View Full Version : On summaries

11-13-2006, 09:55 PM
I have a request from an agent for the first three chapters and a 3-5 page summary.

It is my understanding that a summary should be devoid of extraneous details, just basically stating the facts of what occurs in the novel from beginning to end.

The question I have is this:

What format is appropriate for a summary? Is there a particular font and font size that is to be used? I have the summary completed but I just want to make sure the format is appopriate.

Thanks in advance.

11-13-2006, 10:03 PM
According to my dictionary, a summary is: an abstract, abridgment, or compendium especially of a preceding discourse, and a synopsis is: a condensed statement or outline (as of a narrative or treatise). I think publishers and agents generally want a synopsis, which is closer to an outline. Mine is one or two sentences per chapter, and usually just deal with the main plot, not the subplots.

There are a few synopses posted in the SYW forum for critique (in the Query Letter section). You might want to check those out for format ideas.

11-13-2006, 10:44 PM
What he wants is the "outline".

What I was wondering is what is the proper format/font for this?

Do you double space it as you do the manuscript? Should it be in courier font as well? And if so, 12pt?

11-14-2006, 12:18 AM
I would venture to guess single spaced, double between paragraphs, no indents, 12 pt courier, just like a synopsis, just longer.

11-14-2006, 12:19 AM
I would take outline to mean synopsis.

Some publishers state how they want the synopsis to appear. Some want it double spaced, others don't. Some will tell you how many pages the synopsis should be. If they don't specify, I tend to go with single line space or 1.5. Always use the easy-to-read font and always 12pt.

One thing I've read around is that you should capitalize the first appearance of a character's name. I think it's because it's a trigger to the reader as to who is important in the story.

I hope this helps.