How Do You Write a Synopsis?

To write a well-structured synopsis, the author must follow the narrative framework of the manuscript. A good synopsis includes an explanation of the primary plot points and main characters, but leaves a bit of mystery to entice the reader.

A synopsis refers to the text, usually fiction, that summarizes the action of the novel or other piece of literature. With a novel, begin the synopsis with a strong opening paragraph that introduces the main character, reveals the primary action of the novel, and shows why it is significant for the protagonist. Write clearly and actively. Avoid using passive voice. Make the plot and development of characters clear, focusing on how the protagonist is changed throughout the text. Make sure that the synopsis explains to the reader why the text is unique and different from other work in the same genre.

If it is difficult to begin writing, develop questions a reader might ask about the novel, and then compose answers to the questions. It is also a good idea to ask a close friend who has never read the work to proofread, and then try to explain the plot back to the author. This reveals weak spots. If writing a synopsis of a nonfiction work, the rules are a bit different. Academic synopses are typically referred to as an abstract. Abstracts differ in that they include a summary of the writer's methodology and sources.