There is an enormous difference between writing technically and writing fiction, and if you dont seem to know this it is not impressive. This is different for non-fiction. As a rule, err on the side of brevity if necessary. If the reader loves your work they will be in touch to find out more about you. For help with learning how to self-market read Marketing your book: An Authors guide by Alison baverstock. NB: If the work is literary, there may be less emphasis on plot and more on the quality of the prose. Due to current climates and publishing trends, this is a difficult time to publish literary fiction without strong plots, dream although things undoubtedly will change.
It is for you to judge what is of particular interest about you, and how much to say, but you should also provide a fuller biographical note which sits well at the bottom of the synopsis page. This should be between 50 and 200 words as a guide. If you have been published provide a summarised list of publications here. If you have not, or are trying to hide a career you think has gone off track and want to appear fresh, keep it brief and mention what you do, your age and anything that makes you sound interesting. If your career is related to your subject matter, then do say this. For example i worked as a miner for twenty year if your book is set in a mining community. Do avoid listing technical publications as evidence of writing ability if you are submitting fiction.
In this you should say that you are enclosing a novel called x, which is a novel (identify genre). It does not matter if this is repeated on the synopsis page. You may also wish to refer to writers you feel you are similar to, although do be careful not to have misplaced arrogance in this. You might say i write in the genre of John Grisham because he is a writer I read and hugely admire or you might say this is a novel in which to kill a mockingbird meets Crash or Harper lee meets. G ballard but do be careful that you know you have the talent to claims like these. Otherwise, let the agent decide and they will help market you to the publisher, and the publisher then help market you to the public. If you admire an agent for a particular reason, such as they publish a hero or heroine of yours, let them know. Biographical note, if you have something interesting to say about yourself, such as that you have won a writing competition or published before in relevant publications, do include this briefly in the cover letter.
6 Steps for, writing a book
hopefully you can see the clear differences between the two. Writing a detailed synopsis. Following the brief summary should be a more detailed synopsis of 350450 words. Literary agents do not want a detailed chapter-by-chapter breakdown (if they do, theyll ask for one) as reading them can be tiresome and difficult to follow. The main aim of the longer synopsis is to give a detailed overview which clearly and concisely conveys how the story flows and unfolds, and (very importantly) what is interesting about. The longer synopsis should also reconfirm when the story is set (i.e. Is it contemporary or historical?
the setting or background (e.g. Is Thatchers government in its last throes or are we in a quiet devonshire village where nothing ever happens, but there is a sense of impending doom? inform the reader about the central character (i.e. What is interesting about them and what happens on their journey as well as giving brief reference to other characters that are directly pivotal to the plot. The longer synopsis should also highlight the dramatic turning points and tell the reader of any other salient information which will help convey what kind of work it is, how well imagined are the characters involved and how well thought through and alluring is the. Cover letter, alongside the synopsis should also be an excellent, economically written and confident sounding cover letter. This should simply address a well-researched literary agent by name (never put a generic dear Sir/Madam).
All good synopses should begin with a brief summary of 3075 words, the sort of thing which appears on a books back cover. For example, had you written Pride and Prejudice today: Pride and Prejudice is a contemporary, literary romance about a woman who falls in love with a man she thinks she hates. Or, Pride and Prejudice, a contemporary, literary novel, tells the story of Elizabeth Bennett, a proud, intelligent woman, one of five sisters, whose mother is committed to marrying her children off as a matter of urgency. Elizabeth meets Darcy, owner of a grand estate, but considers him over proud, arrogant and undesirable. In time, she learns that he is not all that he appears to be, and revises her prejudice, before they fall deeply in love.
Both these examples, one short, one longer, serve to whet the appetite for more detail to follow. An example of an ostensibly weak synopsis, which rambles and fails to emphasise the most important points quickly enough, might be: Set at some point in the nineteenth century, five sisters are looking for husbands. Or is Mary, really? Anyway, their mother is a real fuss pot and annoys everybody. Outside their house there are lots of fields and it is sometimes raining. The girls father is gentle and kind, with grey hair but not good at standing up to his wife always. Mr Bingley is an important character who is very handsome, but is he as handsome as Mr Darcy? It is hard to tell!
