1. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is this a normal synopsis?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Elgaisma, Feb 16, 2011.

    I have never seen it worded this way before - how do I tackle it?

    We require a brief (two pages max) summary of characters, plot and your intentions/inspiration, in that order —
     
  2. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    First off, give em what they ask for.

    Second, if you are concerned about fitting it all into two pages, trying just writing it out in your own words, regardless of length, then pair it down from there.

    pair or pare? gonna have to look that up.

    Yep, should have used pare.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    oh no being in the UK 2 pages is a luxury lol I have my main synopsis fitted nicely into 350 words. Then 75 words on the aspiration bit - its about 1 page.

    Do I write about the characters then add the plot ? Thats my issue I am not sure what they are asking for ?
     
  4. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    That's what I would do, since they specifically said, in that order. It sounds poorly worded, but if that's how they want it....
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    ok so basically lay it out as

    Socrates my main character, protagonist and
    Fyren - his lover - bit about him
    Lucinda my antagonist ____

    Followed by normal synopsis ?

    Think I will email them.
     
  6. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Another thing you can do is write it up their way as best you can, and compare it to your original version. If their way doesn't look terrible, go with it. Otherwise then maybe, maybe, consider using your own format if it is 1000 times better. Every now and then people don't know how to ask for what they want.

    I still say though your best bet is to just give it to them the way they asked.
     
  7. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Think I will email them.

    -That's a good idea too.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    ok I have them emailed - if I get a response back I will post it :)
     
  9. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Sounds good, I'm curious now what they will say. Hopefully they'll answer you. :)
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Trouble is its for an open submission month - I want to have it and my five my chapters in by 1 March if I can. Which is tight because I have to rewrite them first lol I need to finish my other book first which has mushroomed.
     
  11. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    OK I can't help you there, lol.
     
  12. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hi Elg,

    I'd do it like this:

    "Socrates, a centuries-old adventurer who gave the King's Throne to his younger brother in order to live with his partner Nate, lives in Covesea Island.." and then write a 4-5 sentence paragraph talking about Soc. No infodump mind you; make everything interesting. Include things like key personality traits that are important enough to contribute to the story (like Monk's obsession with cleanliness, House's blunt temperament etc).

    From there, give about 3 paragraphs about the plot.

    One paragraph about inspiration - pretty self-explanatory.

    Once you double-space this, it'll be around two pages.
     
  13. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Hi Elgaisma. Well, I've never sent a plot summary to a publisher. As up now, I have a five-page (wich is probably too much) summary of my characters, and one page paragraph of the plot (the begining, middle, and end of the story). Maybe the five pages are due to the large amount of characters in my novel. I have eight characters in me novel, and they are all described. So, yeah, my character synopsis is within the four page mark (although it's four and a half pages long). So I see no problem as to having a 4-page summary of the characters for the publisher. As far as the UK goes, I'm not sure what is the requirement, since I live in USA. I typically don't worry about the page numbers in quanatiy, I worry about the quality.

    If I were you, I would describe the main information on the characters. These might include

    The Character's motivation (what he/she makes him want to do the goal

    The character's Goal (what does he/she want to do)

    The character's failure (what keeps him/her from doing it)

    What changes the character's attitude in the story (what changes his heart after he had to go through the obstacles to meet his goal)

    And what he/she learned in the story.

    I normally have each of these questions above in one sentence, making up a paragraph after each question for each character is answered.

    Then, the one page summary of what the story is about (something like this: A teenager attempts to find peace in his life long after he experienced pain in California. The story shortly takes place in California where the experience originated there. The teenager decides to run away from his problem by moving to Kentucky to stay with his mother hoping that he could lighten the burden of the misery that is in him. When he meets his brother for the first time in 10 years, his brother fails to remember him. He later experiences a nightmare about his rough life he in California. When he later wakes up and gets his brother’s attention, his brother promises him that he will protect him while he is still alive after seeing bullies in the neighborhood mistreating him. Meanwhile, he loses his friends after he discovered that he had divine powers his brother secretly grants him).

    Other than this, I'm not sure if this would help any. The one page paragraph talks about the main character's motivation (i.e He lives a peacfull life), then the main goal (the main conflict), then the obstacles (I normally have at least three obstacles the character goes through to reach his goal, then I add more obstacles as the story progress.
     
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  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's not a synopsis... sounds more like a scaled-down book proposal... a synopsis wouldn't have your 'intentions/inspiration' in it... and i don't see why they need to know your 'inspiration' anyway... are you sure this is a legit agency?
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's in the UK - yes its a legit publishers although newish they have had good successes. The normal format for a synopsis here is 50 words introduction, 350-450 word synopsis of plot, 50-200 words about yourself the author (which is the intention/inspiration bit). The UK industry does accept series proposals (the trend is to know the author has more than one book in them) this one is a fantasy/sci-fi so even more so.

    The bit I didn't get was introduction to characters but after thinking over night I actually think its a normal synopsis they have just worded it badly because normally they only deal with agents etc

    I do introduce the Main character and his main conflict in the introductory paragraph.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what you just described is a 'query' or 'proposal' and definitely not a 'synopsis'...

    a synopsis is only the plot/storyline laid out in present tense and with no dialog... contains the beginning, the middle, and the ending... it can be a 'short' 1-pg, 'medium' 2-5, or 'long' 6-10, depending on the agent's/publisher's preference...
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not according to the Writers and Artists Yearbook 2011 that is how it is laid out in there (Under the synopsis chapter, the introductory letter (not called a query) is a different chapter), it is pretty much an industry standard guide and lists most agents and publishers along with tips and guidelines for how to sub your work- yes make it present tense, no dialogue and a plot summary which mine is- Every agent or publisher with the exception of this one has so far referred me to the guide. And yes they are all reputable well respected agents and one of the publishers is Penguin (they had an open submissions).

    A covering letter is different again, first paragraph lays out genre, word count, title, hook and target audience, middle paragraph or two is a very brief synopsis and then if you have them relevant writing credits - the latter is different to the author biography requested at the bottom of the synopsis which is basically the biography they would put on a website or book it is to give them an idea if you as an author can market yourself and how they can market you, how you came to write your book and where you would see yourself going can go in this part. It should be in double spacing and the font is usually arial black 12pt or times new roman 12pt.

    I have yet to have any here ask for anything longer than 700 words if anything they tend to go shorter and ask for two paragraphs. The longer synopsis may come later. I only intend to sub my work here in the UK so they are the standards I am sticking to.
     

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