Writing Books/synopsis


I have written a book, but I am not sure about the synopsis format and length. The book is 65,000 words. Could you give me information on what the synopsis should contain, and its length? When I looked at synopsis examples online, why did they look differently from one another? Is there a standard format?

Thank you.

Good evening Demetrius!

Everyone wishes there was a standard format but really there are only guidelines.  A good proposal needs to do the following things in the order they're listed:

1.  Introduce and describe your protagonist.  And by describe I don't mean a detailed physical description.  Use three adjectives that convey your protagonist's personality.  For example:  Stubborn, shy and warm hearted, Joe Smith faces the worst day of his life.

2.  Then, tell what it is that your protagonist lacks or wants and how far he/she would go to get it.  This is his/her motivation.

3.  Introduce and describe the antagonist.

4.  Introduce the conflict which is usually that the antagonist wants the same thing the protagonist wants and they both can't have it.  This can range anywhere from getting the girl next door or retrieving a missing nuclear bomb.

5.  Then give a compelling telling (active verbs, strong adjectives)of the major plot line concentrating on all the obstacles your protagonist must over come along the way.  And, be sure to include how the book ends.  The editor/agent you're pitching it to will need to know that it has a satisfactory ending.

6.  I don't know what type of novel you've written but at a length of 65,000 words you have five to ten pages to do all of the above and I would strongly advise keeping it as close to five as is inhumanly possible.  You'll feel like you can't get it any shorter, but you always can.

It's great that you're working on a synopsis.  Just make sure that you check the submission guidelines for whatever publisher or agent you want to pitch this book to.  Most want only a query letter in the first round.

I do offer critique and edit services for a proposal synopsis, as do others.  You can check me out at the web site below.

Good luck!  If I can answer any other questions, feel free to contact me here at All Experts again.

Liz Aleshire

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Liz Aleshire


What is a book proposal and why do I need one? Do I need a book proposal for both nonfiction and fiction books? How do I write a book proposal? What are the required components of a book proposal? What is an overview? What is a synopsis? How do I find out what other books are available on my topic so I can make my book different? How do I pitch to an agent/publisher? What's a query letter? What's a 30-second commercial?


I am the author of four nonfiction books: Private Lives of Ministers' Wives (with Rev. Sherry Taylor,New Horizon Press, New Jersey, 1991)and currently working on a second edition; Bugs: Stingers, Suckers, Sweeties, Swingers (a FRanklin Watts Frist Book, Chicago, 1993); The Confident Collector Identification and Price Guid to Quilts (with Kathleen Barach, Avon Books, NY, 1992); and, Official Price Guide to Quilts 2nd edition(with Kathleen Barach, Random House, NY, 2003.) I've taught How to Write the Book Proposal for the past ten years at the week long International Women's Writing Guild annual summer conference, and, at the Manchester Community College Continuing Education program. I've taught in many local continuing education programs in central Connecticut. Five authors have sold books using my methods for writing the book proposal. I have spoken at the Big Apple Conference, an IWWG event held in NYC; both Connecticut chapters of the Romance Writer's of America other writing conferences

Internation Women's Writing Guild, past associate member American Society of Journalists and Authors

Books for New Horizon Press. NJ; Franklin Watts (Now Scolastic)Danbury, CT; Avon Books, NYC; and, Random House, NYC

B.A in Economics from the University of Connecticut

Past/Present clients
Carren Strock, author Married Women Who Love Women; Doris Larson, travel writer, Ohio; MaryLou Streznewsi author Gifted Grownups.

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