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I'm almost there! I have revised my story down to nearly 100,000 words and going to 90,000. What is most frightening is writing a perfect Synopsis and Guery letter. Any suggestions...

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I'm no expert but try to keep you synopsis to roughly 1% the length of your story (300 page document/3 page synopsis). That's no hard and fast rule but it's something to aim for, and then just tell the story as if you have only a couple minutes to tell it. Hit the important details etc.

Query letters are an alien creature to me. I have never gotten one right enough.

It helped me to read other's synopsis.  Here's a link that may help. Good Luck :) http://www.ehow.com/how_4449207_write-synopsis-book.html
Thank you...Am about to read it...

K. L. Parry said:
It helped me to read other's synopsis.  Here's a link that may help. Good Luck :) http://www.ehow.com/how_4449207_write-synopsis-book.html
Thank you so much. I think the query letter is going find but the synopsis is another story. The book is solid. Ready to go. But the synopsis is weak. I'm trying to decide if I should go with an agent or just go directly to the publishers. That is, after I write a great synopsis. And I will copy and paste your info...Thank You...Robert  

Athina Paris said:

Hi Robert, Athina here.

How's your query letter going? I forget where I found this, so I'd like to give them credit for it. But if you follow this example you should be okay. Actually, I have tons of things like this on my PC. It's helpful to see how someone else did it before, and had their work published. Just type in query letter, and an awesome world will appear.

Paragraph One:

        1. Explain what the work is.  So - what are you writing?  What is the genre?  The length?  The title?  Is it complete?  State all the basic info upfront so the agent will immediately know if this is a type of work that she represents.

        2. Explain why you're contacting this agent. Did you meet them at a conference?  Were they recommended by a friend?  Did you see an interview online where they said they were looking for steamy romances and you're writing one such steamy romance?  Show them why you picked them out of the big pile, so they have a reason to pick you out of a big pile. 

Paragraph Two:

        1. Pitch Your Work. This is the most difficult part.  You have to boil your book down to about 3-6 sentences and explain what makes the story interesting.  You've got to get to the hook.  What is the irony - the catch - that makes this story interesting?  If your story is simply about a police officer who retires and adjusts to a new lifestyle, that has no hook.  But if you say that this newly retired police officer decides to get a sex change, and finds that the police union wants to cancel his pension, and his old friends won't speak to him - then you've got a hook.  You've got a unique, interesting idea for a story. 

Paragraph Three:

        1. Explain who you are and why you're qualified to write this work. Do you have publishing credits?  Are you a journalist?  Have you won any awards?  Have you had short stories published?  If you're pitching nonfiction, this becomes the most important section of the query because you will have to prove that you are the ideal person to write this particular book.
       Keep in mind that if you don't have anything to say or brag about, you can just keep this section short.  Tout your accomplishments quickly and humbly.  You want to say "I'm not brand new and I take writing seriously."  You don't want to say "Yoo-hoo!  Look at my accolades!  I'm the man, if you didn't know it, sucka."

        2. Thank them. Thank the agent for considering your project.  Ask them if you can send more.  "Can I send you the first few chapters or some pages?"  "Can I send you the full book proposal?"

Different strategies work for different folks, so I thought I'd share my take on query letters.

Paragraph 1: Instead of starting with the laundry-list details (length, genre, etc.,) I begin with a 25-40 word opening paragraph that reads like a compelling back-cover blurb. This tells the reader (whether editor or agent) a bit about my writing skills and what kind of story I've written.

Paragraph 2: Elaborate on my story in 2-3 sentences, incorporating some variations on key language from their website or Writers Market listing, which lets them know in a subtle way that I know what they're all about. I may also draw a comparison to other authors, if appropriate, not by saying I'm as good as, but by saying my book/style is similar to.

Paragraph 3: Why I'm the person to write the story, my publishing history, etc. (although my publishing history is less important to them than whether I can write). In today's market, this would probably be where I tell them something about the audience I've built on Twitter or FB, etc.

Paragraph 4: This is where I tell them length of book, it's finished, etc., and close out.

I do it all in one page. I've had pretty good success with my queries. Hope there's something in there that helps.

 

 

Thank you, and yes I believe this will help. I just finished my query. I am satisfied with it. Here is the opening after the introduction...

 

Nearing two years since his brother lost his life in a horrifying automobile accident, private investigator Jack Roberts learns it was no accident. Samuel was murdered. It was the same day Daniel Webster addressed the town of Stillwater Minnesota seeking election for the state senate.

After meeting with Ms. Jenny Lockens outside his office, Jack discovers that not only was she Samuel’s fiancée but the key witness to his murder. Along with his partner Clare Kenneth, they discover Daniel Webster was behind the murder of Samuel Roberts along with a young woman who had evidence that Daniel Webster was involved in a scandalous crime.  

It's 104 words. Then, I inform the agent I have numerous poems published. And also targeting my audience.

What do you think???

Just a few suggestions below, mostly to tighten it up. The many different character names and their connection to the story became a little confusing to follow when all you want to focus on is the high concept, the main conflict, of the story. See what you think about this:

Almost two years after his brother died (died has more punch; lost his life is more passive & less dramatic) in a horrifying automobile accident, private investigator Jack Roberts learns it was no accident. In "TITLE" Jack's investigation leads to a Minnesota senator and a young woman who knows about the senator's involvement in a scandalous crime.  

Hi Peg, thanks for the imput...I don't remember where I've heard this, but using the word (almost) is a publisher's worst nightmare...It's almost as bad as (always)...However, I might be wrong. Again thank you.

 

Peg Robarchek said:

Just a few suggestions below, mostly to tighten it up. The many different character names and their connection to the story became a little confusing to follow when all you want to focus on is the high concept, the main conflict, of the story. See what you think about this:

Almost two years after his brother died (died has more punch; lost his life is more passive & less dramatic) in a horrifying automobile accident, private investigator Jack Roberts learns it was no accident. In "TITLE" Jack's investigation leads to a Minnesota senator and a young woman who knows about the senator's involvement in a scandalous crime.  

Good point, Robert. "Two years..." would be much stronger.

 

Do you have a template for the synopsis?




Cleveland W. Gibson said:
Do you have a template for the synopsis?


No, I beileve that's what a synopsis is. I don't like giving away the story  but in a synopsis one has too. Thank you Cleveland...
Hello - yes this is a tough subject. I have written a few advice blogs on how to write a synopsis and preliminary letter on writing site Write & Share. To read my article and view my synopsis for my novel please click this link:
 
After sending my letter, synopsis and first 3 chapters of my book to an agent, I got a reply from the editor requesting to read the whole book. I hope that they like it and decide to take me on. The point is that my work made it through the slush pile and to the editor which I'm happy about. I hope my article helps you.

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