What!? They want a synopsis too?

All right, if you get to the point of the synopsis, that means someone is interested in your work. The synopsis is the selling tool for an agent or an editor, so it has to SHINE.  Before you starting writing the synopsis, the first step is to DO YOUR HOMEWORK. There’s that statement again–do your homework.  Check the specific agents and/or editors websites to see how many pages the synopsis should be. Some of them specify one page or no more than five pages. Some of them want it double-spaced, others single-spaced. Don’t shoot your chances right from the start because you have the synopsis wrong.

What if there are no guidelines and they just ask for a brief synopsis? In that case, make it 2-3 pages. 

When typing the synopsis, use Times New Roman 12-point font, 1-inch margins.  If it’s one page, then single space with double spaces between paragraphs. If it’s more, double space.  This site  is good for showing how to format the synopsis, query, and masterpiece.  Rather than retype it all here, you can check it out there.

As far as what to put in the synopsis, at the Chicago Conference Laurie Brown listed these  things:  Keep in mind this is for a romance novel–you can adjust it for your genre of novel.

1. Goal, motivation, conflict (protagonist); internal conflict; what she wants, why she can’t get it.

2. GMC of hero; internal conflict.

3. The meet. How do they meet. How is it exemplified?

4. Stuff happens in middle. Relate back to the relationship.

5. Things change. Feelings start to change because______.

6. The dark moment. What happens that convinces them they can never be together.

7. What they’ve learned and how they change so they can have a relationship.

Since I’m writing a fantasy novel, I wouldn’t follow this format completely since mine is more about her growth as a character and her relationships with others around her. 

Rather, mine would be:

1. GMC of protagonist.

2. GMC of hero.

3. GMC of villian.

4. How does protagonist and hero meet?

5.  Stuff happens in the middle.

6.  The dark moments.

7. How protagonist has changed.

Next week–the pitch.  Since the link above explains how to query, I’m not going to worry about that. Rather, I’m going to post about actually pitching to an agent or editor. The tips I’ll be giving are more geared for if you only have a very short amount of time for your pitch.  I’ll also list things that agents and editors don’t like.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. philosophermouseofthehedge
    May 04, 2012 @ 17:46:37

    Hard to say it all in few words – it’s your baby! Helps to have this list to keep focus. thanks


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