View Full Version : Um... wha'd'ya mean, "synopsis"?

05-17-2010, 09:34 PM
Preparing to query Writers House- their site asks for "a query letter of no more than two pages, which includes your credentials, an explanation of what makes your book unique and special, and a synopsis." I'm good with the first two, but the word "synopsis" confuses me a bit. Do they mean the one-paragraph summary of the novel- what Sambuchino's "Guide to Literary Agents" calls the "elevator pitch"- or something more substantial? If the latter, is it standard to put it in the letter itself, or as a separate document? (Assuming a snail-mail submission.)

05-17-2010, 09:52 PM
Most synopses are longer than one paragraph or an elevator pitch. How long they are is a matter for debate.

Usually, I write a 3-5 page synopsis (double-spaced, 1" margins). I have been asked by some publishers for a 1 page (single spaced, 1" margins) synopsis.

Check out the Query/Synopsis area in SYW for the handy FAQ for the details involved in writing a good synopsis.

05-17-2010, 10:07 PM
I think they're referring to the query synopsis, which is the description of your book - NOT a regular synopsis, which is more in depth.

Query synopsis outlines your MC and stakes to grab an agent's attention.

Who is your MC? What does he/she want? Who/what gets in his way? What's at stake if he/shes doesn't get what she wants?

When you're done, the query should clock in at around 300-350 words total.

05-18-2010, 08:06 AM
Yes, since they say no more than 2 pages total, you can assume they mean the "elevator pitch" type thing, I think. :)

05-18-2010, 07:06 PM
You can't go wrong with a one-page query with a great hook, and a one-page synopsis.

05-18-2010, 11:24 PM
They do not mean an elevator pitch, they mean a synopsis, and most synopses are a single page in length. If you can't write a one page synopsis that says everything a synopsis is supposed to say, practice until you can.

05-19-2010, 06:58 PM

You know, you COULD e-mail them and ask them to clarify.

That would be the most logical choice rather than guess and check, yes?


Hope all goes well though!

05-19-2010, 07:19 PM
I concur with Danthia. Plus once you have a one-page synopsis to go with your one-page query, you're set for other agencies.

I wouldn't email with the question. The best you could expect would be form email with exactly the information you found on their site.