The Art of Brevity in Synopsizing

Firstly let me say that yes Synopsizing is in fact a word, and while, as an Australian, I feel that the word should probably be spelled Synopsising, a google search confirmed that this was not a word so I will stick with the z!

I honestly believe that writing a synopsis has been my least favourite part of writing a novel, even editing takes preference! How on Earth am I meant to get my 95000 word novel and summarise it down to just 200 words?… Yes that’s right 200 words! And not only does it need to be brief but it needs to sell my story, let the reader know what the story is about, the tone of the book, and be catchy enough that they remember it after having read hundreds of other synopses.

Good Luck!

I currently have about 10 different synopses, of varying length and style – anywhere between the dreaded 200 words up to 2 pages, floating around on my computer and to be honest I am not completely happy with any of them.

So as a consequence, esteemed reader, I am asking for your help. Below is my latest attempt at the 200 word version of a synopsis for my novel ‘THE ANKHARI’. The book is a young adult romantic fantasy, and while I appreciate the fact that none of you have read my novel with hinder the process somewhat, any advise that you may have for me would be greatly appreciated.

Looking forward to your comments – constructive or otherwise.

The Exasperated Novelist.

SYNOPSIS

When Anderson Morgan, a perpetually ordinary 17-year old from small town Minnesota, discovers that she is a member of The Ankhari, a clandestine group distinguished by the possession of supernatural powers, her world, understandably, is turned upside down. It doesn’t help matters that the bearer of this news is the astoundingly handsome Nate Callahan, who is not only a member of this secret society himself but who also, quite inexplicably, seems to be interested in Anderson as more than just a friend. For Anderson this is just the beginning of her problems. Her power of teleportation, which at first seemed so extraordinary, provides an unassailable barrier to the development of a physical relationship with Nate. Then, when her father is kidnapped by a group claiming to be a resurrection of The Sajra, the ancient enemy of The Ankhari, Anderson and Nate must follow a cryptic set of clues that take them on an epic journey to an abandoned mine in Wollongong, Australia. In a final battle of wills Anderson must discover her true inner strength and take the first steps towards the fulfillment of her destiny.

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One response to “The Art of Brevity in Synopsizing

  1. Hi Jody,
    Congrats on the novel. Your subject matter is just so hot right now! I like what you are doing with the synopsis and think it’s really good. It’s interesting. As a synopsis, I think it would be more likely to attract a reader if you improved its readability via simpler language and shorter sentences (for faster brain processing / to make it seem more “in the now” and exciting). Similarly, you could be a little more brief. Actually I think the detail is possibly not so important in a summary. You could separate ideas into punchy paragraphs too.
    I made some suggestions below. Please ignore if you want. They are only to help. I thought what you wrote was good already.

    When Anderson Morgan, a perpetually [great describing word. Maybe a simpler word with fewer syllables just for brevity??] ordinary 17-year old from small town Minnesota, discovers that she is a member of The Ankhari, a clandestine group possessing [briefer] supernatural powers, her world [detail] is turned upside down / on its head.
    [[new para] It doesn’t help matters that the bearer of this news is the shockingly [simpler word? “astoun.’ is a bit awkward to read aloud.] handsome Nate Callahan, who is not only a member of this secret society himself but who also [detail] seems to be interested in Anderson for more than friendship [briefer].
    [[new para] But for Anderson this is just the beginning of her problems. Her power of teleportation, which at first seemed so extraordinary, provides a [detail / keep ’em guessing!!] barrier to the development of her developing [present tense – suggests action, briefer] physical relationship with Nate. Then [briefer] when her father is kidnapped by a group claiming to be a resurrection of The Sajra, the ancient enemy of The Ankhari, Anderson and Nate must follow a cryptic/perplexing /mysterious set of clues that take them on an epic journey [detail] culminating in Wollongong, Australia. In a final battle of wills Anderson must find her strength of character[as opposed to her supernatural powers??], and take the/her first steps towards fulfilling her destiny [briefer].

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