|By Lauren Mosko|
In The Marshall Plan for Getting Your Novel Published, author and literary agent Evan Marshall suggests writing one page of synopsis for every 25 pages of manuscript. Marshall reminds writers that a synopsis should always be written in the present tense and should always tell your entire story. Think of your synopsis as the mini version of your whole novel.
That said, you shouldn’t rewrite the book or hack paragraphs or pages to shrink your manuscript to synopsis length. Instead, Marshall suggests you organize it like this:
In terms of technical format, on the first page, the upper right corner should give your novel’s genre. The upper left corner should give your name and contact info. Skip 4 lines, type the title of your novel, skip a line, type “by,” skip a line, and type your name (or pseudonym). Indent your first paragraph and start the text of the synopsis. Double space the entire synopsis.
The headers on subsequent pages should contain the following info in this format: Lastname/Title of Novel/Synopsis page number. (If this is too difficult to visualize, check out the example on page 48 of the 2005 edition of Guide to Literary Agents.)
Lastly, Marshall advises that you not break up your synopsis with headings like “Background” or “Setting” or character sketches. Instead, you should work all these elements smoothly into your synopsis.
Hope my brief summary and primary resources were helpful. Best of luck!
Lauren Mosko, Novel and Short Story Writer's Market Editor
Writer's Digest Books