“You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft—then you can add all the genius you like.”
—Phyllis A. Whitney

How to Write a Successful Synopsis

In my last post, I mentioned that I gave my query letter, the first pages of my manuscript and a synopsis to an agent as part of a Writer’s Digest Boot Camp. Of the three, my synopsis was the most successful. The agent had zero comments and she said it was the best she read in the Boot Camp!

How did I do it? By getting tips from blogs like The Write Practice (it’s true!).

How to Write a Successful Synopsis

What is a Synopsis?*

A synopsis is a summary of your manuscript. That’s it. You get a chance to answer the question “what’s your novel about?” in one single-spaced page in an omniscient narrative voice. Usually it is required in the query process (along with a query letter and sample pages).

One tip that took off a lot of pressure for me is that the function of a synopsis is primarily practical. The synopsis is not about voice and beautifully-crafted prose—its purpose is to let the agent know what happens.

Use the Snowflake Method to Write Your Synopsis

Of all the steps in the writing/query process, I felt the most prepared to write a synopsis. Why?

Because I used the Snowflake Method.

There are many ways to organize your novel, but I used the Snowflake Method, where you start by describing your novel in one sentence, then expand it to a paragraph, then to a page. The final step before sitting down and writing is creating a scene list.

This approach gave me a clear view of the big picture throughout the entire writing and editing process. I first wrote those sentences and paragraphs years ago and they still sum up my novel. While the page/synopsis isn’t quite as accurate, the major plot points are certainly there.

If you’re still in the writing phase of your novel, I definitely suggest taking a break to write a draft synopsis—I think it’ll make the writing and pitching process a lot easier down the line.

Tell Your Story (Out Loud)

Tell your story and record it. Imagine you’re explaining it to a friend who’s willing to listen for more than two minutes.

My guess is that you’re going to do the following: 1) focus on what’s most important 2) omit flowery language and 3) share the plot with enthusiasm.

This is all you have to do to write a good synopsis! Just make sure you remember to reveal the end.

*Synopses are relevant to many different writing projects, but this post is focused on fiction.
Have you written a synopsis? What tips helped you? Let us know in the comments section.

PRACTICE

What’s your novel (or other writing project) about? Take fifteen minutes to tell us in one paragraph (i.e. write a synopsis!).

When your synopsis is complete, share it in the comments section for feedback.

Happy writing!

About Monica M. Clark

Monica is a lawyer trying to knock out her first novel. She lives in D.C. but is still a New Yorker. You can follow her on her blog or on Twitter (@monicamclark).

  • Great tips for not only the novelist but the more technical writer like myself. Talking it through out loud definitely makes me cut to the quick & eliminate the junk.

  • Here’s the synopsis for the novel I’m currently editing:

    Norman lives alone in a caravan by the sea. After a childhood spent dodging the wrath of a pill-popping mother, and a young-adult life fawning over a rosy-cheeked troublemaker, Norman has isolated himself with a notebook, a trunk full of vegetables, and a wooden row boat to protect his heart from any more hurt.

    When a big silver fish outsmarts him on a solo fishing trip, Norman finds himself on board a trading ship heading for a smugglers cove. He’s surrounded by people who don’t speak English and he’s certain that his old bones aren’t up to the adventure. Amidst pirate attacks, islands that hide dark secrets, and an elephant pilgrimage, Norman faces death numerous times. But, more importantly, he faces the possibility that he might never see his caravan again.

    With the help of new friends and even newer enemies, Norman must delve back into his past and accept the tragic series of events that led him to the lonely caravan by the sea in the first place.

    Any feedback much appreciated! 🙂

    • Natalie Melvin

      Hi Lizzie,

      Kudos to you for bravery of the first post and for writing synopsis of your story.
      It is indeed an intersting one.

      My two cents are: Make sure you sprinkle it with lots of hooks. This is, in a way, how you can tell any story in more engaging manner.

      Consider the major turning points and brainstorm how you can make them absolutely irresistible.

      Hope this helps.

      Happy writing.

      • Thanks Natalie for the advice! I like the idea of highlighting the major turning points – I’ll work this into the next draft of my synopsis!

    • M.C. Muhlenkamp

      Hey Lizzie! I’m also working on my synopsis. I’ve done so much research on it I can probably write a how-to better than my actual synopsis! Keep it under 500 words for a one-page synopsis. I like your starting paragraph, it has a lot of info packed in very few sentences.

      You gave me an overall idea of what the book is about, but now you have to spill the details (the most important ones). Be specific, don’t leave me guessing as to what secrets, attacks, and other encounters are the most important ones. This is not a blurb or a hook where you can afford to be vague in order to spike curiosity.

