How to Write a Synopsis

This post is for anyone signed up for Plot Chat at Storymakers 2019, but it might be useful for anyone looking to write a synopsis for querying/publishing.

The purpose of a synopsis is to give a solid idea of what your story is about. You should tell the whole story–don’t withhold plot twists or the ending. Basically, it’s a moderately detailed summary (I say moderately because I like it to be no more than two pages). This will help whoever reads it get a feel for your story.

My personal method is to write the synopsis without worrying about length and then cut out details, starting with things that are least important to the understanding of the story’s main plot. You *will* lose some things that feel important in a synopsis this short, but it’s really just about giving the highlights.

Here’s how I format my synopses for my agent and for publishers:

  • Times New Roman 12 point font
  • 1 inch margins
  • Single spaced paragraphs with a full line of white space between each one (like you’d write a business letter)
  • NO indent at the beginning of paragraphs
  • 1-2 pages
  • The first time a character’s name appears, it should be ALL CAPS. After that, just write it normally

Not everyone formats their synopses this way, but I’ve found that it looks neat, and no one has ever complained that I do it wrong. 🙂

Good luck!

About Caitlyn McFarland

Mom of three girls, writer of fantasy novels.
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