A few weeks ago we asked the writers on our Facebook page what they’d like some advice on. We have already had our master copywriter Ben North give out some tips on writing short copy, and now here’s our wonderful publisher Kim Young with some advice for writing your synopsis…
It’s a roadmap: Keep it big picture and not tiny details, an editor will read your writing and read your story to see where the journey takes them – the synopsis is like a road map in case they need a shortcut!
Be catchy: Are there cultural references that will help us understand what the themes of your book are or the tone of your voice? And don’t be scared to be different. It’s the Great Gatsby meets Mad Men –or it’s Bridget Jones if she shopped in ASOS…
Think about it as a book you’ve read. When you pass a book to a friend you say, you must read this because the ending will make you cry. Or I know you’ll love this because you fancy men who play the guitar. Try it out verbally first. How are you describing your book to your family, friends, writing buddies?
Keep it short and sweet: Two pages – MAX! Focus on character and turning points – whether that be emotional turning points or plot ones.
Try different things: If you’re talking a lot about character then write brief character sketches and then outline the plot. Put in pictures or split it into parts.
Think about your title, synopsis and story all working as one:
In fact, let me tell you a little story. It was 7pm, Charlotte and I were in the office, I needed to go home as I had a pile of paperwork to do and time was ticking on. I popped by Charlotte’s desk and was saying how amazing my skiing holiday has been and how I’d do anything to be on holiday. Charlotte joked that she’d just seen Confessions of a Chalet Girl come into the Impulse Inbox so she’d send it to my Kindle. I laughed… but a few hours later… more boring paperwork later I thought, go on then!
So – not quite a synopsis but the point is – I got the concept – I knew what the book was going to be about – it was going to be fun, sexy with lots of après ski *no comment on whether this matched my ski holiday!* The point is, I got the concept, my interest was piqued, I knew that if the story was as good as the concept we’d be flying – and we were! This is brilliant concept and a great story. We had our first 24 hour sale all because of the title and concept (and you can read Lorraine’s take on it here).
The most important thing though is to remember it is all in the writing. I always go to the first page of the story. Always. So capture my interest with your title/synopsis but always spend more time on your storytelling.