Sunday, January 29, 2017

How is a synopsis like ordering eggs?

What is a synopsis?

'A synopsis conveys the narrative arc, an explanation of the problem or plot, the characters, and how the book or novel ends.'
 5 Tips on How to Write a Synopsis by Courtney Carpenter (Writer's Digest)

Once upon a time, synopsis could be seven pages long. But once upon a time is a long time ago. Now brevity counts. 

How brief?

For example, my novel is 53,000 words. My synopsis is 110 words.

Desiring feedback, I brought that synopsis to my writing group. They were very helpful. But one question I didn't expect inspired this article. 

How is a Synopsis like cooking eggs?

How do you like your eggs?

He said:  over-easy

She said:  scrambled

When preparing a submission package, where do you put the synopsis?

He said:  You should include it in the query letter.
(The query letter introduces the author and the manuscript. Also referred to as the cover letter.)

She said:  It should be on a separate sheet of paper.

He explained:  Publishers don't have time to paw through tons of paper.

She explained:  Unless it's on a separate sheet of paper the synopsis will be overlooked.

Who's is right?

The publisher -- or literary agent.

Carefully read the submission guidelines. There you will find details about how the synopsis should be presented. If you don't find this information, feel free to use your best judgment. No matter where you put it, always include it.


Of course, you might not have the 'where-to-put-this-thing' problem. Your synopsis may not be as short as mine. That's okay. It can be as long as two pages. In which case, she is right.


Writing a Novel Synopsis by Jane Friedman

How to write a 1-page synopsis by Sooz


Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne — "For example, my novel is 53,000 words. My synopsis is 110 words." Brevity is one of my best friends so I love this!

Leanne Dyck said...

: ) Thank you for your comment, Laurie.
There is definitely a nack to it. But done correctly, I'm sure brevity is appreciated by busy editors and agents everywhere.