The terms summary and synopsis are frequently used interchangeably. But are there differences between the two?
It seems there is a slight difference and which you decide to write will depend upon who you are sending it to and your ultimate reason for writing one.
A synopsis is a short (and concise) description of a book, while a summary is a lengthier condensed version. While the summary focuses on what happened, the main ideas, and facts, the synopsis is more subjective and reveals the underlying themes, meaning, and so on.
The goal of a synopsis is to help the reader or agent to decide if they want to read the full book. And, in the case of an agent, to determine if they want to pursue representation.
There are times when you’ll be asked to write both of these, so it’s a good idea to look at examples and/or find books which delve into the writing of each.
We authors are all about words, aren’t we? Saying things in just the right way to elicit emotional responses from our readers… creating perfect visual pictures… producing tension and suspense…
The things we fail to say accurately can be just as important in producing that next Bestseller.
They are often little things. The season, the weather, time of day. Perhaps a current event (911 for example), a famous place (Grand Canyon), even an address (1900 Pennsylvania Ave.)
The exact moment is crucial in a book I just started to write. In this thriller, if I fail to leave out a detail that is important to the plot, readers are likely to let me know about it. And I certainly want them to have the best reading experience I can provide.
Keeping our facts straight is important. The best way I have found is dedicating a spiral notebook to each story. I allow six to eight pages per character. On them I list physical characteristics, occupation, emotional ties, personality traits, age, and so on. I refer to it often so I don’t alter important facts.
I have tried charts and pictures, but found they can take up too much wall space. Clutter makes me nervous. I just don’t write well when my space is in disarray. The important thing is not the method you use to keep track of details as much as that you do use something to help you avoid these common pitfalls.