Synopsis – How to from Lara

The following site ( says, “Don’t make the mistake of thinking the synopsis just details the plot. That will end up reading like a very mechanical account of your story, and won’t offer any depth or texture; it will read like a story without any emotion.” In fiction, emotion is key.

Now, in terms of synopses in general, the following website ( might give you some additional things to consider. What follows is a direct quote from the website (→ with my comments inserted):

  • Beginning:Who is the character? What world do they live in? Why is she the lead of this novel? → Show the reader that the main character is someone who is somehow lacking. (Internal conflict is as important as the external, perhaps more so. See the quote from “Wired for Story” below.)
  • Drama:What happens to stir things up? Is a love interest introduced? Does someone get kidnapped or learn of their magical powers? → Show the emotion and stakes right from the start. Make sure the stakes are specific and personal. (For example, he lost his first love to the slave traders. Now he’s about to lose his second love to the assassins!)
  • Next steps:You must include consequences or results of the drama. Whether it be a quest, rebellion, road trip, or family intervention, the reader must know what the main character intends to do about their situation. → You describe events, but not Elijah’s specific reactions to what’s happening around him—or at least not in a way that shows a clear chain of cause and effect. Plot involves GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict). One thing the story seems to be lacking is a clear and specific book-length goal. Read the entire synopsis of Double Cross and note how there is a single overarching goal (solve the murder to save her own life) and one main source of conflict (someone wanted Sioban dead and now maybe Dunai too). The story is very focused, in contrast to what your synopsis suggests. Even if there are many different layers of story, the synopsis needs to show that main thread: the protagonist’s very personal goal and the central conflict that thwarts his goal.
  • What is at risk for the main character or those close to them? This is what drives most of the choices in your book, so you better believe the reader needs to know them. → As I said above, make it personal to Elijah.
  • Where does the height of tension or action occur? What leads up to it and what follows? Keep this section clear and point-blank. Over-excessive explanation can unnecessarily lengthen your synopsis and also confuse the reader as to how the book actually progresses. → Everything in the story leads to this moment, when the protagonist achieves both his internal and external goal and the conflict is resolved. I don’t get the sense that everything in your story is leading up to one climactic event. (See the note on “Next Steps” above.)
  • I know, I know, every fiber of your being is fighting against this. My ending isn’t meant to be unveiled before a reader enjoys the whole journey! Guess what? If you jump the shark anywhere in your book, an agent or editor wants to know.
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