View Full Version : Synopsis

12-31-2005, 07:26 AM
I think that I may have the wrong place here, yet “share your work” didn’t seem appropriate.

I just finished my latest and grea… ah, who am I kidding. I just finished my second book (first one went to PA, long story, didn’t know, trying to “write a better book”) and have began the process of reviewing publishers that are currently accepting MSs.

All of them require a synopsis of the book, broken down in chapters. Here is my problem; I finished this morning, and I ended up with 12 pages of single spaced “short” breakdown of each chapter. Well over 5,000 words to depict a 149,000 word book. Does this sound reasonable? I kind of expected a shorter synopsis… and I could very well be spending too much time describing a few of the chapters in an effort to not let anything slip by unannounced.

Oh, yeah… if there any of you out there that might be interested in mentoring me… or my MS, please let me know. It is a fantasy/fiction, and I am interested in having someone who enjoys reading, to read it for enjoyment. Or to check it for structural problems and what-not, but really to see if it is something a person might enjoy reading.

But the main reason that I am here today is to find out what is the common length for a synopsis.

Sorry so long winded, I will let you all go now.

12-31-2005, 07:39 AM
Hi LaViers,

Synopses can range in length, and different publishers and agents will ask for different lengths. Typically, though, it's best to have one under or around 1,000 words. (I know -- sounds scary!)

Basically, the synopsis is just supposed to show what the book is about so the agent or pub knows what they're getting into -- no surprises. It doesn't have to detail every aspect of the novel, which sounds like what you've been up to.

However, you're probably onto a pretty good start. It will take some work, but it's probably easier to cut down a 5,000-word synopsis into a crisp 1,000-word one, rather than sizing up from zero.

Now, usually the 1,000-word synopsis is for novel overview. Your submissions ask for chapter break down, which seems more specific. This variation may very well indicate a different length and setup, so check those pubs and agents to see if they indicate an approximate word length. Google can help you target some articles on synopsis writing also.

If you're feeling brave, you might be interested in posting a partial of the synopsis (1,000 words, tops) in Share Your Work and let some critical eyes see where you could cut. Also, check out misssnark.blogspot.com -- she's a literary agent currently critiquing synopses for hopeful authors. Her site might lend you some insight.

Finally, I realize you weren't questioning your own book length, but close to 150,000 words is actually a pretty long book. Most beginner novels close in around 90,000-110,000 words, so you may want to take a critical eye to shear down your novel if you think there's room to cut.

Good luck!

12-31-2005, 07:53 AM
Wow, that was quick.

A 1,000? I guess I will be heading back to the computer. I can probably shave it down a bit.

My first story was almost 80,000 words. I figured that this one is longer due to the additional people that I've placed in it. I have to let it go for a month or two though... I keep messing with it and my word count rises. I must be one of the pack-rat word keepers- or something.

I will check out the blog site.