Synopsis or Bust

Oh synopsis…how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.




Okay, so I have no love of synopses. Still, with the excitement of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) quarterfinalist announcement this week in my online writing circles, I found myself motivated to get back to the novel synopsis I’ve been avoiding the past few weeks.

I’m excited about getting this novel out into the world. Of all the novels I’ve written over the last few years, this one is my favorite. And despite it being knocked out in the pitch round of ABNA this year, it’s also the one for which I have the most hope.

Besides, I have that ABNA entry deadline to thank for actually getting the revisions finished finally. And when I say finally, I mean finally. I’d been working on those revisions off and on for years.

Still, there’s that dratted synopsis to contend with before I can get it out there. I’ve been wrestling with it for weeks. Honestly, I think I’m having the same trouble with the synopsis that I had with the pitch, and that’s juggling the story elements and characters.

My novel, The Road of the Dead, is more complex a story than I usually write. It has multiple storylines and multiple character arcs that weave together throughout the story. It’s told through multiple points of views. So whenever I dig in to work on that synopsis, I find myself getting tangled. How do I balance my three primary characters without the synopsis sounding choppy? And that blasted Chapter 1, which is so important in setting up later events but isn’t told from the point of view of one of those primary characters but rather by a recurring but vital secondary character…how on earth do I do handle that in the synopsis?

I’m determined to get through it though. It’s synopsis or bust for me. It’s only a synopsis after all, not some evil nemesis, right? Or is it?

And if anyone’s reading, I’m wondering… Have you ever tackled a synopsis for a multiple POV novel? How do you handle multiple story arcs in a synopsis without the synopsis becoming choppy and cumbersome? What are your struggles with the writing of a synopsis?


  1. Well, since the synop is told from third person, it should be too difficult to weave their stories together. I mean, yeah, it's hard because writing the synop sucks, but you know. You've got the three of them, so make sure you focus on the main plot and how it relates to those three people. Go from there. Good luck!

  2. I've actually never written a multiple POV novel but I do suggest you pull a sentence that describes each scene or two and that will help build a great skeleton for your synopsis. Good luck to you!

  3. Thanks for the tips. I think I might just have a thought about proceeding. I'm hoping to get through at least this first draft of the synopsis in the next few days. Sometimes I wonder if this part of the submission process ever gets easier.


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