Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Synopsis, she wrote

I finished that stupid synopsis. It's five pages double-spaced and I'm not going to look at it until maybe tomorrow. Or tonight. ... Or an hour from now when I need a brief respite from writing about engineers.

It's hard to write a straightforward synopsis of a mystery. By necessity, the important bits are chopped up and don't occur in an orderly fashion, which I think makes the synopsis look choppy. Plus there are side plots and other characters I left out but which make the novel itself better. I wonder if Jessica ever had this problem?

Probably not. Even if she did, she would have just-so-happened to solve the murder of the sister of a fabulous New York agent who would promptly sign her with no synopsis required.

I could write a general one-page synopsis much more easily.


What if that is what the agents want after all?? There's no bloggy consensus on whether agents (nowadays, not five or even two years ago) want a longish, detailed synopsis or a short one- or two-pager. Especially right off the bat. Before I did my homework, I figured most wanted a query and the first few pages, then would request a synopsis and/or partial later on if they liked the query and pages.

But two agents I reeeeeally reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeealllly want to query require a synopsis up front. No mention of a length. Or, what if they mean they just want the query to include what the book is about--the synopsis? I think my brain is boiling.

Does anybody out there know what any of this means?


Justus M. Bowman said...

I stick with a one or two-page synopsis. Single spaced for the one-pagers; double spaced for the two-pagers.

I just finished my synopsis as well. :D Almost time to blast queries out to the ends of the galaxy...

Tracy Marchini said...

I agree with Justus. I think one to two pages is best; it shows you can summarize what your novel is about, instead of "bullet-pointing" the plot.

Good luck with the subbing! :)

Crimogenic said...

I was checking out the archives on Miss Snark's blog, and the synopsis usually is 1,000 words max which is like 2 pages single spaced. So sounds like you are on target. By the way, there's a link on Absolute Write forum to some successful synopses if you want to see some example. I hear the important point is for it to have voice and make your story sound compelling (which I'm sure it is!).

I'm working on mine right now... no really, right this moment!