Examples, resources and research for your synopsis-writing brain

Image of a series of poorly-drawn stick people with caption: "So my story looks a bit like this."

So. We know what a synopsis is for, now we need to think about what it looks like. The first spanner in the works is the fact that there are no solid RULES around how a synopsis should be structured. Some read like super short stories; others are more like expanded bullet lists; and some turn out like a weird fever dream. But when a synopsis really works – no matter its format – it flows.

The best thing you can do at this point is to read a bunch of ‘em. Scour the resources below until you get the synopsis rhythm running through your head. Talk to yourself in the mirror. Collar an unsuspecting stranger/friend/colleague and describe your story to them. Get used to summarising that shiz before you even attempt to write anything down.

There are plenty of places to find examples of synopses on t’interwebs. We’re not gonna go through all of ‘em because Google exists, but here are some useful ones to get you started. Or have a browse of some Spark Notes Plot Overviews – ahhhh it’s like we’re back at school. Look up your favourite book and click on ‘Plot Overview’ to read a one-page summary. Check out this one for Lord of the Flies, or Wuthering Heights for a non-linear example. Or, back to Google, try doing an online search for ‘[your genre] + synopsis examples’ and see what comes up. Just don’t get yourself lost in the maze of general synopsis advice online. There’s A LOT of it. And you can spend hours and hours just researching – which is valuable time you could spend writing…

Do some research, read as many synopses as you can stand, then head to the forum and share a GREAT example you’ve found on your travels. Then it’s high time you had a go yourself, innit? We can’t put it off forever. Time to do this thing.

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