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Sonarbabe
05-03-2006, 06:20 PM
...has got to be the synopsis. A query letter (with help from Miss Susan) isn't so bad, but I dread, hate, loathe and even despise synopses. Now, one or two of you might be asking why I'm blurting this useless bit o' knowledge about myself. I received an awesome birthday present the other day. An agent asked to see the first 3 chapters and the *gulp* synopsis to the Blaze-ish story I did. (The one I had Susan help me with on the query and posted the first chapter) Sweet, right? Uh, well, I haven't finished my synopsis yet. Here's why...

I don't know what all to include! Obviously, the romantic plot. That's a given. How my characters went from point A to point C, but there's a pretty major subplot in there that I want to put in but don't know how to tie in. *sobs* What should I do? Should I try to figure it out? Leave it out entirely, since it doesn't affect their relationship too much, but helps explain why the heroine is the way she is? I don't want to screw this up since the story is so short (65k) and I'm not sure how many agents feel comfortable repping a first time author who has such a short story?

Any ideas? Suggestions? A wig to cover the bald spots from where I've ripped out my hair? Thanks in advance to anyone who might be able to help!

Kasey Mackenzie
05-04-2006, 01:57 AM
Congratulations!

Unfortunately, I think I would need to see examples of each before I'd really be able to say which one works the best...Did they say how long of a synopsis? If it's relatively short I'd recommend leaving out the subplot. If longer, and you feel the subplot is important, I would say leave it in.

Hopefully someone else with better advice will post it soon! =) Good luck.

Susan Gable
05-04-2006, 02:26 AM
...has got to be the synopsis.
Any ideas? Suggestions? A wig to cover the bald spots from where I've ripped out my hair? Thanks in advance to anyone who might be able to help!

CONGRATS ON THE REQUEST! Woooohoooooo!

First of all, any romance agent worth their salt will know when you tell them it's a Blaze that it's got to be short and to the point, and sexy. So don't sweat that.

Second, I hate synopsises too. Blech. Especially blech when you write them BEFORE the book is written. Double blech.

It's important to know how long a synopsis they're looking for. The ugly truth is that usually you need more than one synopsis. (Don't throw things at me, I'm just telling it like it is! <G>)

There's the one page synopsis. (I ususally do that one single-space. <G>)

There's the 3-5 page synopsis. And then there's the 10-ish synopsis. For Super, I usually write 12-15 page synopsises, but they're longer and the eds like to see everything you can give them.

That said, if there's ANYTHING in your story that you think might be a red flag, leave it out of the synopsis, or write it in general terms. <G> (I hope my editor isn't reading this. <G> ) Because frankly, some things work in the story, where you're SHOWING, that don't work in the synopsis (telling!), or that make your editor freak when she sees it in the synopsis. <G>

Cover all the romance plot points (meet, first kiss, almost love scene, love scene, black moment, resolution.) Also cover all the main plot points. What are their GMC's, they hit the black moment, how they resolve the relationship.

Honestly, it would be easier to give you specific pointers, Sonar. You can either post it in share your work, or email me and I'll help you off-list. (Since the query letter was so successful!!! Congrats again!)

It's just a fact of writers' lives - synopsises suck! :Shrug: We just do the best we can. It really is a selling tool, so it's important to do the best you can.

Good luck!

Hey, have you submitted this thing to Blaze yet?

Susan G.

Sakamonda
05-04-2006, 02:40 AM
FWIW, I just finished writing a Blaze manuscript. My beta-readers have it right now, when they're done I'll hand it over to my agent. I've written the synopsis already---see below, maybe it will help.

MARKET FOR LOVE, by xxxx
Miranda Johansson was just a strait-laced, dull stock market analyst in Chicago's financial district when her new boss---the super-sexy CEO Maxwell Moore Junior---suddenly swept into her life. Sparks flew within minutes of their first meeting----sparks hot enough for Miranda to abandon her old strait-laced self and become a sexy seductress right there on the job! But just like the stock market's wild ups and downs, Max and Miranda are in for a lot of wild rides before they hit the jackpot. And Max's latest business venture is a cover-up for a sinister, sensual secret. Can Miranda and Max learn to control her scorching-hot desires when their business relationship takes a dark, unexpected turn?

Sonarbabe
05-04-2006, 03:55 AM
First, thanks to everyone who replied. Any and all advice is most welcome!