      Do talk out loud! I’ve done it. It works like a charm. If you want to trade feedback on synopses, let me know. Would love to work with you, since we are both at the same stages of development.

      • Thanks for the feedback! I was hesitant to go into detail as I know synopses are supposed to be short, but I think I have a bit of room to play around with. Will definitely add in more specifics – hopefully that’ll make it more enticing!

        It’s great finding someone at the same stage to bounce ideas off – I’m happy to trade feedback and work together!

        • M.C. Muhlenkamp

          Great Lizzie. You can connect with me through twitter @ mcmuhlenkamp. If you want to trade emails through there just shoot me a tweet.

    • This sounds intriguing. One thing I would say is that at first I pictured Norman to still be young (maybe mid-to-late twenties). Later you mention his “old bones” so I had to re-picture him in my mind. I suppose the reason I pictured him still young is because you shared about his childhood and young-adult life, but directly followed it by sharing how he’s isolated himself. Anyway, I like the synopsis. It sounds like Norman has a great character arch. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

      • Thanks Joy, I’m glad you mentioned this! This info was initially in the first sentence – “Norman is an old man who lives alone in a caravan by the sea” but on another critique someone said that it made it too clunky and they preferred just “Norman lives alone in a caravan by the sea”. I actually prefer including his age in the first sentence, because that is a major part of the story so I think I’ll go back to how it was 🙂

    • well done! Just enough to want more.

    • EndlessExposition

      This sounds like a wonderful blend of whimsy and tragedy, and your synopsis balances the two wonderfully. I would love to read this, it’s incredibly intriguing.

    • Deborah Huff-Horwood

      Old bones? I had him as a man in his 20s… does that help?! Plot sounds good 🙂

      • Definitely helps Deborah, thanks! I initially had his age in the first sentence, but was told it was too clunky. Now I think I should definitely have it there to save confusion. Thanks for your feedback, much appreciated 🙂

  • Lisa Buie-Collard

    Enjoyed this and am off to give it a try…

  • The story of two German soldiers and what led to their desertion from the Third Reich. This intricate story of intrigue and mystery, interspersed with romance and high powered action. Ending with an explosive and exciting conclusion.

    Sounds good to me?

    • M.C. Muhlenkamp

      Sounds super interesting, Tony! Keep at it 🙂

      • Thanks, I have about 8000 words and 30 pages. I keep on getting more ideas for plot expansion daily.

  • M.C. Muhlenkamp

    I cannot help laughing as I read this. I just finished writing the first draft of my synopsis this morning. Couldn’t have picked a better time for this post. Here it is:

    In a world where shapeshifters inherit their powers through magical pendants, legend tells of an ancient stone that can steal magic from others, granting its bearer supremacy over them. Only three pendants exist that can lead to its location.

    Jesse Radcliffe, a shapeshifter with a knack for insubordination, inherited one such pendant from his uncle. When he discovers that the other two shifters sharing his gift live unaware of their powers in the human world, he travels there to reinstate them. His uncle and mentor consents to help, but only if Jesse agrees to his terms.

    Jesse compels Marcus Youle and Jeanne Anderson to join him. But Jeanne is the carrier of an ancient curse intended to destroy Jesse’s lineage. Her presence triggers the powerful spell and exposes it through strange markings on his skin and jolts of pain.

    To help Marcus and Jeanne embrace their heritage, Jesse introduces them to the Realm of Condle, an ancient city where societal Orders rule and shifters learn to wield their magic through the study of martial arts. There, he reveals the true extent of their abilities, the danger they would be in if discovered by Wangdu—the man seeking the fabled stone, and the legend of a divided diagram that would connect the power of the three pendants.

    While attending one of Condle’s most prestigious academies, viper-morphing shifters working for Wangdu, and who have the ability to corrupt souls, infiltrate the school. In the assault, Jesse is marked with a tracking enchantment that would allow them to capture him in the future. Following clues left during the attack, Jesse, Jeanne, and Marcus discover that Jesse’s uncle belongs to a secret guild. When confronted, he confesses that he too is searching for the fabled stone, but that Wangdu already possess three out of six pieces of the lost diagram. He then recruits Marcus’s help to recover one of the remainder pieces.

    Jeanne fears for Marcus’s life. She follows him, leaving Jesse behind as a safeguard from the vipers. But when the viper shifters find him, it is Jeanne they want. Jesse escapes to warn her. He finds both Jeanne with Marcus, unharmed and successful at retrieving the piece of the diagram. But the viper shifters discover them upon their return. Jesse and Jeanne manage to overcome the first group, but soon learn they have taken Marcus.

