Research & Ideas for Authors: Where to Find Inspiration to Write Synopses?
Call them blurbs or synopses, they absolutely suck. If you hear an author wailing and complaining outside of editing season, this wild creature is definitely upset about having to write synopses. What are these synopses or blurbs I’m talking about? It’s that short thing that summarizes your story in a clever way, making it sound fun and exciting, so that people want to read it.
If your book was a movie, your synopsis would be the trailer. Get it right, and people will be far more likely to read a sample of your book or just 1-click that sucker! It won’t guarantee they’ll like it, but it will get readers interested in buying and reading your book.
Think of it as an all important hook, that together with your cover will convince complete strangers to give your story a try.
How to Write Synopses or Blurbs?
Writing synopses is a special kind of torture and an art. They have to be interesting, but not too revealing; clear, but have a bit of mystery to them. You need to write synopses that are not too short and not too long. They have to entice, enthrall, and generally put a spell on future readers that makes them hit the Buy Now button.
Of course, there are elements you need to include in your book, like the setting, the protagonist(s), or the conflict, but a good synopsis is about more than linking a few elements together and calling it a day. In all my research, the most interesting, quick and easy explanation of how to write synopses comes from author Jenna Moreci. So before we continue, watch the video I embedded below or click to watch it on YouTube.
Knowing how to do something is not the same as actually doing it. Writing seems easy until you are faced with the prospect of completing a story, regardless of its length. The devil-spawn known as a book synopsis or a book blurb, well, it has authors cringing in fear. That should tell you how bad it is if people who have written entire novels dread approaching these few hundred words that form a synopsis.
Where to Find Inspiration to Write Book Synopses?
So where can you find inspiration to write a good synopsis? Well, other books, of course! Find books in your genre that you loved and check out their synopses. Try to analyze them, see why they appeal to you. That will also give you a good idea of what works in a specific genre. You want a synopsis that stands out, granted, but if it sounds like a chick lit book and you’re publishing a dark science fiction tale… that’s a bit of a fail.
Speaking of other genres, find books with great synopses in as many genres as possible. That will show you what differs and what parts of the puzzle work universally. It’s a good way to figure out what to skip on and what to make sure you include.
Watch a few movie trailers, the ones that made you want to go see the movie immediately. Keep in mind this is a different medium, so you’ll have to think of what is narrated in that dramatic voice we all love, and how it mixes with the parts of the story shown on screen. How much of the plot does that trailer show? What key moments does it focus on? Which feelings and emotional reactions does it appeal to?
Read through the most crucial scenes of your book, and focus on your favorite parts. Try to remember what you love most about the story and its characters. Or which key moments you plotted to push the action forward. Which twists and curved balls did you throw in? If you pick the most dramatic ones, does that entice you to present the story in a catchy, interesting, synopsis-like fashion?
Feedback and Tweaks
My best strategy to write synopses is to test them out. Once I feel I have something good happening, I ask a few author friends for feedback, or I might post it in an author group. After that, I share it in my own fan group–the small corner of Facebook where I hang out with my fans. I try to analyze all feedback I get and incorporate it into the final version of my synopsis.
When you do this, remember! You’re the one who knows your story best. Someone who only has a synopsis to work on, without having read your story, might think certain things have more or less importance than they have in reality. So the final choice is always yours.
When all Else Fails…
You’ve read up on how to write synopses, analyzed a few you liked, used all the visual inspiration you could, and read your favorite story parts. Inspiration is still missing and you think you’re never going to publish your book, ever, because.. there’s no synopsis!
When I get so slumped, I take a break from writing my blurb. And then I think of a nice reward to give myself when I complete it. Like… an actual break. where I work on nothing. Or treats! I add some music that I love to the mix, browse through Facebook for a bit, then try again.
Unfortunately, in most cases, you have to do it! Whether it be a summary or rough blurb to submit to a publisher, or a final, professional-sounding synopsis to self-publish your book, you can’t skip this step. At the end of the day, it’s a writing task that needs completion and perseverance is the way.
What tricks do you use to get inspired to write synopses? And, really, how much do you hate doing it? Let’s chat in the comments.
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