All terms

What is a Synopsis?

A brief summary of the main points of a written or verbal communication.

Breaking it down: Synopsis

A synopsis is a condensed form of a written work, including all the main points and ideas of that work.

It is usually found at the beginning of a piece of writing, giving the reader an idea of the content that one can expect from the piece. They are used very commonly in the publishing industry, such as for query letters, proposals, and other promotional materials.

Similarly, verbal communications such as presentations or lectures often begin with a synopsis of what the audience can expect.

It is important not to mix up a synopsis with a summary. While similar in nature, a summary will often give a brief description of the work, while a synopsis is entirely focused on the main ideas and points.

Synopsis in Literature: How Authors Use It to Hook Readers

The synopsis is a valuable tool in the hands of a skilled writer.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

In the first book of the Harry Potter series, Rowling uses the synopsis to set up the world of Hogwarts and the challenges awaiting Harry.

The synopsis states that a young orphan boy is delivered to his aunt and uncle's doorstep, but he is anything but ordinary, as he possesses extraordinary powers which take him on a journey to discover his identity and destiny.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In this popular young adult dystopian novel, Collins uses the synopsis to introduce readers to the grim world of Panem.

The synopsis informs us that every year, one girl and one boy from each of the twelve districts must compete in a televised fight to the death, all while their families and friends watch helplessly from home.