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:~: Friday, October 27, 2006 :~:


Has it really been a week since I last posted? Wow. I am a huge slacker. Enormous apologies. I'll try to be better.

What have I been up to? Writing, what else? I suppose that's a good enough excuse. ;)

Specifically, I've been putting together proposals for two different books. I have the chapters finally finished (hooray!), and about ready to go out to the CPs (be on the lookout CPs...your break has passed). Now I'm working on the dreaded suckopses.

Dreaded. Yes. Definitely. I hate them. With a passion. Since I'm a pantster, I generally write my synopses after I write a book. Teaching myself to write it before is a lesson in patience and hair pulling.

The biggest question I have is how long should it be? This is something I always struggle with. It seems everyone has different requirements. Agents want something different from editors. Editors want something different from each other. I've heard three pages, five pages, ten pages and, (my personal fav, the one that makes my eyes cross and my heart rate jack up into the triple digits), one synopsis page per 20 manuscript pages.

Holy cow. I could bleed all over the synopsis and still never get twenty pages out.

So I throw myself at the mercy of those who know. Gimme your synopsis writing tips. How long? If you're a pantster, how close to the synopsis do you expect to be after you write the book? If you're published and selling on proposal, what does your editor look for in a synopsis?


Blogger Paty Jager said...

Wish I could be of help here. As a fellow panster, I don't write a synopsis until the book is done. I do however have a couple short paragraphs, more like a pitch that I have written for the next two books in my trilogy.

So to answer your question, what did your agent ask for in a synopsis? 1,2, or 20 pages? I'd stick with that number, or whatever it takes to get the feel and idea of the book across to an agent/editor.

Hope that helps. ~

3:48 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...


I usually do all three. A three pager, a five pager and a ten pager. That way I have one handy no matter what is asked for.


If someone doesn't specify what length they want. I send the ten page one. I figure it covers the bases better.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Piper Lee said...


Sorry, no advice. I've never done one. Tried once, about 3 years ago. Didn't like doing it, so I've never tried again. ;)

Good luck!

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Ack, Theresa! You terrify me! I write a two to three page outline (rough is too kind a word to describe this) before I start writing, and then I force out a two page synopsis when the book is done. My method for this is to write the two page synopsis over and over again from scratch (five times for the last book I finished) until I get one that doesn't suck too much. One agent wanted a one page synopsis. I tried, really I did, but she ended up being sent the two page one. I haven't heard from her . . . :)

2:26 PM  
Blogger Kate S said...

You mean you're supposed to write them before you write the book? Nobody told me that! lol I don't see how on earth I could since my stories morph so much during the writing.

In other words, I have nothing to offer, so why am I taking up bandwidth here? Oh yeah, just wanted to say love the "suckopses"! :) Good luck, and I hope someone has something more useful to offer you (that way I can borrow it.) :)

3:34 PM  
Blogger LaDonna said...

Eli sorry no new advice, I'm with you. I write the suckopses(love it) after the book. And then it's a royal pain in the ass. I hate them too, along with query letters! Anything pertaining to the business end. LOL. Think I need an agent??? Ah, you have one and you still have to shovel this ssss...stuff. I better learn to at least tolerate them, I guess.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Paty, my agent suggested 10 pgs. Then I told her that makes me break out in hives and she laughed and said to shoot for eight then like I did on my last book. (But I wrote that synopsis AFTER I wrote the book, so that's really no help). I'm going to shoot for ten - which means I'll probably end up with three. ;)

In the end she said to write as much as it takes to get the story across. I guess that's really what I should shoot for.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Michelle, Theresa terrifies me, too. 10 pgs? Ack! My good friend who writes for Intrigue writes 15-20 pg synopses before she writes the book. I just can't even fathom that.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

ROFL, Piper. Oh, your time is coming. ;)

Kate - you can take up as much bandwidth as you want. Teaching myself to write the synopsis first is really really REALLY hard.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

LOL, Ladonna. Everything about the biz side of writing is a learning process for me. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Christine Keach said...

I write it after the book as well. I've heard 1 pager, 3 pager, 5 pager and 1 page for every 10,000 words.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Christine - 1 pg for every 10K words would be about a 10 pger for a 100k word book. I guess that makes sense (*cringe*)

2:08 PM  
Blogger TJBrown said...

I have no tips. None. My agent gently told me that I could use a synopsis class or something. I personally think I could use a writing class as well, but that's just the mood I'm in today. Soooo good luck with that!

6:29 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Teri, I took a synopsis class about a year ago. All it did was frustrate me.

Congrats on getting the revisions sent off!

8:41 PM  
Blogger Edie said...

Eli, I write about 5 double-spaced pages, but this is for my own self. People who send them to their editors seem to write longer. *shudder*

I see it's been almost a few days since you wrote this. I hope you're done with the suckopsis by now.

7:46 AM  

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