Here’s another example of a fiction summary, which can be used as a guide for writing your novel synopsis. (See all my synopsis examples here.) This time it’s Peggy Sue Got Married, a good example of a humorous women’s fiction story. Look at what this synopsis does right. Peggy Sue is quickly introduced and we see her issues. By the end of the first paragraph the whole story is motion. Since the story is filled with laughs, the synopsis tries to get several of them across. Also, in this story, there are plenty of characters, but a synopsis can get bogged down with characters being introduced, so see how the names of her classmate friends and even her sister are not mentioned here. Their individual names do not matter, so the synopsis keeps moving.
In 1985, PEGGY SUE BODELL attends her 25-year high school reunion, albeit hesitantly. Peggy Sue has just separated from her former high school sweetheart, now husband, CHARLIE, and is wary of attending the reunion because of everyone questioning her about his absence. (They have been married since she became pregnant at the end of high school.) Peggy Sue arrives at the reunion, happily reconnecting with old friends. Charlie unexpectedly arrives, causing a scene. The awkwardness is ended when the event MC announces the reunion’s “king and queen.” The king is RICHARD NORVIK, a former class geek turned multi-millionaire computer whiz. Peggy Sue is named the queen; but upon arriving at the stage, she faints.
When Peggy Sue awakens, she finds herself in the spring of 1960, her senior year of high school. Peggy at first believes she died, but then comes to accept that she has somehow gone back in time. She’s in shock to see old family members so young. She attends high school classes and meets with old (now-young) friends, though she now answers questions strangely. For example, when her mother asks if she and Charlie had a fight, she replies yes—but about “house payments.” She also briefly considers a get-rich-quick reference of going to Liverpool to discover The Beatles.
Peggy Sue is confused by this new/old world, but she’s fascinated to get to live high school all over again and say things she always wanted to say, such as telling off rude classmates and informing a math teacher she knows—for a fact—that she will never need algebra in her life. She also uses this opportunity to repair an estranged relationship with her younger sister. One thing Peggy Sue is not happy about is that she’s still dating Charlie. She promptly breaks up with him and has a one-night stand with MICHAEL FITZSIMMONS, the “one guy in school she always wished she’d slept with.”
But Peggy Sue soon sees that this Charlie (age 18) is not the same as the adulterous man she left in 1985—and she starts to fall in love with him all over again. Meanwhile, she contacts the young (ever geeky) Richard Norvik and asks for his advice on time travel and getting “home.” Her inquiries into time travel lead to her GRANDFATHER, who agrees to try a séance ritual with buddies to send her forward in time.
During the séance, Peggy is kidnapped by Charlie, who takes her to a greenhouse and tells Peggy Sue that he loves her then gives her the locket she will later wear to the reunion. After she resists him (“I’m not stupid enough to marry you twice!”), she realizes she cannot cheat fate. She kisses Charlie and they make love, which would again lead to Peggy Sue getting pregnant and marrying him. In the next moment, Peggy Sue is revived at the reunion in 1985. She’s taken to a hospital and meets “old” Charlie, who seems shaken by the event and regretful of his recent ways. She looks at him with new eyes and it seems there’s hope for them reconciling their differences. However, the idea that she may have dreamed the entire ordeal is unclear when her daughter mentions that Michael Fitzsimmons has dedicated a book to her and their night together.
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Don’t let your synopsis be rejected for
improper formatting. The third edition of
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Other writing/publishing articles and links for you:
- How to Write a Novel Synopsis: 5 Tips.
- Synopsis Example: “A History of Violence” (thriller)
- Synopsis Example: “The Ides of March” (thriller / mainstream)
- Synopsis Example: “Punch Drunk Love” (literary fiction)
- Sell More Books by Building Your Writer Platform.
- Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and how to write a query letter.