    Jesse’s uncle and other guild members rescue Marcus. They suffer heavy losses, but manage to hold the defenses long enough for Jesse to take Jeanne to the human realm. Jesse’s uncle is captured during the escape. Once in the human world Jesse begins planning a rescue mission to retrieve his uncle and the remainder of the diagram pieces. He takes Jeanne to her home, only to discover that her adoptive parents—who everyone believed were human—are in fact the ones responsible for the viper attacks. They apprehend Jesse and Jeanne and confess that Jeanne’s adoptive father is Wangdu.

    • Tom Evans

      I would avoid the phrase, in a world. It has been overused of late, and so is a bit of a turn off. That would be a pity, because the story itself sounds interesting.

      • M.C. Muhlenkamp

        Thanks Tom!

    • Wow, this sounds really interesting and intricate with lots of different twists and turns! I like the first paragraph and the detail that you go into – I have a great sense of what goes on. My only advice would be to introduce Marcus and Jeanne in a less-confusing way… I assume (well, after reading more, I KNOW) that they are the two other shifters that share Jesse’s gift, but this isn’t made clear when you first mention them.

      Looking good, though!

      • M.C. Muhlenkamp

        That’s awesome advice! Thank you Lizzy. We get so close to a project that outside perspectives are the only thing that can pull the blindfold down 🙂

  • Orson

    “ALGORITHM”

    STOLEN NASA LAPTOP HAD SPACE STATION CODES –

    A NASA laptop stolen last year had not yet been encrypted,
    despite containing codes used to control and command the International Space
    Station, the agency’s inspector general told a U.S. House committee.

    NASA Inspector General Pat Martin said in written testimony
    to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology that an important item was
    stolen in March 2011, which resulted in the loss of algorithms used to command
    and control the ISS. In addition, Martin also told the committee that in 2013
    and 2014, NASA reported 6,412 computer security incidents from individuals and
    foreign intelligence services seeking to further their countries objectives.

    In the worst case scenario, the missing item containing the codes could fall into the hands of a criminals whose associates has hired heavies to find the person in possession of the item. That person is a young bombshell of a woman – svelte, intelligent and deadly. Her name is Ganymeade. It is the year 2022. She travels on a hover-bike wearing a black knapsack to match most of the garb she
    dons. She parks along the side of a road and enters a large terminal. She
    appears to time everything according to plan so she can board a train and leave
    town in a hurry with a ticket in hand. Some men have been on the lookout for
    her; they spot her stationary hover-bike located directly across from the
    terminal. They receive instructions via a wireless over-the-ear device
    resembling a Bluetooth gadget.

    As Martin continues to make his statements now accentuating the positive, we see that a team has been deployed to search for the item and its carrier. The best thing that could happen is that it is recovered with the codes remaining safe from villainous hands since control of the ISS by enemies could spell disaster for millions of people. Populations could be wiped from the face of the earth and other planets with the command to arm and fire an enormous beam of directed energy at any desired location. Ganymeade spots the men; three from the west entrance, three from the east entrance and four from the front, northern entrance. They find their way into the terminal with the immediate aim of blending in with the travelers. The men haven’t spotted her yet – the Ganymeade is two steps ahead of them. She winces in pain and checks her wound which requires medical attention. She avoids the cameras in the building – all but one. Each of the men looks up and spots her. She realizes where the hidden camera was stationed. Nonetheless,she wastes no time and gets moving among the crowd to lure her pursuers into another area of the terminal, a dimly lit corridor on the lower concourse. The men are on the alert and armed with knives, they move in. It appears they have her cornered – both of the possible exits are blocked off. Ganymeade is outnumbered seven-to-one but in a flash none of that matters! She
    single-handedly maims all of her attackers and escapes.

    Ganymeade makes it to the platform and boards her train. There were three other men who still remained and they failed to catch up to her. While in the restroom, she tends to her wound, patching herself up nicely. Farther along into the trip, she finds a thirty-somethings man, Steven, from which to sit across and with whom she would converse. They get acquainted and she eventually slips the black knapsack into Steven’s
    possession when he sets himself to get some sleep. Ganymeade spots and
    recognizes a man outside of the train at a stop and he boards. At once she deems
    this her cue to leave… fast! The man really isn’t a man at all. He’s an android
    and wearing a brimmed hat with dark glasses it uses its optics for facial
    recognition while feigning to find a seat. Ganymeade is identified by the
    android and it follows her. She disembarks so that the train doors close at the
    moment the android nears the exit. The train heads to its next destination –
    Ganymeade is safe for now.

