It appears that writing a synopsis is even more heinous than writing a 300-page novel. Luckily I've taken enough cough and cold medication to sum up some very good steps to follow so that it will all flow onto the page and make sense. Or not.

I must give a shout-out to Maya, a fellow Toronto Romance Writer member who gave me a bunch of suggestions on my WIP's synopsis that made a heck of a lot of sense. Okay, enough with the preamble, let's get to the list:

1. You've got to include goals, motivation and conflict. One out of three is not the way to go, it makes all of your characters really shallow and a bit, I dunno, flaky.

2. Only introduce main characters. Okay, this one actually came from the TRW critique session in March, but it's still a pretty good point. Introducing the same number of characters as synopsis pages (e.g., only eight characters for an 8-page synopsis) is an excellent idea.

3. Don't leave out too much. This can be tricky, since the next point is:

4. Don't leave it all in. You'll end up with a 300-page synopsis. And that's never a good thing.

5. Balance the story out. My current 6-page synopsis spends four pages on the first half of the book. My last two pages are a series of short sentences trying to finish everything off in a hurry. That's not ideal, especially for a romance novel. ;)

6. Try not to use the same word over and over again. Like liver. Or tuberculosis.

7. Tell the story without the reader needing to know the novel. An agent or contest judge is counting on that little pile of pages to engage them and make them want to read the first chapter...or request a full.

8. Remember to describe your characters' personalities. Apparently saying that a guy's hot is not enough. Who knew?

9. Write it in third person, even if your book is in first person. Think of this as your only shot to hook your agent, publisher or judge. Show what each main character is about so a reader can feel the conflicts, connections and other groovy emotions that come into play in your novel.

10. Step away from the synopsis for a day or two and then give it a long hard review. Then ask someone who doesn't know anything at all about your novel (a writer though, okay?) to read it. This is the scariest step, but that person will ask questions that someone who knows the story won't even consider.

Okay, now all I have to do is...make revisions. Sigh.

Does anyone have a tip or two on synopsis writing that they'd like to share? Pretty please?

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