Shannon Stacey

A few truths about synopses

* If you are a professional writer and tell me you can’t write a synopsis, I will roll a newspaper into a tight tube and beat you with it.

* It’s much easier to write a synopsis for a plot-driven action-adventure romance than for a character-driven relationship-based romance. Dead bodies and explosions can liven up anything. The more times you can type And then some shit gets blown up, the less you have to focus on their feelings, right?

* I have been reminded several times in the last few days that the chapters sell the book, not the synopsis. In rebuttal (here in public where she can’t slap me upside the head), the chapters might sell an editor on a book, but she in turn will use the synopsis to sell the house on the book, and then—should a contract be offered—the synopsis is used by marketing, the art department, the blurb department and so on. So I can obsess if I want to, dammit.

* Reiterating the internal conflict a hundred different ways will not disguise the lack of a strong external conflict.

* I like to end the working drafts of my synopses with And they lived happily ever after. Sometimes I forget to take it out.

* It’s probably best not to mention raccoons in the synopsis. They come off much better in context.

8 comments to “A few truths about synopses”

  1. Jaci Burton
      · July 3rd, 2007 at 8:37 am · Link

    i never said you couldn’t obsess. That would be like denying you oxygen :neener:

  2. Melani Blazer
      · July 3rd, 2007 at 9:14 am · Link

    *passes DD*

    is it done yet?

  3. Charlene
      · July 3rd, 2007 at 1:29 pm · Link

    :popcorn: Racoons? I’m with you on #1. Maybe the synopsis isn’t a work of wonder and glory, but it can at least summarize the story in a coherent manner. Although I think racoons would liven things up.

  4. Shannon
      · July 3rd, 2007 at 1:39 pm · Link

    Me…obsess? Surely you jest. :noevil:

    And if I could write a book with dead bodies, explosions AND raccoons, I’d be golden. Seriously, the synopsis would write itself.


  5. Michelle
      · July 3rd, 2007 at 3:53 pm · Link

    I really want to read about the raccoons! LOL :coffee: I just wrote a proposal for something. They didn’t want a synopsis exactly and, somehow, just chaning the name made it easier for me to write. Outline, rather than synopsis. Much better! :thumb:

  6. Nora Roberts
      · July 4th, 2007 at 7:05 am · Link

    I’m a professional writer, and I can’t write a synopsis.

    If I see you in Dallas, I’m running away.

  7. Shannon
      · July 4th, 2007 at 8:06 am · Link

    Now I almost wish I was going to Dallas. I could see showing up for an editor pitch all sweaty and disheveled. “Sorry I’m late. I was chasing Nora around the hotel with a rolled-up newspaper.”

    Maybe for about two steps, then you’d probably turn around and feed it to me. :rofl:

    And you have written them in the past…you just wrote the books first. That counts.

    Good luck with your proposal, Michelle! Whatever you can do to make them easier is a good thing. :hug:

  8. Michelle
      · July 4th, 2007 at 12:56 pm · Link

    Thanks. I’m trying a new genre for me. :vampire: and it has :nookie::heart: and…:hide: I’m scared!

  • Get my latest news straight to your inbox!

    I'll only be sending newsletters when I have news to share, and I'll never share your information. You'll receive an email asking you confirm your subscription (so please check your spam box if you don't receive that). You can unsubscribe at anytime.


  • Affiliation

    Shannon Stacey is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of

    If you purchase a book listed on the site from, she’ll earn a small commission. Thank you!