How to Write a Synopsis—Without Turning Homicidal

Having a great synopsis is so important because that is usually what will turn a prospective reader into a purchaser.  And I beg you please, have a one or two sentence summary that can be used to effectively advertise your book!

How to Write a Synopsis—Without Turning Homicidal

by Sarah (Sally) Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

Part One

One of the big questions I hear in my classes is, “How do I write a synopsis?”

Good question. Here’s the best answer I can give you:

Buy Gracie O’Neil’s book, How to Write a Synopsis—WithoutTurning Homicidal.

Gracie is one of our ‘down under’ folks, living in New Zealand down the road from the Hobbits. She’s funny, gracious, and brilliant, all at the same time. And, her book on synopses not only helps my students, it helps me to explain how story structure works.

She says “The first key to a killer synopsis is to find your story’s centre. Its soul. Its beating heart.”


Tell your story in 50 words or less.

I can hear the groans from here!

It’s really not that hard. Really.

Read the full post at The Write Conversation!

Do's And Don'ts On Writing A Book Blurb

This post by Nicholas C. Rossis originally appeared on his site on 5/2/15.

The inspiration for this post came from a little gem I found on the Passive Guy’s Newsletter (if you aren’t already a subscriber, what are you waiting for? It’s free!). After some heavy editing, it ended up as this post.

The original post came from the Self Publishing Review, if you wish to see it in its entirety.


Writing a Book Blurb
By far, the weakest part of many self-published books is the synopsis*. Writing a decent blurb is an art form totally separate from writing a book.

Authors, myself included, often feel this is their least favorite part of the process. It can make you feel icky writing superlatives about your own book. At the same time, too many superlatives can literally be icky (“A work of genius” comes to mind). A good blurb needs to strike a balance between being informative, but not too informative, salesy, but not too salesy, while somehow seducing a stranger into spending money. It’s difficult, to say the least.

That said, there are some very common errors that show up time and again, and are pretty easy to change.


Read the full post on The Power of Six.


“It’s Complicated.” (Wrong Answer.)

This post by David Corbett originally appeared on Writer Unboxed on 4/28/14.

I’m not sure whether to be heartened or dismayed by the number of my students and editorial clients who exhibit the same problem I routinely have as a writer.

If asked what the story is about—what the protagonist wants, why he wants it, what stands in his way—I often encounter the same creased brow and thoughtful nod I provided my own teachers, with the inevitable, “It’s complicated.”

And the response is equally inevitable: “That’s exactly the wrong answer.”

To mangle a phrase: I can overthink a goddamn potato.

My mind sees endless variation and nuance in the simplest things, and what elaborations it doesn’t see it creates.

I used to consider this a sign of intelligence. I thought that those constantly harping on the KISS Principle—Keep It Simple, Stupid—were mediocrities lashing out at those who had an IQ over room temperature.

The kind of people who think all modern art could have been churned out by their four-year-old.

The kind of people who mock the blues and country music as crude and opera as, well, operatic.

The kind of people who think money alone measures excellence.

But that was snotty arrogance on my part. I wasn’t just mistaken. I was lying to myself.


Click here to read the full post on Writer Unboxed.