And Then

The Story Thus Far

The Story Thus Far (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Revision hell actually hasn’t been too hellish.  Once a few things clicked, I was rolling.

When you think you can breathe a sigh of relief, you have to write a query letter.  And a synopsis.  Cue young Jamie Lee Curtis scream here.

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, the final g...

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, the final girl of Halloween. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For my non-writer fringelings, a query letter is an introductory letter to an agent or editor, giving a very brief snapshot of your book in the hopes of enticing them to request the full manuscript.  A synopsis is kind of like a book report on the story, hitting the major conflicts, plot twists, and how the story ends.  Some describe it as the way you’d tell the story to a friend.  Some agents want a synopsis along with the query letter and sample pages, some want it if they request material, some don’t ask for it at all.  But you have to be prepared before you begin the querying process, so you’re ready to send everything requested (hopefully, see? I’m being positive) and not find yourself sitting in a puddle of tears trying to get it together and sent off before the agent decides your story really didn’t sound that interesting after all.  Or it’s still interesting, but you took too long, and they just signed two other new authors, their list is full.  Or, or, or.

English: Rejection

English: Rejection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have written and rewritten my query letter.  Actually, I’ve rewritten it about twelve times, and I think it might work now.  Time to work on the synopsis.   Shoot me, please.  It sounds so easy.  Tell the damned story.  Mmm hmm.  But trying to distill it into 500-1000 words, keep it clear, concise, interesting, not include every last detail but not omit anything that is important to the flow?  Here’s the thing, when you write a novel, you’re trying to make sure that every scene, every character, every detail raises the stakes, adds to the story.  Now figure out which of those all important and all contributing scenes and characters don’t actually need to be in the synopsis.

Just because you can write poetry doesn’t mean you can write an epic fantasy novel.  You might be able to write historical romance but not be able to pull off a picture book.  I occasionally have fun writing limericks.  Great for giggles, but with an editorial–or a serious reader’s–eye, they suck. I would never try to get them published, or showcase them to illustrate my writing.  Query and synopsis writing involve a different skill set than writing a manuscript.  Ready for the conflict?  Mrs Fringe has a completed manuscript and she’d like to find a literary agent.  To do so, she has to send competent, engaging query letters and possibly synopsis (synopsi?) to agents who seem like they might be a good fit for Mrs Fringe and said manuscript.

Today’s attempt at a synopsis left me ready to send a form rejection to myself, and scrawl a big fat YAWN across the top in red pen.

They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!

They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

14 comments

  1. Ugh, I haven’t even tried a synopsis yet. The Query Letter has me boring myself to tears already 😉 The best of luck! Nobody ever mentions queries and synopses when they talk about writing.

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    1. Exactly, it’s a pitch. In many ways it makes sense. With so many people trying to find representation/get published, there has to be a way for agents and editors to wade through without tearing their hair out.

      It’s frustrating to (fiction) writers, though, having to have the manuscript completed before querying, but not knowing who/when/if you’ll ever be able to get the manuscript read. Non-fiction is different, you don’t need a completed manuscript before submitting a proposal. Usually, I’m sure there are exceptions, but I’m not so familiar with the non-fic world. 🙂

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  2. I wish you success and happiness in this endeavor, I’m with Artsty in thinking I thought you just need to write the book! By the way, I love this new look. It’s edgy and I think ‘very you’!

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    1. Thank you–on all fronts 😀

      Writing the book is the most important, but now I’ve got to get it read!

      I think I’m liking this new theme. I can’t put my own pic on the banner, but it works.

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      1. Phyrro…I seen dem New Yawk films wid all da fellas hangin roun da fitty gallon drums full of sterno. Don’t tell me you don got no con nexions. I think you’re playing around with a small town boy, you big city gal.
        Later…

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        1. Someone’s been watching Fort Apache, The Bronx. 😉
          I found an old Starbuck’s gift card in my bag yesterday. So in between dogwalking and picking up Flower Child, I stopped in and sat with an iced tea, trying to hack away at the synopsis.
          Next to me was a couple, second glance showed the man was quite a bit older than the young woman with him, though he was dressed and coiffed to give that young, hipster vibe. She was trying to convince him why they should get married, one sniffle away from public wailing and gnashing of teeth.
          I sat there looking at my pencil, thinking about how I already changed to story from romance to strong romantic elements, wondering if I should just go ahead and remove romance completely.

          I think that counts as my campfire. Needless to say, it was unproductive. 😀

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