    Ganymeade and Steven have made a connection. Steven awakens
    at the moment Ganymeade takes off finding the black knapsack she had by him. Steven grabs the knapsack. At once he’s concerned and a bit baffled; why is an attractive young woman he just met leaving her bag behind, but not just behind – with him! The android sends a message to his employer that Ganymeade has gotten away. It then receives instructions and brushes right past Steven. It is later revealed that more than one criminal organization is after her, knowing that she has an idea of the item’s whereabouts. The leader of the crime syndicate, Wes Kinnister seeks financial
    gain in selling the stolen item to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, a competing
    criminal mastermind, Guytan has different goals. His brother is a convicted
    felon currently being held in Terra-1 Penitentiary located underground and
    Guytan wants him set free along with a handful of his cronies. A trade is what
    he wants, but not without an ultimatum. Guytan’s men successfully bring in Ganymeade
    so as to interrogate her with force if need be and they are very aware of her skills as
    a secret agent. Guytan learns that the item he wants is in Steven’s possession. Meanwhile, the android finds Steven’s apartment building.

    Ganymeade’s ex-lover, Shinji tracks her whereabouts and rescues her from Guytan’s site. Shinji’s group gets them out after leaving a trail of bloodshed behind. It’s revealed that Ganymeade and Shinji are working together. Ganymeade had to deviate from the plan or else the item would’ve been found and she would’ve been killed. She argues this point for a moment with Shinji and she encourages him to help her find Steven.

    Steven had opened the knapsack and found the laptop – property of NASA. He opens it and nosily explores, but that alone brings the android straight to him! He faces off against the 6’3” android and demonstrates that he can handle himself despite the indefatigable energy which the android possesses. An exciting showdown gets cut short when Steven has a plummets from atop a building structure along with the android. However, he survives – Ganymeade and Shinji arrive in perfect time to save Steven from his fall. The android lands on his feet upon reaching the ground.

    The encounter between all three is not without mild discomfort.
    Shinji notices how Ganymeade looks at Steven. And similarly, Steven sees that Ganymeade is elated that no harm has come to him but now feels that Ganymeade had been keeping her friend, Shinji a secret. As she sees it, Ganymeade saw no reason to
    mention Shinji especially since the relationship she shares with him is no longer a sexual one. Shinji nonetheless, still has feelings for her.

    The three of them eventually find that something has stopped the traffic ahead – a team working for Kinnister detains their vehicle, and upon finding that they’re being trapped the trio decides to make a daring exit. For a few miles a chase ensues. Unfortunately a huge vehicle seemingly comes out of nowhere and slams into them! All three are captured by Kinnister’s men. As they are about to be tortured, Ganymeade deceives the lead affiliate. The laptop, she claims to have much more valuable intel than the codes which the stolen laptop offers. She attempts to negotiate a deal and tricks the men into opening and using the laptop. Kinnister’s head operative puts an end to it. Ganymeade is separated from the pack. Shinji awakens and realizes he’s bound in a metal chair while Steven appears defenseless, handcuffed to an overhead pipe. Inside of a few minutes Ganymeade is drugged. Steven snares one of the men and breaks free. He then gets Shinji loose. At the moment one of Kinnister’s
    operatives expresses lustful desires for Ganymeade, Steven enters the room,
    saving her. A shootout takes place. Shinji joins in the fray and together they
    handle the heavies who attempt to overwhelm with their numbers. Ganymeade is
    knocked out on account of the drug. The escape has grown into a complicated
    mess but it is a success. Shinji is impressed with Steven who later reveals
    that he was once special ops agent. Kinnister now has the laptop, but suddenly
    the android shows up to the site and leads a massive ruckus. Its directive is
    to find the laptop. Kinnister attempts to take on the android in hand-to-hand
    combat but dies. Having killed everyone remaining, the android obtains the laptop for Guytan and now he appears to have the upper hand. It is up to Steven, Shinji, and Ganymeade to hatch a plan and execute it before Guytan can gain control of the ISS.

    • I think its too much, For me a synopsis should be short and sweet, with some hooks.

      • Orson

        Thank you for your pithy comment. Simple. Straightforward. Candid. I’ll reduce my synopsis to one page and re-post it here!

      • Orson

        Here’s a revamped two-page synopsis of the prior posted version. I welcome your comments and criticism.

        “ALGORITHM”

        It is the year 2022. An unencrypted NASA laptop which contains codes used to control and command the International Space Station, has
        been stolen by Ganymeade, a young bombshell of a woman – svelte,
        intelligent and deadly. While toting the laptop in her knapsack, she arrives on a hover-bike to a large terminal where she lures a group of hired men following her, all of whom attack her to obtain the knapsack. Using her fighting skill she puts down each of her attackers and boards a train headed to Trenton. She treats a wound in the restroom and then meets Steven Phan farther along into the trip.

