This is my most dreaded thing. I’m completely terrible at summing stuff up. Which is a pretty big problem when some publications ask for a brief synopsis of your work to be included in your cover letter or in the body of an email.
The idea to write about synopsis…es… synopsi… the synopsis came about while I was looking through various submission calls.
Speaking of looking through submission calls (if that’s what they’re even called?), I use this Tumblr page made by FreelanceWriting.com. I find publications asking for submissions, as well as writing jobs, and even agencies asking for books to represent!
I’m in no way affiliated with this group, okay? I just happened to find their Tumblr page and I look through it. If you find something there, make sure to VISIT THE ACTUAL SITE OF THE PUBLICATION. The Tumblr page only provides the basics of the jobs: themes/topics, pay, content length, deadlines, and a link to the site.
So, how do wewrite a synopsis?
While researching this topic, I’ve found a lot of helpful articles about how to write a synopsis. However, they’re either for novels, films, or short story collections. *sigh* Not exactly the most helpful. There are tons of examples online regarding the short story synopsis, but they’re usually for someone else’s work… not your own.
I found this one about short story summaries, although I’ve found many like it. They’re actually meant for students. But I figure, hey, if you can sum up someone else’s story, you should be able to sum up your own, right?
I like this one about writing a synopsis for novels, by Writing-World.com. I enjoy the way it’s written, apparently by someone who hates writing synopsises. (Agh. WordPress thinks ‘synopsises’ is wrong, but I put it through wordhippo and it seems to check out everywhere else.)
As for short story collections, if you’re interested, I found this nice one. Maybe I might use it one day… for a compilation of my rejected short stories…. Ooh–dibs on the title “The Rejects: A Collection of Shorts.”
So, a nice little rundown of a book synopsis I found on Writer’s Digest:
I apologize for the blurriness; it looked clearer earlier. The URL’s right there… so….
The Advice Part
See… what I plan to do is take these Do’s and Don’ts by Writer’s Digest and adjust them for short stories. I’ll start practicing how to write those, maybe post an example and have it judged by some real writers on this site… tell me if it’s good or not.
Editors are going to look at these synopsises before looking at your actual work. You need to have the right amount of information so that they (a) want to read more, and (2) have what they need to understand what kind of story it will be. The goal is to be informative and precise.
You’ll have to look at each publication’s requirements for a synopsis. Some require 1 to about 20 pages double-spaced for a novel. Requirements will vary.
Some short story publications have asked for about a page or even just a paragraph. As to where to put it, every pub. asks for it in different places… did that read weird?
Double. Check. Everything. Then check it again.
Synopsis vs. Summary
I’ve seen submission notices asking for a synopsis and sum ask for a summary. As similar as they are… they’re not completely the same. Occasionally interchangeable, but still.
After searching through the results of ‘what’s the difference between a synopsis and summary’ and comparing about 7 of them, I like this one the best:
From my understanding, a synopsis would be a little longer and more detailed. You shouldn’t mind giving a spoiler or two if it’s necessary to the plot.
I hope I best explained my idea of a synopsis. Like anything, it’s going to require much practice and critique.
Thank you for your time.
This post was finished pretty late in the day. I joined my school’s film club and the meeting went long. It’s sort of nice having a hobby that makes me leave my house.
Also, when I start to listen to one song from the Hamilton musical soundtrack, I need to read the lyrics, so….