Tip#11 to trim a synopsis—eliminate dialogue

Do you have any lines of dialogue in your synopsis? Even if they’re key lines, cut them and tell what’s going on instead. You can usually trim by telling instead of showing. For example:

Luke hangs on the overhanging metal strut, armless and vulnerable. Darth Vader reaches out to him and says, “Luke, I am your father.” “No! That’s not true!” Luke denies, then falls down the duct to what he believes will be his death.


Luke hangs vulnerable on the metal strut. Darth Vader insists he’s Luke’s father, which Luke denies. Luke drops down the duct.

Be careful about the climax of the story—that’s usually the place where writers are tempted to include key dialogue lines which the story pivots upon. However, in trimming a synopsis, it’s better to cut those dramatic lines in favor of “just the facts” and a shorter synopsis.