if it’s too difficult for grown-ups, write for children

Ask Daphne! About Synopsis Lengths

royal-shoe-2011-a-pWhat other shoes could I post an image of today but Kate Middleton’s wedding heels? Lovely! But on to the questions! Eleni asked:

I’ve got a 7 page synopsis in rough draft form for querying. Do I need a 7-page synopsis or is that pretty rare?

I’d say that’s pretty rare. It’s certainly something that’s no doubt useful for YOU to have, but my bet would be that most agents, in looking for a synopsis of a novel that’s being queried, are more than content with two to three pages.

Now, I wouldn’t toss that seven pager, of course. You may find yourself needing it, or something like it further on down the road — if an agent likes your full manuscript, perhaps, and wants to read your recap of the story in more detail. Some editors I’ve submitted to also want a synopsis, although there again a two to three pager may be more than enough.

And the act of writing out your story in that length is a helpful step in getting your plot down in even shorter form.

Bonus second question, for the royal wedding day! Eleni also asked “Does it matter if I have a webpage when I’m querying agents?” It’s not the be-all and end-all, but it can be helpful if an agent likes what you’ve got and wants to know more about you. As always, though, if you’re going to have a blog or a website, make sure that what you’re posting isn’t something that’s going to bite you in the arse. Always consider that your future agent and/or editor may see what you’re writing — and if that isn’t clear enough, it can be helpful to use the rule of thumb for internet writing, “Never post anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.”


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