Parallel Gospels: a synopsis of Early Christian Writing
This is largely because when most people start to write a novel they do so without having studied the genre they are writing for. Although, when you report start to write, you feel free to explore, practise and experiment without thinking in terms of the defining limits of a genre, by the time you come to submitting your work to be published, it is very important to know which genre. In all art forms there are rule breakers, but almost inevitably as in the cases of Picasso, virginia woolf and, more recently, the us writer Michael Cunningham even the greatest artists have studied the traditional forms/genres before taking any risks. A good starting point is to read books you consider similar to the one you are writing that are already published, and note how they are classified on the back cover. By reading, and sometimes studying literature and writing through other routes, you will also learn the possibilities and limits offered by your chosen genre. The bad news is if you dont clarify what kind of book you have written, the chances are it will reflect in the text. If you dont clearly inform the agent or editor what your book is about and which category it falls into, it may all too quickly be labelled as a work which falls between stools, is impossible to market and so doesnt get considered any further. Writing a brief summary, having made it your top priority to identify what type of novel you have written, you can make a start on your all-important synopsis.
The most important thing to realise about fiction in respect of how you present it to representatives of the publishing industry is that it breaks down into different types, or stunning genres. For those who think that the obsession with genres, or types of fiction, is a modern phenomenon, the lines from Polonius famous speech in Hamlet might serve to prove the opposite. He describes the actors who have come to court as The best actors in the world for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited. Some of these dramatic forms are familiar and others not. There are always more genres being invented or cross-fertilised. It can be difficult to keep up! The most popular genres today are, broadly speaking: crime, thriller, psychological thriller, detective, sci-fi, horror, comic, chick-lit, lads lit, historical, saga, literary, experimental, graphic, erotic, fantasy, romantic, womens commercial fiction and literary-commercial crossover or, as its becoming more widely coined, lit Lite. Classifying your novel within a genre can be a challenge.
is the case, i would urge you to think not of yourself, but of the reader, and treat the project as a literary exercise which you should try to enjoy: a challenge and opportunity to show your work off in its essential form. It might help to refer to book blurbs, or plot summaries in reference books such as The Oxford Companion to literature, or online, for example in wikipedia. In addition to letting a professional reader know what happens in your manuscript, the synopsis will also let them know at a glance if you have thought about how your work fits in to the market. This is critical in non-fiction, less so with fiction, although with fiction awareness of what genre you have written in is vital. . Also, if what you are writing coincides with any major anniversaries for example, or might have a marketing hook of any other kind, this is important to mention if not within the synopsis itself, then within a cover letter. Fiction synopses, a fiction synopsis should comprise a brief summary followed by a more detailed synopsis. But before writing either of these, you must clarify which genre your work fits into.
To put it simply, the twist sample chapters are to show how you write, and the synopsis is to tell the reader what happens when they have finished reading them. This will help inform the publisher/literary agent whether they think it is worth their while to read more. Then, if they do want to read more, they will ask you. So, the bottom line is this if you want to have your manuscript read in its entirety you must invest time in getting your cover letter and book synopsis right. I know from my experiences at tlc that many writers can get disconcerted and nervous by having to produce a synopsis and there are usually two reasons why. First, a writer might have an unwieldy story that they themselves are not 100 per cent convinced by, or a non-fiction project that they do not really know enough about. If this is so, summarising can be difficult because the level of thinking through and planning of the project has not been done in the first place. In this instance, i would urge the writer to question why this process is so difficult. If it is because the story is insufficiently clear, persuasive or gripping, then more work needs to be done to get the manuscript into the kind of shape that would persuade an agent or editor to consider it further.
Your guide, to An Effective novel Synopsis
With all tlc manuscript assessments, you are welcome to submit your synopsis and cover letter, and we also provide a submission package assessment which looks at your first 50 pages, synopsis, and dear Agent letter. Our fees can be found here, and submission guidelines here. Client feedback can be found here. The add dictionary definition of synopsis (derived from the Ancient Greek meaning) is a brief description of the contents of something. The purpose of a synopsis is to inform a literary agent or publisher of the type of book you are writing/have written in a concise, appealing fashion, conveying that you are in command of your subject matter. If you want your manuscript to be given serious consideration, a good synopsis is a crucial part of your submission. The Writers artists yearbook will inform you that most publishing houses no longer accept direct submissions but those that do (usually the smaller houses) will usually ask for a cover letter, synopsis and sample chapters rather than a whole work in the first instance. The same applies to literary agents.