How To Write A Synopsis?

What is a synopsis?

A synopsis is a short description of the most crucial information of your script or story. In this article, I am going to talk about an essential tool to help you through your scriptwriting process. The synopsis is also one of the ways you sell your film to producers and agents, so it’s crucial not only to understand what it is but also how to write a great one.

A good synopsis is the first step in funding your film. I am not going to get into the synopsis format or give any synopsis sample because it pretty much changes. The tips I’m going to give you here will make your synopsis much more exciting and easier to read.

So for those of you who don’t know what synopsis is, we’ll start with the synopsis definition:

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

  • It would help if you wrote the synopsis 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 
  • The story must have the structure of the 3 acts: beginning, middle, and closure, which is why you need to write it 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 essential characters, please 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 down the characters’ names and the locations correctly.
  • If there is a second plot, you don’t have to put it in yet, unless you feel it is vital to the complete story.
  • Try as much as you can to deliver the emotion and the drama of the story whenever 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 he considers essential.

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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. 

I didn’t start with a description of a year and the date of the story. That is because that’s not that important to the story. I did write, though, about the period they are together. You know this is the protagonist’s fifth anniversary. I also wrote it’s general age. Even though the story will be told from its point of view, I’m not going to write it like Nick is the one who tells it (even though it would be cool like that) I have to write it in the third person.

Conclusion and Homework

Writing a full script on 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.