The Essential One Page Synopsis


noun syn·op·sis \sə-ˈnäp-səs\
 a short description of the most important information about something : a summary or outline

For the first stage of the competition, we ask for a one-page synopsis along with your opening extract. Please don’t worry too much about writing the perfect one. Writing style always shines out from the novel extract and all we need from your synopsis is an understanding of what happens in the rest of your plot. Here are the key elements we hope to find:

Your novel in one line. It’s a great idea help readers and judges to  get an immediate sense of what your book is about. One line (usually present tense, third person) which summarises your main character, setting and the central conflict of the book gets you off to a flying start.

Plot summary. From there, aim to make it as easy as possible to understand what happens in your novel. A format which often works well is to focus your synopsis into three parts.

Part one: What’s the set-up of the novel?  Describe how your story starts including the inciting incident.

Part two: What’s your character trying to achieve and who or what is stopping them? What happens to raise the stakes and how does this affect your characters?

Part three: How does the character try to solve the conflict? Describe what happens in the climax of the book and how the story ends.

Note: The above is a suggested outline only. If you have a differently formatted one-page synopsis that works for your book, please feel free to submit that, or if you have any questions please do email us at 


The Bath Novel Award 2017 closes to entries 24th April 2017. Read more…