        As NASA Inspector General Pat Martin, makes his statements to the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, a team has been deployed to search for the item and its carrier.

        Ganymeade recognizes someone standing on the train platform at one of the stops and when he boards, she slips her knapsack into Steven’s possession while he sleeps. The man, donning a brimmed hat and glasses, is actually an android that combs the crowd and spots Ganymeade with facial recognition technology. It follows her. She
        disembarks, barely escaping as the train doors close at the exit.

        Steven awakens and finds the black knapsack beside him. The android sends a message to his employer that Ganymeade has gotten away. It then receives instructions and brushes right past Steven. Wes Kinnister is the employer of a crime syndicate and seeks financial gain in selling the stolen laptop to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, a rival criminal mastermind, Seth Guytan has different goals. His brother Silas, a convicted felon, is held in Terra-1 Penitentiary located underground, and Guytan wants him set free along with a handful of cronies. Guytan’s heavies find and bring in Ganymeade so as to interrogate her with force if necessary. He learns that the laptop is in Steven’s possession. Meanwhile, the android finds Steven’s apartment building.

        Ganymeade’s ex-lover, Shinji tracks her whereabouts and rescues her from Guytan’s site, leaving a trail of bloodshed. Both Ganymeade and Shinji work together as secret agents, and in forfeiting Guytan’s capture, they set out to look for Steven.

        Steven, having opened the knapsack, activates the laptop which sets off a tracking signal that the 6-foot tall android follows straight to his door. Steven demonstrates that he can handle himself despite the indefatigable energy of the android. An exciting showdown gets cut short when Steven plummets from atop a building structure along with the android. However, he survives – Ganymeade and Shinji arrive in perfect time to save Steven from his fall. The android lands on his feet upon reaching the ground.

        The encounter between all three is not without mild discomfort. Nonetheless, they move past it and no sooner than this happens, they
        find that a trap has been set, causing them to drive evasively from Kinnister’s men. For a number of miles a chase ensues and it ends with a huge vehicle that seemingly darts out of nowhere and slams into them. The three are captured. Kinnister orders that the trio be tortured, but he is deceived by Ganymeade into activating the laptop. As she is drugged, Steven snares one of the men and breaks free. He gets Shinji loose. Eventually the two men reach Ganymeade and ensure her safety as they battle their way to freedom. Shinji is impressed
        with Steven who reveals that he was once special ops agent.

        Suddenly, the android shows up to the site and leads a massive ruckus. Kinnister attempts to take on the android in hand-to-hand combat and
        dies. Having killed everyone remaining, the android obtains the laptop for Guytan.

        Steven, Shinji, and Ganymeade hatch a plan to electronically track the laptop to prevent Guytan from gaining control of the ISS. A Terra-1 insider sends a message to Silas to be ready to get to the surface. The NASA codes are used to enable the ISS to control the electronic systems of Terra-1 and Silas escapes with the small group of others designated for the jailbreak and gets wounded by a security officer’s gunshot in the process.

        Shinji races his small team to Guytan’s alternate site as Ganymeade tries to employ an algorithm on her notebook computer to remotely override the ISS instructions. As they get near to Guytan’s location, the ISS deploys a projectile under Guytan’s command and destroys their vehicle. Shinji sacrifices himself in the blast while Steven uses Ganymeade’s hoverbike to get both himself and Ganymeade to safety. While en route, Ganymeade successfully finishes the task
        on her computer, restoring some order to the Terra-1 Penitentiary. Steven and Ganymeade find Guytan’s site and blast their way inside, taking out the gunmen they encounter. Steven and Guytan face off while Ganymeade lures the android to more optimal fighting conditions. Steven kills Guytan and rushes to assist Ganymeade in fighting the android. Together they destroy it with an explosive and recover the NASA laptop. The team deployed to search for the laptop arrives in time to save Steven and Ganymeade from the ensuing fire.

        Pat Martin once again addresses the committee relaying that all
        threats were neutralized and that the NASA laptop is back in the right hands with encryption embedded to prevent future catastrophes. Steven is offered a new job as a government specialist. He visits Ganymeade.

        Silas and the other men sprung from prison make it to the surface. However, Silas manages to strip a pistol from the insider and kills everyone. Only he is left standing.

        • Muhlenkamp put it just right. His critique is on point. I think 200 words is not too little for a writer to impress an audience. I wish you well my friend.

