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A synopsis is not a description of a story, but rather a selling tool.

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A description must remain faithful to your story.

A selling tool for your story is about whetting someone’s appetite. It is about representing your story deliciously so that someone wants to buy it.


Audio From Kim Wilkins – Writing A Synopsis


Listen as Kim discusses how to create a synopsis that will sell your story.

Don’t forget to download the audio notes below too (available in PDF format) before you listen to this week’s lesson so you can take notes.



PDF (right click and ‘Save As’): Audio Notes – Lesson 20 – Writing A Synopsis

Use this document to organise your notes while listening to the ‘Synopsis’ audio.


Divide your synopsis into beginning, middle and end.


  • Introduce character and context and conflict.


  • Summarising phrases
  • Increasingly, in time…


  • Specific reference to how the story ends.


Don’t include extensive character background. Don’t go into sub plots and minor characters, and keep it clean and tight.


How long should a synopsis be?

  • It changes from company to company so make sure you ask the agent/publisher you wish to submit to.
  • Normally a synopsis is restricted to 1-2 pages.


The language of a synopsis gives a taste of the story and your writing style. A great way to get started is with a list of words that reflect your story. Make sure you avoid causal chains and use language that reflects the theme and genre.

Once you have written your synopsis, read it aloud to make sure it flows.

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red avatar 5EXERCISE: Synopsis

Write a synopsis for your novel beginning with phrases that capture the feel of your story.


  1. Write down a list of around 20 words or short phrases that captures the feel of your story.
  2. Draft a synopsis, using the beginning-middle-end structure.
  3. Submit your phrases and synopsis on the Synopsis Forum.
  4. Read and comment on 3 – 4 (or more) of the other synopses. Do they make you want to buy the book and read it?


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