View Full Version : Synopsis Query for Multiple Characters

06-17-2013, 10:31 PM
Firstly, let me just say hello, and wave politely to you all. *waves* I may pop in to introduce myself in the proper manner a little later, but as of right now, I'm in a bit of a rush.

So here is my quandary, and if anybody can help, that would be terrific.

I just finished my third and final draft and coming in at around 200,000 words, boiling this down into a 2-3 page synopsis is proving to be a nightmare. Not to mention the storylines and characters. I have looked around and have gleaned a pretty clear picture of what should be in my synopsis, so no worries on that front. I'm just wondering how brutal I should be when it comes to cutting it down to central points. Obviously, I won't worry about subplots in the synopsis, except where absolutely vital, but how do I approach a synopsis for several significant, central protagonists? I would say, on the face of it, I have three characters that I would call integral, though of course, I do have the one main character around whom the entire world revolves. Do I just not worry about them, and let their stories come out if I can get the agent past my synopsis? With a story of 200,000 words, when an agent asks for a synopsis, what is the generally accepted or preferred page count? I think that about covers it, so again, thanks for any feedback.

Chris P
06-17-2013, 10:40 PM
Welcome to AW! I'm currently shopping around a book with multiple POV characters.

First, the length of the synopses the agents ask for varies from as much as two pages down to one paragraph. Yeah, so you will need to be beyond brutal. I don't have the art of it yet, but picture yourself telling someone what your book is about, page 1 to page last, in two minutes. Like you see an agent on the bus and he lets you pitch your book in the two minutes before his stop. Practice it. Record it, and transcribe it. That will give you an idea of what you need to do for the synopsis.

Now, for the query letter, I've gotten somewhat consistent input that the main MC should be the only one focused on in the letter, OR focus on the situation or bond that holds them together and how that changes over the course of the book.

06-17-2013, 10:47 PM
Welcome, KPLanyon.

If you're having a lot of trouble taking the entire scope of your novel and boiling it down, I suggest trying a couple other techniques.

Maybe start with the absolute essense of the novel, the main arc, the main conflict or the main goal. What is this story about in 1-2 sentences, mentioning no names? Then build from there.

Alternatively, you can take a look at the blurbs or back cover of other novels that you know to have similarly complex storylines to see how the professionals take large stories and summarize them in bite-size pieces.

I also recommend that you browse the forums, since this is a topic a number of people have addressed and discussed. When you have 50 posts, you can post your query in Query Letter Hell for feedback.

Good luck!

Old Hack
06-17-2013, 10:52 PM
A debut novel of 200,000 words is going to be almost impossible to sell, no matter what the genre.

Your best approach would be to revise the manuscript and cut it down by half, and then work on the synopsis.

If you're reluctant to do that, take a look at my friend Nicola Morgan's book, Write A Great Synopsis. It's very helpful.

06-18-2013, 12:57 AM
Thanks for the replies, guys. I've spent the last few hours trying to hammer out a first draft synopsis, which has now been wrapped up. But I'm not sure what it's missing, so I think I'll post it here for all you fine folks to critique.

It is, purely, a first draft, meant only for me to get an idea of how I can boil the thing down. It's just over 3 pages, so I think I've done a pretty good job of cutting out most of it.

Anyway, yeah, thanks again. Any more ideas and comments, theories, hypothesis, formulas, etc etc, will be appreciated, since there's some way to go until I'm done, I'd wager.

06-18-2013, 01:05 AM
Hit 50 posts and put it in QLH. While you're working on 50 posts, read and critique the synopses and queries there.

06-18-2013, 01:17 AM
Will do, thanks. :)

06-18-2013, 01:22 AM
One question. Where exactly is Query Letter Hell? Seems I'm not quite adept at finding my way around just yet.

Nevermind. Just browsed your recent posts. :) Ta again.