    • M.C. Muhlenkamp

      Orson, this concept is fabulous! I want to read the whole thing. I am a bit of a sci-fi geek though. I have to agree with Tony that it is a bit too long. A one-page synopsis should stay under 500 words. You might think 500 words isn’t enough to spell out your fabulous masterpiece. Take a deep breath, it’s okay. 500 words is enough. I promise.

      A few tips I’ve picked up over research and sleepless nights.

      1. You don’t need to flower up your descriptions. Example: “He opens it and nosily explores, but that alone brings the android straight to him!” I don’t need to know he explores nosily. Another example: “In the worst case scenario, the missing item containing the codes could fall into the hands of a criminals whose associates has hired heavies to find the person in possession of the item. That person is a young bombshell of a woman – svelte, intelligent and deadly. Her name is Ganymeade.” I don’t need to know that this scenario could be the worst. I immediately assume it is from the beginning. Bottom line, cut to the chase. One point after another, without flowering. This is not the place to show your voice or explore your characters. It is only a description of main events from beginning to end in order to show the overall plot of your story.

      2. Don’t mention more than 3, maybe (and that’s a big maybe) 4 characters by name tops. Protagonist, antagonist, and side-kick/love interest/contagonist. Too many names and it will become too much to keep track. Refer to everyone else by their roles in the book. Also, stick to the main plot.

      3. Was that the end of the book? “Having killed everyone remaining, the android obtains the laptop for Guytan and now he appears to have the upper hand. It is up to Steven, Shinji, and Ganymeade to hatch a plan and execute it before Guytan can gain control of the ISS.” Just wanted to double check. This is not the place to keep the ending hidden in order to peek interest. Hooks are for that, pitches are for that, blurbs are for that. Synopses aren’t.

      I hope this helps. Your story sounds fabulous and I really mean that. If you want me to have a second pass at your synopsis, let me know. I’d love to do it. You can connect with me through twitter @ mcmuhlenkamp.

      • Orson

        I greatly appreciate your input! I’m rewriting the synopsis and would love to have you read the newer version. There IS more at the end – the rewritten synopsis will really have what would be deemed a true ending! I’ll get back to work on it now.

      • Orson

        “ALGORITHM”

        It is the year 2022. An unencrypted NASA laptop which contains codes used to control and command the International Space Station, has
        been stolen by Ganymeade, a young bombshell of a woman – svelte,
        intelligent and deadly. While toting the laptop in her knapsack, she arrives on a hover-bike to a large terminal where she lures a group of hired men following her, all of whom attack her to obtain the knapsack. Using her fighting skill she puts down each of her attackers and boards a train headed to Trenton. She treats a wound in the restroom and then meets Steven Phan farther along into the trip.

        As NASA Inspector General Pat Martin, makes his statements to the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, a team has been deployed to search for the item and its carrier.

        Ganymeade recognizes someone standing on the train platform at one of the stops and when he boards, she slips her knapsack into Steven’s possession while he sleeps. The man, donning a brimmed hat and glasses, is actually an android that combs the crowd and spots Ganymeade with facial recognition technology. It follows her. She
        disembarks, barely escaping as the train doors close at the exit.

        Steven awakens and finds the black knapsack beside him. The android sends a message to his employer that Ganymeade has gotten away. It then receives instructions and brushes right past Steven. Wes Kinnister is the employer of a crime syndicate and seeks financial gain in selling the stolen laptop to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, a rival criminal mastermind, Seth Guytan has different goals. His brother Silas, a convicted felon, is held in Terra-1 Penitentiary located underground, and Guytan wants him set free along with a handful of cronies. Guytan’s heavies find and bring in Ganymeade so as to interrogate her with force if necessary. He learns that the laptop is in Steven’s possession. Meanwhile, the android finds Steven’s apartment building.

        Ganymeade’s ex-lover, Shinji tracks her whereabouts and rescues her from Guytan’s site, leaving a trail of bloodshed. Both Ganymeade and Shinji work together as secret agents, and in forfeiting Guytan’s capture, they set out to look for Steven.

        Steven, having opened the knapsack, activates the laptop which sets off a tracking signal that the 6-foot tall android follows straight to his door. Steven demonstrates that he can handle himself despite the indefatigable energy of the android. An exciting showdown gets cut short when Steven plummets from atop a building structure along with the android. However, he survives – Ganymeade and Shinji arrive in perfect time to save Steven from his fall. The android lands on his feet upon reaching the ground.

