Elements of a Persuasive Synopsis

Many groups of people seek a synopsis from the writer. What is a synopsis? A synopsis is a brief summary of the major points of a written work, either as prose or as a table; an abridgment or condensation of a work. (Wikipedia)

In other words, a synopsis is a short explanation of the writer’s work. It can take many forms but the most important form is the one that appears in the marketing material for your well written book. IT is the brief description that the interested buyer will read as part of his or her selection process.

The length of the synopsis depends on many factors, but one most importantly, it depends on the available printing space. Typically they are less than 1000 words and often written in the present tense although when writers are trying to get the attention of publishers, the synopsis might be many pages in length.

Understand the purpose of the synopsis prior to commencing the writing of it. Knowing the purpose will provide focus and direction.

Here the short synopsis is being considered.

The four elements of a persuasive synopsis are:

• The names and descriptions of main characters are listed with information that might tease the reader into wanting to know more about them. A brief hint on the ‘good’ and ‘bad characters could be included. Using questions to create mystery is one way to present this.

• The summary of major events, including mysterious location and other items that might interest the potential reader should be included. Only include the important and interesting locations.

• The plot in a shortened format could be included with questions about motivations and events that would make the reader wonder what is really going on.

• Any information that places the book into a context is important. There may be a preceding book or one to follow. Include brief descriptions of the other works so that the reader is aware of your plans.

The best place to look for a good example of a synopsis is in published books. The writer, the editor and the publisher have most likely had input. Most that I have read are either well written or excellent. A potential buyer will often read the synopsis in the store and decide within 15 seconds if the book is worth purchasing. It is not a lot of time to make a great first impression!

Let your creative juices flow when you write the synopsis and perhaps “market test” it with someone you respect.