Archive for the 'Synopsis' Category

Dec 03 2010

Best premise I’ve encountered this month: Top Ten

Published by under Synopsis

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Top Ten: “A killer who believes himself an artist of unmatched talent is incensed by being placed last on the FBI’s most wanted list, and begins killing off those fugitives above him, each in a twisted manner that serves his creative vision.”  Hopefully your two-sentence synopsis is that interesting!

Hat-tip: J.A. Konrath.

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Oct 01 2009

More Tips on Writing Two-Sentence Synopses

Synopses that are just a sentence or two long are intensely useful because 1) they’re often required as part of the query process and 2) they convey a lot of information in very little time.  The editor or agent reading your manuscript has a thousand other manuscripts in his pile and you have maybe a minute or two to impress him before he tosses you.  The synopsis is your best opportunity to do so.

Here are a few tips about how to write an extremely short synopsis.

1. It’s usually more effective to refer to characters by their profession and/or key traits rather than by name. Calling him a “neurotic detective” tells us more about the character than calling him Adrian Monk. Unless the name adds something critical, I’d recommend leaving it out. (For example, if you’re writing about a real person, you obviously need to name him).

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23 responses so far

Oct 01 2009

Sharpening Your Concept With a Two-Sentence Synopsis

What’s your story about?

That question usually sets off a rambling and unappealing description of the novel or comic book.  As part of your query, you need to describe your book in 1-2 sentences (I’d recommend 10-30 words).  New authors often have a great deal of trouble doing so– they’re so intimately familiar with all the details of their work that it’s hard to see what the big picture is.

As a writing exercise, I’d like you to boil down a lengthy work into 1-2 sentences.  That’s not easy.  It forces you to make tough decisions about what is absolutely essential to the core of your novel or comic book.  It also provides you an response when someone asks you what your book is about. Having a simple, elegant introduction available is crucial.

Here’s an easy way to write a two-sentence synopsis.

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