musings, thoughts, and writings of Barbara W. Klaser


December 26, 2005

Write a powerful synopsis

Writing takes courage. Submitting work is in many ways the most courageous act a writer commits. I don’t know of any aspiring novelist who looks forward to the task of synopsizing his or her own novel and then waiting around for rejection after rejection.

The synopsis itself is often a major hurdle. If a story could be rendered in that short a form, you’d have written a short story instead of a novel, right? I’d rather have a tooth extracted than attempt to synopsize mine. In fact I’m in danger of running out of teeth before I find the right agent, because of my personal loathing for synopsis. Still, it’s necessary to get the idea across in a form agents can absorb and understand quickly on their way through a gazillion other queries. A good, crisp synopsis makes an agent eager to read the entire manuscript.

Can one learn this skill by example? By reading examples, along with an agent’s reasons why they’re good or not? More likely example and practice are necessary. But examples sure help. So put on your synopsis-writing cap and read through the recent series of “Crapometer” posts at Miss Snark, the literary agent. Thanks to Miss Snark for her time sharing her insider views, and thanks to the writers who braved the Crapometer’s challenge.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 2:33 pm PST, 12/26/05


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