The ugly truth is that usually you need more than one synopsis. (Don't throw things at me, I'm just telling it like it is! <G>)

There's the one page synopsis. (I ususally do that one single-space. <G>)

The one page one I can do. No problem. It's just a few more paragraphs added to my query blurb.


There's the 3-5 page synopsis. And then there's the 10-ish synopsis. For Super, I usually write 12-15 page synopsises, but they're longer and the eds like to see everything you can give them.

That's the one I'm having issues with. I'm about 1/3 of the way through the book and am on page 3 of the synopsis. The good (or bad??) thing is, the agent didn't specify how long the synopsis had to be.

I will definitely post my pitiful synopsis in the Share Your Work section when I'm done. (Hopefully tonight) I'll probably pester everyone for help then too. Hehe. I'm good at that! But...my pestering of Susan really paid off! Cheesecake all around if this works! I'll be the baking queen! :D


Hey, have you submitted this thing to Blaze yet?

Not yet. Once I have a cool synopsis, the whole enchilada is going out. Query + synopsis.

Susan Gable
05-04-2006, 05:17 PM
That's the one I'm having issues with. I'm about 1/3 of the way through the book and am on page 3 of the synopsis. The good (or bad??) thing is, the agent didn't specify how long the synopsis had to be.

Okay, generally I find it easier to do the long one first, and then take that, and hack it down to the 3-5 page version. <G> You do that by pulling out the details. Condense. Tighten.



But...my pestering of Susan really paid off! Cheesecake all around if this works! I'll be the baking queen! :D


Do NOT tell people that pestering me pays off. <longsufferingsigh> <G>

And I don't do cheesecake. I'm requesting brownies. <G>

Oh, yeah - if you're trying to get an agent, DO NOT submit this directly to Blaze at the same time. You will totally tick off an agent if they take you on with this book only to find out you've already submitted it yourself.

One path or the other for this book. Not both at the same time. :) (Now, you could submit this book directly to Blaze if you were agent shopping with a single title book. That wouldn't be a no-no.)

Susan G.

jbayley
05-04-2006, 06:09 PM
If you get your syno down to one page you could contest it - blaze is having a one page syno pitch contest right now...but S is right about subbing. I think the one pager could be great for you - if it's not selected you know your syno needs more work.

Sonarbabe
05-04-2006, 06:33 PM
Oh, yeah - if you're trying to get an agent, DO NOT submit this directly to Blaze at the same time. You will totally tick off an agent if they take you on with this book only to find out you've already submitted it yourself.

Hehe. I knew that one already. I figured if the agent told me "no dice" I could then send it straight to Blaze. I'm good on submitting etiquette, I'm just a bit lacking when it comes to the syn. and queries. :)

No cheesecake? Mmm, okay, but I make a mean pumpkin cheesecake. ;)

Thanks, jbayley. Do you happen to have a link I could use? I looked at eHarlequin's site and it appears most contests have closed.

Gillhoughly
05-04-2006, 11:55 PM
I hate doing a synopsis too, but there are ways to make it easier.

While selling my first book a rare few would ask what it was about and as I launched into an over-detailed account their eyes would glaze over.

They were looking for a TV Guide version and I was giving them TMI.

Out of sheer exasperation I pared my plot down to 1-line, avoiding detail.

Now I put the 1-liner at the top of the page, then go into the main synopsis.

My trick is to set a cooking timer to one minute and tell the plot out loud as though speaking to a friend. When the timer goes off I stop, then start over until I can get through the whole book in that time. You'll be talking faster, but that's okay. It's also okay to have notes on the high points of the story at hand.

Once I'm within that one-minute limit I write out as best I can what I've been saying. Then I fill in any important missing bits for continuity.

Most synopsis are 3-5 pages, single-spaced paragraphs with a double space between paragraphs. Use a 12-point Times Roman font & the usual margins.

This can be done! A smart office worker trimmed Gone With the Wind down to the basics for an impatient studio exec. and the project got the green light.

You might try googling the "Miss Snark" "Crap-o-Meter" contest she had last December. People sent in their 500 word synopsises for her to judge. You'll quickly learn what worked and what didn't! http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

500 words is a good length to aim for; if they want more you can always add to it.

Good luck!

Sonarbabe
05-05-2006, 01:20 AM
Thanks, Gillhoughly! I did read Miss Snark's synopses entries on the crap-o-meter. I learned that my previous synopses were "giving a list of events" as she liked to put it. Oy. Good thing I didn't enter, I'd probably cry! lol Anyway, that was good advice. Thanks again.