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How to write a synopsis

  • Serial Ululer
  • Pioneer
  • Writer

Do you have a bright idea that you can see published in your favourite mag?

After having found the editor's contact details, concentrate all your energy on creating a concrete synopsis in order to convince him/her of the necessity, or should I say the obligation of choosing to publish your article...

But how do you write a synopsis? Here are some tips to get you started.

What actually is a synopsis?

It's a text which marks the boundaries of your subject (angle + treatment + presentation) and which enables you to explain your idea in your own words, why it is interesting and how you intend to treat it. Planning will help you to better define your future article. It's a rough draft which should make people want to read more. Take care that your synopsis is merely an appetiser for the real thing, which says enough but not too much, and doesn't completely reveal your idea (and allow it to be stolen!)

Why is the synopsis important?

It enables the editor to better comprehend the angle your paper will take, and to see if it fits with the magazine's editorial line.

It prevents misunderstandings and helps you to realise that, if the paper is returned, you aren't on the same wavelength as the magazine.

What does a synopsis look like?

A mini plan consisting of a few lines, in which you explain what you're going to talk about, why, how and in what way. Basically, it's a "list" in which can be found all the info the editor needs to form an opinion and eventually make a decision on your article.
What should your synopsis contain?

- The title: informative above all, you don't have to choose your definitive title yet. It would be great if it gave an idea of the tone of your article.
- The resumé, in a few lines: present it in an eye-catching way, like a detailed introductory paragraph.
- The angle: this isn't an introduction or a presentation, but the precise point of view you have chosen.
- What is the news and/ or why THIS subject. Is it news? This is the time to be persuasive!
- The type of article: news, list, report, survey, interview...
- Treatment of the topic: what the subject will contain in terms of your plan and material. Detailed plan with paragraphs and sub-paragraphs. For example: an illustrated subject with a title and introduction, followed by 7 photos and 6 texts.
- Presentation: what it will look like. Will it be one or several pages long?

Don't forget to propose the rate you want for the article as well as the date of pay, to end with your email address, wait a while, to send it again and, most importanly, to plead with the God of Freelance!

1 reply

  • Pioneer
  • Writer

Just the advice I needed! Will let you know how I get on with my article...Fingers crossed :)


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