10 Tips for Synopsis Writing


How To Write A Synopsis

In this article, I am going to talk about a very important tool to help you through your script writing process. Synopsis is also one of the ways you sell your film to producers and agents, so it’s important not only to understand what it is, but also how to write a great one.

A good synopsis is the first step of funding your film. I am not going to get into the synopsis format or give any synopsis sample because it pretty much changes, but the tips I’m going to give you here will make your synopsis much more interesting and easier to read.
So for those of you who don’t know what synopsis is, we’ll start with the synopsis definition:

synopsis definition

A synopsis is a short description of the most important information of your script or story.

Here are a few great tips to help you built that tool:

  • The synopsis is usually written in the present tense, Third person. The reader should read the story as it is. Without any complicated gimmicks.
  • If it’s relevant, start the synopsis with a description of the place and the time of the story 
  • It is important that the story will have the structure of the 3 acts: beginning, middle and closure and this is why it will usually be written in 3 paragraphs- one for each act.
  • The synopsis should present the general premise of the film and the general atmosphere (is it drama, comedy…?)
  • When you introduce new and important characters, write a short description of them.
  • Write the first draft of your synopsis by memory as much as you can, but make sure you write the names of the characters and the locations correctly.
  • If there is a second plot, you don’t have to put it in yet, unless you feel it is important to the complete story.
  • Try as much as you can to deliver the emotion and the drama of the story, whenever it is possible.
  • Make it no longer than one page. Remember! The synopsis in an overview. Do not get into too many details.
  • Let someone who already read your script to summarize the story and what are the things he considers important

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The Synopsis of Gone Girl a synopsis example

If we are going to write the synopsis of Gone Girl it will be something like:

On the fifth wedding anniversary Nick Dunne, a young man in the mid of his 30’s, discover his wife has disappeared. 

You can see I didn’t start with a description of a year and the time period (like I mentioned in one of the tips). That is because that’s not that important to the story. I did write, though, about the time period for them, which is their fifth anniversary.  I also wrote his general age.  Now, even though the story will be told from his point of view, I’m not going to write it like Nick is the one who tells it (even though it would be cooler like that) I have to write it in the third person.

Conclusion and Homework

Writing a full script in one page is not an easy job at all. It may take you a few weeks to get there. You will need a lot of practicings and I would suggest starting practicing now. Write synopsis to films you see on TV. After you feel you get the hang of it, write a synopsis to your story. I do recommend to start working on the synopsis even before you start working on the script. Just as basic guidelines. You will be allowed to change it while you are writing.


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