Thoughts on Synopses
The definition of synopsis, according to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, is:
This in itself almost seems like it will give too much information away when we consider books. Some people love a lengthy synopsis that really delves into every aspect of the story. I, on the other hand, prefer a very brief, powerful synopsis. In fact, I don't even generally want a synopsis. I just want a tag line or something. All I need to know about the book is it's genre, a very general idea of the characters/setting, and an interesting sentence or two that drags me in.a short description of the most important information about something : a summary or outline.
So let me tell you a little about my process of reading in regards to synopses. I may have mentioned this before, but if not this is how I tend to read. When I'm searching for books I will generally read the synopsis (even if it does give away too much information), unless it's a book in a series in which case I would only read the synopsis of the first book. Once I've read the synopsis and decided I'm interested in reading the book, I'll put it aside for a while. Sometimes a few days, sometimes a few months. Then, once I've nearly forgotten all those spoilery details from the synopsis and barely have a clue what the book is about (except for the fact that I wanted to read it), I'll pick it up. I find that I tend to enjoy books more when I read them like this.
Let me give you an example of what I want in a synopsis. This is from The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. On my paperback copy this is just the first few sentences of the synopsis given. I wouldn't need anything more.
The Mists rule the night.
The Lord Ruler owns the world.
Once, a hero arose to save the world. A young man with a mysterious heritage courageously challenged the darkness that strangled the land.
He failed.So there is more than that given, but seriously, that's all I need. Knowing it's fantasy and this little tad of information is enough for me. In fact, it was enough for me. A friend recommended this book to me and I didn't really read anything about it until I actually read the entire novel.
So what do you want in a synopsis? Do you think they often have too many details, or do you like them the way they are usually presented? Do you want a full synopsis or just a few lines? Share your thoughts with me!