Posts Tagged ‘writing a synopsis’


Synopsis helpful links and iPad impressions?

January 28, 2010

Manuscript update: Buried in query letter and synopsis writing hell.

Yesterday, I promised more on synopsis writing today, so here goes.

I went through this already with my first novel, but when I sat down to write the synopsis for my second, I felt like a toddler on uneasy legs. So, I did my favorite procrastination activity: Research. (Just kidding about the procrastination activity. Research is incredibly important and useful and helpful, but I will admit that sometimes I can be a little more meticulous than I need to be when I’m avoiding the writing I should be doing.)

In my research, I found some cool links on synopsis writing, ones I hadn’t found in my original research. Share time:

  • How to Write a Synopsis: Marg Gilks explains why working hard to write the best synopsis possible is necessary (because it’ll be used as a sales tool by your agent and editor) and offers up some good tips on how to write a brilliant one, such as starting while you’re doing the final read of your manuscript.
  • How I Write a Fiction Synopsis: Diana Peterfreund, an admitted lover of synopsis writing (she has to be in a minority there), details how she writes a synopsis—before the book. And she defends herself against all the writers who gasp and think she’s crazy. It’s a fun and thought-provoking read.
  • Writing the Fiction Synopsis: Diana Peterfreund points readers to Kathy Carmichael’s online synopsis workshop, which has some very useful tips too.
  • Synopsis Samples: Charlotte Dillon provides a huge number of sample synopses, most for romance books, but the great thing is, these are synopses that got the said books sold, so they’re priceless no matter the genre.

Got any others you want to share? Paste them into the comments.

And now onto the big news of the week, Apple’s iPad. Sure it sounds all ooh and ahh, but, call me sentimental, I’ve got a special place in my heart for Amazon’s Kindle because it came first. (Not that I own one. I’m still in love with paper and ink.)

Also, I’m not big on the idea of one device taking over the world. I have an iPod — like everyone — but I was THRILLED when Amazon started selling music downloads with no digital rights management that can play on any device. For that alone, I started buying all my music from Amazon instead of iTunes, and the fact that the prices were cheaper didn’t hurt either.

From what I’ve read, DRM for the iPad hasn’t been revealed yet. But with all those major publishers on board to offer their books on the device, I really hope Apple isn’t being too greedy and is playing nice with the industry by allowing ebooks downloaded through iBooks to be read on any player.

What do you think? Future? Gimmick? Scary? Exciting?

Here’s a quote from the New York Times blog posted live from the Apple announcement:

“Isn’t this awesome?” Jobs says. It is, but everything looks good on stage. Nothing ages faster than the future when you get it in your hands.

Very true. What’s next?

Write On!


Writing a great query letter and synopsis

January 26, 2010

Manuscript update: I miss it! I miss working on my story. But I got another book idea yesterday, so that’s exciting. I’m trying to refrain from running off into another book just yet, though, as I’ve still got the query letter and synopsis for my current book to perfect.

Please note in the sentence above that I didn’t say I had to “write” or “finish” or “compose” the synopsis and query letter; I said I had to “perfect” it.

The query letter is the first impression an agent and/or editor is going to have of you and your writing. It’s the key to the first gate — for want of a better word — to get through, and it better be perfect because it has to shine through a lot of others. As an example, in the week of Jan. 22, agent Jennifer Jackson read 108 queries and from those, requested 1. That’s right, you read it correctly, there’s no typo. Jennifer requested only 1 manuscript out of 108 query letters. To be that 1 that gets a request, your query letter has to be perfect.

As for the synopsis, not every agent requests one, but for those that do, it can represent the key to the second gate. The synopsis tells the agent that you can write a coherent story that flows and has all the necessary elements to make your book a bestseller. It must show that flow, the plot twists, but also, it must give the agent a taste of the characters and emotion of the story. It should be exciting enough for the agent to want to read the full manuscript — even though he/she already knows the ending.

So, that’s my task right now, to perfect my query letter and synopsis. It’s not as much fun as writing my book or even as revising my book, but it’s necessary and can make the difference between a yes and a no.

What are you working on?

Write On!