Friday, July 18, 2014


There’s a lot of advice online and in books and at seminars on how to write a synopsis of your manuscript, much of it contradictory. They all agree that the synopsis must be interesting enough to grab the agent or editor, but disagree on how it’s done. How do you summarize your novel in two to three pages?

Could you summarize part of The Lord of the Rings? It’s been done.

Look at the start of The Two Towers, and you’ll find a synopsis of The Fellowship of the Ring. The start of The Return of the King repeats that and adds a synopsis for the The Two Towers. These are fine examples, so rather than coming up with a method, I’ll just say study those.

They have to be converted to present tense to pitch something new rather than summarize something already published. Also the beginnings have to be changed, so the synopsis of The Fellowship of the Ring would start with “Gandalf,” and the first paragraph of the synopsis of The Two Towers would be rewritten with active verbs, but these are the best examples I know.

With that in mind, I modified the synopsis for my vampire satire. Here is the original first sentence:

Dee is a homeschooling mother of two in a Seattle suburb who would rather teach her kids math or prepare them for a field trip to a salmon run than strangle the occasional vampire who invades their home.

And here’s the revised version:

As a homeschooling mother in a Seattle suburb, Dee would prefer to teach her kids math or prep them for a field trip to a salmon run, but right now she has to strangle another zombie-like vampire that has invaded their home.

I think that’s an improvement. Learn from the best. 


Cherie Reich said...

Love the revised version! It's much more active.

Stephanie Faris said...

I'm still getting a kick out of a homeschooling mom who kicks vampire butt! I like the revised version. Good job!


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