View Full Version : Synopsis? Outline?

02-23-2012, 09:48 AM
I'm working on my query letter now and I would like to know what else I need to have ready, in case anyone nibbles. The manuscript itself is done, so I can send that if it's requested, but what else might be asked for? A detailed synopsis? A chapter-by-chapter outline? Anything of that sort?

(Sorry if this question has come up before. I looked and didn't see anything similar posted recently.)

Drachen Jager
02-23-2012, 10:06 AM
Synopsis comes up fairly often. Author bio is sometimes called for. I've never heard of a chapter-by-chapter outline being requested, but that doesn't mean it never happens.

Start working on your next book!

02-23-2012, 07:08 PM
Author bio . . . great, I can tell them how inexperienced and uneducated I am, LOL. Lovely!

But seriously, thanks. I'll make sure and write up a good synopsis and a bio, in case anyone asks. And I've already got my next novel nearly finished, and a second one half-finished, so that's not a problem. :)

Drachen Jager
02-23-2012, 09:13 PM
Agents often ask for a synopsis, a few ask for a bio, but my agent said I needed a bio before going out on sub, so you're going to have to do one sooner or later anyhow.

At least in my case it was not the kind of dust-jacket bio you often see in books, she wanted a 'professional bio' (google it) about a page long. Just when you think your work is done huh?

02-24-2012, 12:03 AM
Unfortunately, I haven't a writer's education or a large publishing record, so my bio is pathetically short. I included everything I could think of and it comes in at about 130 words. That includes how long I've been writing, everything I've had that's legitimately published, as well as a quick mention of the articles I've written for my website (which I'm not entirely sure belongs, except I saw a sample bio that said to mention stuff like that, so. . . .) It also mentions where I live and my hobbies, which feels weird mentioning, but again, the sample bio said to include that.

Drachen Jager
02-24-2012, 12:21 AM
It's not all about your writing. I have no writing credits either, but I've done some interesting things with my life. My agent seemed happy with it, and everything together netted me an R&R on the first round of subs so it can't be too bad.

02-24-2012, 12:28 AM
You might be asked for a synopis (generally about 2 pages, single spaced, space between paragraphs). Don't worry about the bio. Whatever you have in the query is fine, even if it's nothing much. All told, it's whether your query about your novel is enticing, and whether you have an interesting and well-written story.

02-24-2012, 12:31 AM
I'm fifty-eight, and I've been a full-time writer for thirty-two years. I couldn't turn that into a full page bio if I were being paid five bucks per word. Nor would I try.

Publishers only care about bios if something really important is contained therein. Otherwise, a long bio can only harm you.

Good grief, the average person has nothing to put into a bio that is worth as much as a sheet of paper.

Agents often ask for things that no publisher I've worked with ever wanted. I have had publishers ask for a bio, but they always stipulated that it should be no more than fifty words, and just the brief facts, thank you.

As an editor, my eyes would glaze over with a full page bio, unless the bio said the writer had already won a Nobel, a Congressional Medal of Honor, and had been abducted by aliens.

A bio is a place where if you have nothing to say, don't say it. Never write a long bio just because an agent wants you to. A really good one takes on paragraph. A bad one, which means nothing really pertinent to say, should be no length at all.

02-24-2012, 12:40 AM
I think I'm on the right track with my bio, then. Now I just have to write a synopsis and finish my query letter.

02-24-2012, 12:43 AM
Orianna--work on the query. Polish it. Send it out. The only time you need a synopsis is if the agent on the website states needing it to accompany the query, or when they ask for a partial or full they might--again, only might--ask for one. My agent had only asked for the synopsis after he had signed me on.

02-24-2012, 01:10 AM
I don't think it hurts to work on a synopsis. This time around, I queried w/out having one ready because everyone told me not to worry about it and just go ahead and query and sure enough, I got a quick response with a request for my full plus they wanted a 3-5 paged synop. Needless to say I was scrambling to get it done (synopsis can be tricky to write sometimes--at least for me), so it was a bit stressful. I wish I'd had it ready before hand. Shrugs. I say query the crap out of your novel and as soon as you hit send, start working on the synop. Doesn't hurt to have it ready. JMO, anyway.

02-24-2012, 01:46 AM
Yeah, I'm the type who likes to have everything done ahead of time. I can't tolerate being rushed or under a deadline, so I'll write the synopsis before I send the query out, just in case I get a nibble and someone wants one. I'd rather not keep them waiting while I write something up, but that's just my OCD needing to keep all my ducks lined up in a neat, orderly row. (In order according to the ducks' names, colors, and height.)

02-24-2012, 02:02 AM
If you haven't already done this, do get feedback on the query before sending it out. A poorly written query could sink you.

02-24-2012, 02:08 AM
Absolutely. My query's not even written yet, but I do plan to submit it to Query Hell to get feedback on it before I send it out. :)

02-24-2012, 05:00 AM
Thanks for asking these questions, Orianna. I've been searching for the same answers.

I, too, want my OCD ducks in a row before I send our queries. I'm finding the synopsis tricky, too.

You mentioned 'Query Hell'---where is that thread located? Is there a similar one for a synopsis review?

02-24-2012, 05:04 AM
Query Hell (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=174) is located in SYW. I don't know if there's anything similar for synopses, but I hope that there is, because I'm having trouble with my synopsis, too. Everything I write sounds hokey and loses the "voice" of my novel. Maybe it would be in the generic SYW area?

Drachen Jager
02-24-2012, 05:24 AM
Synopses are generally posted in QLH.

Just FYI OohLaLaura, you need 50 posts to be able to post on share your work. The password is vista. It's a good idea to look at other people's queries and see what kind of critiques they're getting. Once you're comfortable you can jump in with comments of your own and you'll be at 50 posts in no time.