I'm looking for advice on writing a synopsis for my novel. I've found quite a few examples online, but none for multiple POVs and time periods. My novel is written from the point of view of three main characters, with POV switches at the chapter level, and two time periods that are many years apart.

In the novel each chapter starts with the location and date, the timeline is important to the story, so is made clear in this way. While I think this works in the novel, it seems a bit clunky for a synopsis, where I'm aiming to reduce the plot to a snappily worded two pages.

Any ideas on how to achieve this or links to some examples?

  • Connie Willis did something like this in her Blackout/All Clear books, but with four or five POVs and a similar number of time periods. I'd suggest looking up some synopses for them - you might find it helpful.
    – Lexi
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 10:31
  • Related: writers.stackexchange.com/questions/3517 , particularly JSBangs' treatment of massively-multi-POV novel Hyperion. I also found Janet Reid's "this should be a template for multiple POV novels" example. It's a great example (although take her enthusiasm with a grain of salt - the precise method there might not work well with your book, and different agents and editors might have different preferences).
    – Standback
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 10:55
  • Thanks the replies above, they've both given me ideas for moving forward, and I needed them. Is there any easy parts to writing a novel :)
    – PhilG
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 21:52
  • @PhilG - Now THAT'S a tough question :D
    – Standback
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 6:33

1 Answer 1


Randy Ingermanson ("the Snowflake guy") writes about this in his June 2012 E-zine, taking The Hunger Games as example, mostly for writing character synopses. Introduce the main character and her main story arc. Add the second character and his story arc, etcetera.

In your case perhaps you can describe the main character and her time period. Same for the other characters. If someone is time travelling, this will be trickier. But remember that just like you do not need to write a list of all places a character visits, you also do not need to record all time travels.

The synopsis does not need to follow the same route in place or time as the book.

I don't know specific examples for multiple POV and time periods, but perhaps search for summaries of Doctor Who.

  • Thanks, I'm not marking this as the answer as there seems to be so many different, equally correct, ways of approaching this task. I found this link particularly helpful - how to write a 1-page synopsis and Author! Author! Anne Mini's blog has lots of good stuff too.
    – PhilG
    Commented Aug 11, 2012 at 10:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.