know what this game is about (mysterious suspenseful threat)

Re: A Good Synopsis

#9
A good synopsis is one that's indirect and vague about the premise.  It doesn't spoil anything but it provokes the readers imagination making them want to continue reading.  It's the same idea with cover images and fiction titles.  They should all vaguely hint at the premise of the story and let the reader piece it together by themselves. 

The only thing that is going to get the reader interested is their own imaginations.  If their imagination starts churning at what you've written, they'll likely pick up the book.  That's all your job is.  

The worst thing you can do is spell things out for the reader.  The readers imagination can work against you to.  If you are vague, they will assume the best.  If you are descriptive, they'll start drawing far reaching conclusions about how your story will unfold and ruin novel all by themselves.

Re: A Good Synopsis

#10
It really depends on the genre of your novel I'd say, naturally if it's comedy make it funny, a first person view is fine too for that. Making a short summary of the start and the end of the novel sounds good too. E.g. When ur MC is weak then how he got strong (briefly so that it doesn't give away too much) and then the end of the novel (maybe he became the strongest or whatever)

Re: A Good Synopsis

#11
When you're not sure how to write a blurb, you should read a lot of blurbs from professionally published books (either ones you own or from Amazon's website). Those blurbs are written by marketing experts who know how to sell a book. I'm not going to analyze my bookshelf right now, but I would guess that they align pretty well with the four steps Vincent Archer provided above.

Re: A Good Synopsis

#12
There's lots of tried "recipes" in writing. We've been writing novels and doing mass market publishing for centuries now. Everyone wants to be an amazing writer, but for most of us, myself included, using tried recipes and putting our own touch on them works better than attempts at being "truly innovative".

You can pick my story and try to see how the classic Hero's Journey steps apply, and you'll find they're all there (well, except the very end, since there's 5 chapters left). It's all about the presentation.

Same thing for the blurbs. Classic version works nearly perfectly. The best ones follow the recipe without you realizing it's there.

Re: A Good Synopsis

#13
Vincent Archer Wrote: Blurb sample using the formula (along with 'a', 'b', 'c' and 'd') lists:

For nearly twenty years since they've opened, the Gilded Gates of the Infinite Labyrinth have brought power and wonders to the subjects of King George III. Fueled by the resources from the place beyond the Gates, the modern age is in full swing across the British Empire (a: situation)

But the Hordes of Napoleon are not standing still. They will not stop until they can achieve total dominance, and ending the British advantage is what they plan for (b: problem).

Jonas Sims never planned to be a Labyrinth Professional and be involved in high stakes games (c: plot twist)

Now he, and the rest of his team have to level, push themselves forward and grow beyond their origins (d: story mood)

Or the Sun may set upon the Empire at last! (final hook)


Nice job on this one! I'm hooked already. Following your story, now. :)

Re: A Good Synopsis

#14
Andrew B. Salmon Wrote: Nice job on this one! I'm hooked already. Following your story, now. :)

Ah ah.

I almost lied when I said all my blurbs didn't had a story behind. The first is of course now started on RR, the second was a wild west vampire/surnatural fantasy which is at the vague state of "if I ever get around", and the third one is Magus Force which is a gamelit/superhero mil-fiction which has a first book almost done, but for which I'm stalled at the "where do I go after that, this shit doesn't work right".

Once you find the magic blurb formula (which I didn't have when I started Silvergates), it's easier to write catchy blurbs.