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The next step of the Writing Project Planning Phase, is to punch out a synopsis (summary) of your writing project.

The synopsis can be as detailed as you’d like (50 pages) or as broad as you’d like (one paragraph). In either case, you want to get down the core of what your book is about.

Being a person who loves efficiency, I want to write a summary that meets multiple needs; like the kill two birds with one stone idea. Thus I prefer a single paragraph synopsis.

Benefits of keeping your synopsis short:

  • That way when people ask, “What is your book about?”, you shouldn’t have to spend 10-minutes to explain it.
  • It is essential, because it helps you, the author, make your idea concise and targeted. When your idea is targeted, the your writing will be more targeted and less wasteful.
  • It is the beginning of your marketing efforts. What you write for this exercise may turn into your book’s back cover blurb and get people to spend money on your book

The elements of your story synopsis or back cover blub may be as follows:

  • One sentence tag line / hook

In one line, you want to try and catch the reader’s attention. I went to Amazon’s list of the best books of 2011 and here are some sample first lines:

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?- “Before I go to Sleep: A Novel” by S.J. Watson

JFK escapes assassination. First Lady also OK! – “11/23/63: A Novel” by Stephen King

  • A small paragraph that describes your book

In 150 words or less, what is your book about?

Make your description colorful and interesting. For novelists, try and keep an element of mystery. Mystery will help the reader want to open up your book and read it.

For non-fiction books you’ll often see a bulleted list of the benefits the reader will gain by reading your book.

  • Testimonials

We are social people and don’t want to feel left out. Testimonials subconsciously say to us, “Hey I liked this book and you will too.”

  • Author bio

Again  keeping it brief, you’ll want to highlight what makes you credible in the reader’s mind to have written the book. Read some author bios and you’ll quickly see elements you can duplicate in your own bio.

Exercise: Write out a synopsis, with a one sentence hook, a one or two short paragraph description and author bio.

Next blog: The dreaded writing schedule!

Set the timer for 10-minutes and try this writing prompt.

Writing prompt #0007


Write about a sport you love or someone you know loves.

For instance, I don’t understand NASCAR, but I have a friend who thrives off it. I could write about why I don’t like NASCAR or how he suckered me into joining Fantasy NASCAR one year.