The Essential One Page Synopsis

In the early stages of our awards our readers are invited to cast a vote for every novel which makes them want to read the full. While the extract is by far the most important part, a strong synopsis can play a key supporting role. Here are the four main elements we hope to find:

Your novel in one line

Starting with a single line summarising your main character, the setting, main conflict and what’s at stake will get you off to a flying start. Your aim here is to hook and ground the reader by clearly signalling what your book is about.

Next, we are looking for what happens in your plot. We recommend writing in the third person, present tense and breaking your plot summary into three parts:

How your novel opens

Using simple, declarative sentences, say how your story starts and what happens including the inciting incident.

What happens in the middle

What gets in the way of what your main character is trying to achieve? How does this affect your characters?

How your novel ends

How does your character try to solve the conflict? Say what happens in the climax of the book and how the story ends.

It’s not essential to submit your synopsis in this exact format but we hope it’s helpful to know the key elements we hope to find. 


The BATH NOVEL AWARDS spotlight and support emerging writers worldwide. We award £5,000 annually across two prizes: The Bath Novel Award (submissions from December to June) and The Bath Children’s Novel Award (open from June until November).