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Synopsis Nightmare. Would you read this?
ElleLewis
Posted: Friday, August 7, 2015 11:29 PM
Joined: 8/7/2015
Posts: 11


Now that I've gotten serious about wanting to publish this project, I'm slowly working my way through the panics associated with answering the basic question of what it's about. I don't think anyone actually means for me to give them the rundown on the entire thing, so I've limited myself to a few concise sentences. I was really proud of myself for doing that considering this rambling habit I have and the fact that the project has numerous significant sub-plots that I'd dive into if the two sentence job didn't seem to hold someone's attention.

I'm working on the query now, which is another animal entirely. 12 drafts later, I have reaffirmed my belief that I don't always know when to shut up. So, I submit to you. Would you begin a series based on this synopsis?

The Most Beloved and Majestic Nation of Bastiat wants you to know that dragons do not, and have never existed. When 12-year old engineering prodigy, Lia James Auteur, stumbles on a dragon’s skeleton in the mouth of a dormant volcano, she discovers this is only one of their many destructive, elaborate lies.

The story follows the girl from her bookish adolescence spent helping her father engineer artisanal prosthetic limbs, through her discovery of how fabled Violet Sparks can be used to give life to mechanized creatures: souls to automatons. Instilled with the ethics of her charming scientist parents, Lia becomes embattled with Bastiat over the ownership and use of the technology she has cracked. She is aided in her adventures to destroy the secrets of the State by a cast of magicians, science-minded misfits, a talking cat, and a Kraken, all prodded to her side by fate and history. It is her obsession with the dragon she must use to protect her hometown -- Portico -- and essentially the world, from the threat of annihilation. It is her cunning and curiosity that makes the right enemies to create an honest legacy and restore faith in science and the identities of nations.



I'm wondering if my sentences may be too long. Should they be simpler? Am I cramming too much information here? Thanks!


Amber J. Wolfe
Posted: Friday, August 7, 2015 11:59 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


Hi, Elle

 

As it looks like you're new, welcome to Book Country!

 

I looked over your synopsis, and have this to say: It reads more like a query than a synopsis at this point. You've summarized the events instead of telling us about what actually happens.

 

In essence, a synopsis is a 1-3 page (or more) overview of all the major events that happen in the novel. Meaning you give us all the details of beginning, middle, and end. It's a tick off of what happens. Here's a couple links you might find useful:

 

http://www.writersdigest.com/editors-picks/learn-how-to-write-a-synopsis-like-a-pro

 
http://www.writersdigest.com/page/1?s=synopsis+example&submit

 

That last one takes you to a list of synopsis examples, to give you a better idea of how a synopsis is written.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Amber

 

P.S., to answer your question, that summary does peak my interest in the story, by the way


ElleLewis
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2015 12:33 AM
Joined: 8/7/2015
Posts: 11


Amber, thank you! Summaries make me nervous and I'm terrified of frightening off the reader by throwing too much at them prematurely. This summary is indeed for a query, so as long as it reads effectively for that purpose, I feel better. Synopses being longer (I've got to get this terminology down) I'll probably be less anxious about writing them.
Amber J. Wolfe
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2015 12:48 AM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


Okay, so this is for a query, not a synopsis. Got it! In that case, some more advice:

 

Start off the query with a paragraph like this: Hi, I'm seeking representation for my (insert word count) (insert genre) novel, (INSERT TITLE), a story about (insert one-liner sum-up about the book).

 

Then go on to give the pitch. You can check out my query here, which has gotten great feedback, to see what I mean:

 

 http://www.bookcountry.com/Community/Discussion/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=8589936792

 
Hope that helps you!

 

Amber


ElleLewis
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2015 1:47 AM
Joined: 8/7/2015
Posts: 11


Is it just a style preference that the word count and technical details come before the summary? I have seen some on other sites where it's added at the end. Does it matter?
Amber J. Wolfe
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2015 1:54 AM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


Out of the research I've done, it seems agents and editors prefer to get word count, genre, and title out of the way before reading a query. That way, they can tell right from the start whether they'll be interested in going on and reading the query itself--They hate starting a query, then finding out at the end that the genre/word count isn't right for them.

 

So, in my humble opinion, placing word count, genre, and title at the top is what agents and editors most prefer. However, if the agent/editor explicitly states that they'd rather have word count/genre/title at the bottom of the query, then by all means put it there!

 

Keep asking questions if you have them--I'm always glad to help a fellow Book Country member. Or anyone, really

--edited by Amber J. Wolfe on 8/8/2015, 1:58 AM--


ElleLewis
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2015 2:07 AM
Joined: 8/7/2015
Posts: 11


You're a HUGE help (and you seem to be on my wonky sleep schedule!) so thank you. I'll probably post the full query in a section designated for queries and get your ideas there. I do have a bunch of questions about it. Thank you!
Amber J. Wolfe
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2015 2:12 AM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


You're welcome

 

I'll be up for another few hours, so if you post between now and around 6:00 a.m. I can take a look at it. Otherwise, it'll probably be around 8:00 P.M. tomorrow before I log back on.

 

Happy Writing!

 

Amber


ElleLewis
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2015 3:14 AM
Joined: 8/7/2015
Posts: 11


I've posted the query (sans any edits we discussed here for now) over at http://www.bookcountry.com/Community/Discussion/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=8589937619

 

I have some questions listed there and would like general feedback as well, so whenever you're feeling up to it, have at it! And thanks again for taking a look.


Amber J. Wolfe
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2015 3:20 AM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


I'm looking it over right now and am currently going through it with a red pen. I'm getting critical, so be prepared. Muhawawawa!

 

*ahem*


JPKippling
Posted: Sunday, August 9, 2015 9:19 PM
Joined: 6/10/2015
Posts: 26


Hey Elle! I am very much in the same boat as far as the synopsis is concerned. How are you supposed to boil down your whole book to such a short length?!?! Ah! Nightmare!

 

But, I agree with Amber on this point, this reads more like a query than a synopsis. She's already given you a lot of good tips on this.

 

All I wanted to add is GOOD LUCK! Your books does sound interesting and soon, with a little patience and a lot of work, your query and synopsis will show it.

 

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