With the Novel Fair 2017 deadline only five days away, it is time to perfect that synopsis.

A synopsis is generally a one or two page summary of what happens, from beginning to end, in your story. It is the complete narrative arc of the story and even reveals the ending to hook your agent or publisher.

There is no one way to complete a synopsis, but here are some helpful hints that may come in handy for deadline day.

Use Present Tense

Your synopsis should be written in the present tense and in the third person.  It introduces your main characters, conflict and emotional arcs. The aim is to show the plot has layers that tie the conclusion.

Set The Scene

The opening paragraph should set the scene and create your world, introduce your characters and their conflicts. The person reading the synopsis will have no context for the story, so make it is clear and as concise as possible.


Think of the synopsis as your novel’s mini-me. It will have all the same basic points, just condensed. So, when you’re writing your synopsis, use the same font as your novel and make sure you double space any synopsis over two pages. Also, be sure to include your novel’s title in the header on the top-left hand corner.

Avoid Character Backstory

It can be tempting to give every minute detail about a character in your synopsis, but resist. A phrase or two is plenty to help indicate a character’s background. Try to only reference this if it effects how events unfold. You also don’t need dialogue, as the synopsis will focus solely on the overall arc of the plot.

Keep it Simple

Synopsis language should be stripped down. Try to avoid wordiness and just give the basics. For example, instead of saying Mary chased around the office, searching high and low for any sight of John in order to confront him about a comment he made in a staff meeting, try:

“Mary confronts John about his comments during the staff meeting.”

Remember: a synopsis should be short, sweet and to the point.

That’s all, folks. Don’t forget to check back here at for more writing tips or info on how we can help publish your book.

Best of luck, writers