Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Harry Potter in Five Pages

The first page of the original synopsis of Harry Potter that J.K. Rowling sent to publishers is now online.

For those of you fortunate people who have never had to do this, agents, editors, and publishers often require a synopsis of a novel, along with sample pages. This is an incredibly . . . well, since I want to get published someday, I won’t finish that sentence. But think of it: You spend over a year writing a novel, then you have to summarize it in about three pages. And we’re told the synopsis has to be written in as interesting a way as the novel.

I can’t show you the page here. But to see the first page of the five-page synopsis J.K. Rowling wrote in 1995, click on the link below.

A couple things to note: A synopsis shouldn’t just be Person A does this, Person B does that. It should show what is unique about the novel. Also, the normal advice is to just name the main character, or perhaps a second character. J.K. Rowling named all three main characters, plus a couple others. I’m not sure if things are different for children’s book, of if the very names of the characters show what is interesting.

I’ve never been much of a Potter fan. But I did once have an incredibly detailed dream about the three main characters. 

photo by Megan


Crystal Collier said...

Awesome! I'm going to have to check it out. I have a love/hate relationship here. I can write really tightly, but hitting that wow element is the tricky part.

DEZMOND said...

A good synopsis can make you a millionaire :)

Mark Murata said...

Crystal, you have a better relationship with synopses that I do.

DEZMOND, I have to admit that's true. A novel has to boiled down to a version that can be passed around a conference table.


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