        The encounter between all three is not without mild discomfort. Nonetheless, they move past it and no sooner than this happens, they
        find that a trap has been set, causing them to drive evasively from Kinnister’s men. For a number of miles a chase ensues and it ends with a huge vehicle that seemingly darts out of nowhere and slams into them. The three are captured. Kinnister orders that the trio be tortured, but he is deceived by Ganymeade into activating the laptop. As she is drugged, Steven snares one of the men and breaks free. He gets Shinji loose. Eventually the two men reach Ganymeade and ensure her safety as they battle their way to freedom. Shinji is impressed
        with Steven who reveals that he was once special ops agent.

        Suddenly, the android shows up to the site and leads a massive ruckus. Kinnister attempts to take on the android in hand-to-hand combat and
        dies. Having killed everyone remaining, the android obtains the laptop for Guytan.

        Steven, Shinji, and Ganymeade hatch a plan to electronically track the laptop to prevent Guytan from gaining control of the ISS. A Terra-1 insider sends a message to Silas to be ready to get to the surface. The NASA codes are used to enable the ISS to control the electronic systems of Terra-1 and Silas escapes with the small group of others designated for the jailbreak and gets wounded by a security officer’s gunshot in the process.

        Shinji races his small team to Guytan’s alternate site as Ganymeade tries to employ an algorithm on her notebook computer to remotely override the ISS instructions. As they get near to Guytan’s location, the ISS deploys a projectile under Guytan’s command and destroys their vehicle. Shinji sacrifices himself in the blast while Steven uses Ganymeade’s hoverbike to get both himself and Ganymeade to safety. While en route, Ganymeade successfully finishes the task
        on her computer, restoring some order to the Terra-1 Penitentiary. Steven and Ganymeade find Guytan’s site and blast their way inside, taking out the gunmen they encounter. Steven and Guytan face off while Ganymeade lures the android to more optimal fighting conditions. Steven kills Guytan and rushes to assist Ganymeade in fighting the android. Together they destroy it with an explosive and recover the NASA laptop. The team deployed to search for the laptop arrives in time to save Steven and Ganymeade from the ensuing fire.

        Pat Martin once again addresses the committee relaying that all
        threats were neutralized and that the NASA laptop is back in the right hands with encryption embedded to prevent future catastrophes. Steven is offered a new job as a government specialist. He visits Ganymeade.

        Silas and the other men sprung from prison make it to the surface. However, Silas manages to strip a pistol from the insider and kills everyone. Only he is left standing.

  • Lauren Timmins

    Are there specific ways or formats to use when writing a synopsis? For example, I read one where each time a character was introduced, their name was capitalized.

    • Hi Lauren! In the Bootcamp they just said that the synopsis should be one page single spaced. I didn’t capitalize the character names, but I’m sure that as long as you’re consistent either way is fine. Hope this helps!

  • EndlessExposition

    I’ve done this type of exercise a few times on here with my novel, so as not to bore you all too much this time I’ll synopsize the TV pilot I’ve been working on (for ages):

    Jackson Bryant has lived for years in the shadow of his father, a war hero killed overseas when Jack was a little boy. Jack’s dream is to be as great a man as his dad was. To his mind though he’s got a long way to go from who he is now: a skinny, friendless teenager obsessed with ancient mythology and collecting graphic T-shirts. But Jack’s life goes from sub-average to extraordinary in a day when his school is attacked by hostile aliens and somehow he blasts one through a wall. Jack has superpowers, and he’s kind of freaking out. Then he’s discovered by the mysterious Dr. Cobalt, and finds himself agreeing to fight evil with five other kids:

    Emma Cohen, a half-alien spitfire fighting to overcome her family’s prejudice against her sexuality.

    Eric Krasinsky, a mind reader with a passion for stiletto heels who spends a lot of time being exasperated at pathetic bullies.

    Wendy Fan, popular girl and speedster, attempting to maintain her perfect life while simultaneously saving the world.

    Justin Morrow, jock, aforementioned pathetic bully, and werewolf, struggling to find himself.

    Magdalena Hernandez, a gruff high school drop-out, trying to leave behind a life of gangland crime to be true to her murdered uncle’s memory and herself.

    Together, they are the Mavericks. Fighting crime, fucking shit up and doing other hero-ish things.

    The hardest part of doing this is making it simple and no-nonsense. I think I failed.

  • Orson

    This is a two-page synopsis entitled…

    “ALGORITHM”

    It is the year 2022. An unencrypted NASA laptop which contains codes used to control and command the International Space Station, has been stolen by Ganymeade, a young bombshell of a woman – svelte, intelligent and deadly. While toting the laptop in her knapsack, she arrives on a hover-bike to a large terminal where she lures a group of hired men following her, all of whom attack her to obtain the knapsack. Using her fighting skill she puts down each of her attackers and boards a train headed to Trenton. She treats a wound in the restroom and then meets Steven Phan farther along into the trip.

