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How to Write a Synopsis Of A Novel Or Movie?

how to write a synopsis

Most writers and content creators usually have a love-hate relationship with synopsis writing. This is justifiable because after spending a few weeks, months, or years writing a novel or a film script, the last thing one wants is to condense it into one page. Unfortunately, while most readers won’t judge your work by its cover, they’ll undoubtedly judge it with the synopsis. This makes knowing how to write a synopsis a necessary pain to anyone involved in content creation. The good news is that we’re here to make it a tad easier by explaining all you ought to know about writing a synopsis for a book or a film.

Definition Of Synopsis

A synopsis is like a window to any content, whether a film, a novel, or a 500-word essay. It spells out what exactly is happening inside a book or movie and informs the reader of the author’s intention at the time of creating the content. In simple terms, a book synopsis is a summary or outline of the central theme or the plot of a novel or film.

How To Write A Good Synopsis

Now, how do you write an intriguing one? Well, that depends on the kind of content because even though the rules are almost similar, the process of synopsis writing for a novel and a film is slightly different. This is why we broke down this article into two separate sections, to help you get a full grasp on your kind of content.

How to write a Novel Synopsis like a Pro

Crafting a short, enticing novel synopsis for it might seem like a formidable and impossible task. But by following the tips below, it can be a smooth-sailing process

  1. Know and Understand the Essential Parts of a Novel Synopsis

    As much as a synopsis is a summary of your novel, trying to summarize a mere 50 page into a 500 words synopsis is impossible, not to mention stressful. Understanding the three essential parts of a novel synopsis will enable you to write one that’s both informative and at the same time, intriguing.

    • The Characters

      A good synopsis should give your readers an idea of who the protagonist and the antagonist are in the story. After all, they form the foundation of the story. Therefore, ensure you briefly mention the primary and secondary characters. The keyword here is “briefly.” So unless need be, stick to the basics and let the reader figure out the rest while reading the novel.

    • The Conflict

      Every novel needs a conflict. It’s the fire that keeps the story going and what keeps the readers interested in their quest to find out how it all ends. Therefore, while writing a synopsis for a novel, ensure this element is also present. Again, the secret is being brief. The synopsis is only supposed to fuel the readers’ interest and drive them to find out more by reading the novel. So don’t spill all the tea here.

    • The Narrative Arc

      You also want to outline the character’s growth arc. Show how the protagonist evolves over the course of events. Highlight one big moment that changes the protagonist’s attitude and goals. For instance, how a forced marriage changes the protagonist’s views on love and how this affects the rest of the narrative arc.

  2. Draft an Overview

    The next step to successfully writing a synopsis for a book is drafting an overview. In your overview, describe who the protagonist is, the big moment that causes the conflict, and what makes your book interesting.

    With that, proceed to create an outline. The first paragraph should introduce your protagonist and the conflict. The second one should highlight the big moment the protagonist becomes the hero, and the third should show how the various conflicts are resolved, but it should also leave the reader curious. So don’t reveal everything.

  3. Bring it to Life

    The outline helps you organize your thoughts and now that you know what each paragraph should cover, the next step should be bringing your synopsis to life. Do this by writing more details about the ideas you created above.

Tips to Writing a Novel Synopsis

Now that you know the steps to follow when writing a novel synopsis, follow these tips to ensure you right a perfect one:

  • Write in the third person
  • Stick to basics and write in the present tense
  • State the category, for instance, “a great romance read”
  • Ensure the tone is the same as that of the story

How to Write a Film Synopsis That Will Sale

Looking for ways to write a film synopsis that sells? Follow the steps below.

  1. Craft a Superb Logline

    The logline gives your producer, director, or anyone else who’s relevant an idea of what your script is all about. Therefore, it’s wise to start your movie synopsis with a logline. State your premise so the reader can paint a picture of what’s about to go down. Keep in mind that a logline is very brief. In most cases, it’s usually two sentences or one.

  2. Get Your Reader Invested

    The next step to writing a film synopsis is getting your reader invested in the protagonist’s success so they can proceed to watch it. To do this, begin by putting the lead character in motion. Describe them in detail and why their experience is crucial to the rest of the film’s storyline.

  3. Include the Core Story

    As noted, a synopsis is simply a brief outline of the entire film. In other words, it’s like your script’s main story condensed into one page. Thus, it should also give the reader an idea of the core story. Therefore, other than getting the reader invested in the protagonist, ensure you include what they struggle with and what’s at stake if they fail to achieve it. However, only stick to the essential plot points, but at the same time, don’t spill the tea. If you go deep into the details, you’ll be denying the reader the pleasure of figuring out on their own. Most probably, you’re giving them reasons not to read the rest of the script as they are already aware of what’s about to go down and how it will happen. Therefore, include the core story and main points but don’t go deep into details.

  4. Use the Right Tone

    If the story is comical, make the reader laugh by going through the film synopsis alone. If it’s a mystery, get the suspense going, and if it’s a thriller, use the right element, so the reader becomes interested in the rest of the story. In other words, accurately tell your story in the same tone as the tone of the story.

More Tips to Keep In Mind When Writing a Synopsis for a Film

  • Write in present tense and third-person tone
  • Be visual, i.e., use strong words so the reader can paint a picture
  • Include the protagonist’s/narrative arc
  • Don’t forget to highlight the genre
  • Stick to the right length. That is, it should be long enough to include whatever the reader needs to know about your story, and at the same time, short enough, one can finish it in five minutes or less.
  • Consider including small bits of dialogue

Most writers hate the idea of writing a synopsis because it means boiling down ideas they’ve written on countless pages into one simple page. If you’re one, we are sure you understand the feeling, but unfortunately, it’s an essential part of novel or film scriptwriting. Furthermore, it determines whether the reader will go into the story or walk away. So the sooner you improve your prowess and learn how to write a good synopsis, the better your novel and film script performance. Contact professional writers, if you need more help with synopsis writing.

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