Novel Synopsis Examples: How to Write a Synopsis


So, here you are. An exciting but painful point in your writing career.

No longer content with letting people know you’ve got a novel in the works, you’ve finally started to think about actually putting it out there, instead of just leaving it sitting in Google Docs for your own amusement. But if you want your epic listed as one of the best fantasy books of 2019, or have it sell-out as the crime fiction of the year, you probably need to find an agent, which means sweaty palms, deep confusion, crippling anxiety and, above all else, a good novel synopsis.

One such fear-inducing part of the whole process is writing that all-important novel synopsis. It’s utterly crucial you get it right, or nobody is going to request your manuscript. But how exactly do you get it right? The best thing you can really do is follow in the footsteps of others who have already gained success, which means going out in search of novel synopsis examples.

5 Novel Synopsis Examples to Help You Succeed In Publishing

To help you achieve manuscript requests with your current work in progress, I thought it might be helpful to put together a list of novel synopsis examples, rather than simply suggesting you look for them and sending you on your merry way. So here is what I have:

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

One of the best fantasy books ever written, when looking for examples of successful literary agent synopsis’ you can hardly ask for more than the novel breakdown that secured the best-selling series of the modern era. JK Rowling is famed for her generosity when it comes to supporting new writers and the provision of her synopsis of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to clamouring audiences is no exception.

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2. Gladiator

Okay, so we all know Gladiator is a movie. A pretty epic movie at that. But that isn’t the point of this post, so I won’t review it here. Writer and author Chuck Sambuchino has made a habit of taking much-loved movies and writing a novel-like synopsis examples for them. His goal is to help up-and-coming writers envisage what their synopsis should read like using popular media properties we are all familiar with. That familiarity really helps you understand what crucial elements you should include, and -- just as importantly -- what can be left out. Take a look here or read below:

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3. Prophecy of Sisters

Writer Michelle Zink has had great success through her published works, including seven well-received novels. The book that started it all, Prophecy of Sisters, debut to much acclaim. On her blog, Zink shares both the query letter and synopsis she submitted for the then titled ‘Indigo Sky’. This is one of the most powerful novel synopsis examples I could find, particularly because it comes from a once first-time author’s attempt at gaining attention from an agent; the perfect piece to read for aspiring novelists.

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4. Casino Royale

Author of A Kill in the Morning, Graeme Shimmin has garnered a number of awards for his fictional work. However, he is probably best known for his blog, which itself has picked up plenty of credits. On said blog, you’ll find numerous writing resources, works and reviews. Included in his reviews are novel synopsis examples, written in the same style as that you’d send an agent. A particular highlight is his plot summary of Casino Royale, a great example of synopsis put together by a successful author.

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5. Cinderella

Fine, yes, you got me. This is yet another of my novel synopsis examples that isn’t technically a novel synopsis example. However, I opted to include this one because it was written by a literary agent, and who better to offer examples of how to write a synopsis than a person who reads your words with the intent of either picking up the novel or not? This one comes from Janet Reid, who has written up a brief breakdown of the classic Cinderella tale. This is really great to read. It shows you the kind of language and sentence structure an agent will be looking for when going over your synopsis.

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Fancy reading something that isn’t a plot synopsis? Letting yourself take a bit of downtime after all the hard work? Why not read The Azrian Anthology, a fantasy eBook available on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play and more. You can also read fantasy short stories, too!