    As NASA Inspector General Pat Martin, makes his statements to the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, a team has been deployed to search for the item and its carrier.

    Ganymeade recognizes someone standing on the train platform at one of the stops and when he boards, she slips her knapsack into Steven’s possession while he sleeps. The man, donning a brimmed hat and glasses, is actually an android that combs the crowd and spots Ganymeade with facial recognition technology. It follows her. She disembarks, barely escaping as the train doors close at the exit.

    Steven awakens and finds Ganymeade’s knapsack beside him. The android sends a message to his employer that Ganymeade has gotten away. It then receives instructions and brushes right past Steven.

    Wes Kinnister is a leader of a crime syndicate and seeks financial gain in selling the stolen laptop to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, a rival criminal mastermind, Seth Guytan has different goals. His brother Silas, a convicted felon, is held in Terra-1 Penitentiary located underground, and Guytan wants him set free along with a handful of cronies. Guytan’s heavies find and bring in Ganymeade so as to interrogate her with force if necessary. He learns that the laptop is in Steven’s possession. Meanwhile, the android finds Steven’s apartment building.

    Ganymeade’s ex-lover, Shinji tracks her whereabouts and rescues her from Guytan’s site, leaving a trail of bloodshed. Both Ganymeade and Shinji operate together as secret agents, and in forfeiting Guytan’s capture, they set out to look for Steven.

    Steven, having opened the knapsack, activates the laptop which sets off a silent tracking signal that the 6-foot tall android follows straight to his door. Steven demonstrates that he can handle himself despite the indefatigable energy of the android. An exciting showdown gets cut short when Steven plummets from atop a building structure along with the android. However, he survives – Ganymeade and Shinji arrive in perfect time to save Steven from his fall. The android lands on his feet upon reaching the ground.

    The encounter between all three is not without mild discomfort. Nonetheless, they move past it and no sooner than this happens, they find that a trap has been set, causing them to drive evasively from Kinnister’s men. For a number of miles a chase ensues and it ends with a huge vehicle that seemingly darts out of nowhere, slamming into them. The three are captured. Kinnister orders that the trio be tortured, but he is deceived by Ganymeade into activating the laptop. As she is drugged, Steven snares one of the men and breaks free. He gets Shinji loose. Eventually the two men reach Ganymeade and ensure her safety as they battle their way to freedom. Shinji is impressed with Steven who reveals that he was once a special ops agent.

    Suddenly, the android shows up to the site and leads a massive ruckus. Kinnister attempts to take on the android in hand-to-hand combat and dies. Having killed everyone remaining, the android obtains the laptop for Guytan.

    Steven, Shinji, and Ganymeade hatch a plan to electronically track the laptop to prevent Guytan from gaining control of the ISS. A Terra-1 insider sends a message to Silas to be ready to get to the surface. The NASA codes are used to enable the ISS to control the electronic systems of Terra-1, and Silas escapes with the small group of others designated for the jailbreak, getting wounded by a security officer’s gunshot in the process.

    Shinji races his small team to Guytan’s alternate site as Ganymeade tries to employ an algorithm on her notebook computer to remotely override the ISS instructions. As they get near to Guytan’s location, the ISS deploys a projectile under Guytan’s command and destroys their vehicle. Shinji sacrifices himself in the blast while Steven uses Ganymeade’s hoverbike to get both himself and Ganymeade to safety. While en route, Ganymeade successfully finishes the task on her computer, restoring some order to the Terra-1 Penitentiary. Steven and Ganymeade find Guytan’s site and blast their way inside, taking out the gunmen and other members of Guytan’s group whom they encounter. Steven and Guytan face off as Ganymeade lures the android to more optimal fighting conditions. Steven kills Guytan and rushes to assist Ganymeade in fighting the android. Together they destroy it with an explosive and recover the NASA laptop. The team deployed to search for the laptop arrives in time to save Steven and Ganymeade from the ensuing fire.

    Pat Martin once again addresses the committee relaying that all threats were neutralized and that the NASA laptop is back in the right hands with encryption embedded to prevent future catastrophes. Steven is offered a new job as a government specialist. He visits Ganymeade.

    Silas and the other men sprung from prison make it to the surface. However, Silas manages to strip a pistol from the insider and kills everyone. Only Silas is left standing.

  • EleonoRRRa

    If you want to write a good synopsis or book review and you are novice writer you should read some examples and create your own following example. After a few times, you will feel that you can easily create your own synopsis