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Tip Tuesday #116

Tip Tuesday features writers' tips on craft, research, querying, blogging, marketing, inspiration, and more. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Another week has flown by! I'm not quite sure I believe it. If you haven't had a chance to congratulate Natalie on her first year of blogging and enter her giveaway, stop by here. But make sure you open a tab for Ryann Kerekes as well. She blogs at Novel Addiction and is the author of this week's tip series called "Five Tips for Writing a Synopsis." Ryann was also the author of Tip Tuesday #101, which you can read here. Enjoy!

Writing the dreaded synopsis? Here are five simple tips to keep you sane.

1. Pretend you’re telling someone what the book is about in about 5 minutes or less. You're aiming to summarize the novel’s main characters and plot points in the order that they occur in the story in a simplified way.

2. It’s told in omniscient present tense point of view and you do give away the ending.

3. You want the flavor and emotion to come through in the writing, so it’s not a dry, boring re-telling, police report style of the stuff that happens.

4. Use adverbs and adjectives sparingly, every word counts. Don’t waste them describing the color of a dress your main character is wearing.

5. Use short phrases and descriptions whenever possible. It’s fine to say “Hopeless romantic, John.” Rather than, “John spent his nights scouring the Internet, signing up for sites like match.com and eharmony… “

~Ryann Kerekes


  1. Awesome tips! I always have a hard time with the synopsis. Thank you for sharing!

    I've been an avid reader of this blog for a year now, querying agents featured during the spotlights.

    I just wanted to share with you the news that I've just signed two contracts. One with Crescent Moon Press for my YA novel Taste and a three book deal with Entangled for Til Death, another one of my YAs. :-)

    Thank you for all the work you do helping us writers out.

    1. Congratulations, Kate!!! That's very exciting news!

  2. Excellent tip on the synopsis - thank you!

  3. Oh I so need these lovely and succinct points as I truly and without doubt totally suck at synopsis writing!! Thank you!! Take care

  4. Great tips. I have to admit that I struggle with the synopsis. Love tip #5.

    And congrats Kate! That's awesome news.

  5. Congrats to Kate on the new book deals! Thanks for the synopsis tips, Ryann - straightforward and easy to remember. I'll pop over to Novel Addiction and check it out now.

  6. Super tips. I'm just doing my synopsis now, this is great timing. Thanks.

  7. These are great. I just started working on my synopsis and I'm ready to pull out my hair. It'll be more fun than writing the thing. Thanks for the tips.

  8. Fantastic! Getting ready to do a synopsis so perfect timing. Thanks for the tips :)

  9. Great tips for a synopsis. Thank you!

  10. Great points! A synopsis is all about the major plot points while conveying the tone and voice of the novel. Easier said than done though.

  11. Ugh! I dread the dreaded synopsis!! Great tips. :)

  12. Ryann, thanks for the synopsis tips. I'll bookmark this one for the next time I'm working on a synopsis.

    Kate, congratulations on your very exciting publishing news! *Clapping*

  13. Thank you again for the tips, Ryann!! Synopsises are sooo hard.

  14. Nice tips! I wrote mine about a month ago and will re-evaluate based on this advice.

  15. ooh, #3 was a surprise. I thought synopses were generally pretty boring, but I guess that's only the badly-done ones - good thing I read this! Thanks for the tips!

  16. The synopsis, like the query, are two things I personally dread. But they must be done so I will have to bookmark these tips for when I get ready to attack the synopsis for my WiP.

    Thanks for the tips!

  17. I need to work on the flavor and emotion in my synopsis. Very tough for me. Great post!

  18. Yeah, I have to say writing the synopsis is my least favorite part. But those are excellent tips - thanks :)

  19. The dreaded synopsis! These are great tips, thanks!

  20. Great tips for writing synopses! It doesn't matter how many I write, they always take work.

  21. I like Ryann's tips. I have such a hard time getting voice into my synopsis. It probably does sound like a police blotter. And I agree--every word counts!

  22. Thanks for the wonderful comments, everyone!! Yes, synopses can be evil, but I also know you can do it!