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  • Question on the dreaded synopsis

    Posted by cds cds on 23 October 2023 at 09:01

    Not sure if this is the right place to ask but I have a question about the dreaded synopsis 😖

    I know there is no standard and different people people specify different things so I have written what I hope will be generally acceptable (the only criterion that I have for a particular submission says 1 page.) But I know some people say max 500 words and other things.

    As it currently stands my synopsis is size 12 font, just under 500 words, 1.5 line spacing and exactly 1 page long.

    However my gut feel is that I have smoothed over the plot ups and downs too much to meet the length requirement. Is it ok to go to single line spacing to enable more plot detail? Although that would take me over 500 words! 😵 it’s a minefield!

    Any thoughts gratefully received.

    Ps I have posted my synopsis in peer to peer critiques if anyone has time to read / offer thoughts on how it can be improved. Thanks very much 🤞

    cds cds replied 4 months, 1 week ago 3 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Heather Huitt

    23 October 2023 at 09:14

    Hi cds,

    I have about a million synopses – short, long, fat, thin, depending on requirements. Unless they specifically state spacing (I seem to remember one competition wanting 1.5) I go for single.

    I’ll try and find yours now – I’d love to read it.

    • cds cds

      23 October 2023 at 09:30

      Thanks Heather, that would be really kind and helpful. I feel like the synopsis as it currently stands is selling the story short but is an improvement on previous attempts.

    • cds cds

      23 October 2023 at 10:04

      Ps it’s my ‘other’ project Jasmine not Witches

  • Laure Van Rensburg

    23 October 2023 at 10:25


    The main reasons for the mention of 500-word is that in the UK about 95% of all agents will either ask for a 1-page or a 500-word synopsis so if you can fit 500 words on one page then you can use the same synopsis for 95% of your queries. That’s for the UK though if it hasn’t changed since I submitted to agents.

    You will find the odd agents who asked for 300-word synopsis or longer ones but they are more the exception than the rule.

    I hope that helps.

    • cds cds

      23 October 2023 at 10:32

      Thanks Laure, that’s really helpful. I guess the thing that bothers me is that my synopsis seems to smooth the plot bumps a little too much and I don’t have much wriggle room to get in more detail. But that could simply be my inexperience at writing decent synopses. If you are able to take a look at my synopsis in peer to peer critiques i’d greatly appreciate it but don’t worry if you can’t!

      • Laure Van Rensburg

        23 October 2023 at 11:37

        No problem I’ll try to have a look.

        My advice is don’t try to reduce your book to 500 words, that’s impossible. Instead take the main plot points of your story (inciting incident, end of act I, midpoint, climax and denouement) and then add the connecting points and slowly build up to 500 words.

        • cds cds

          23 October 2023 at 13:51

          Thanks so much for this – looking back, I think you were right, I was trying to condense 40,000 words into 500 which was never going to work… I’ve tried to utilise your suggestions & have reworked the synopsis.