Login   Sign Up 

Random Read

  • Synopsis
    by NGwriter at 14:49 on 04 July 2017
    Hi everyone

    I am just working on the synopsis of my novel. If an agent requests a 'one page outline' does that mean one page double-spaced? Currently it's sitting at 1,230 words and while I'm well aware that this should be cut down, I'm wondering how much it should be cut by...

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  • Re: Synopsis
    by TassieDevil at 19:41 on 04 July 2017
    I personally think that it should be double spaced. Most story submissions request double spaced as it is easier to read so I'd imagine they would want the same format., 
  • Re: Synopsis
    by NGwriter at 07:08 on 05 July 2017
    Wow. Ok so a one-page outline should be about 300 words? That's so difficult! 
  • Re: Synopsis
    by TassieDevil at 08:33 on 05 July 2017
    I know. ihave the same problem. See what t'others say.
  • Re: Synopsis
    by Jennifer1976 at 09:23 on 05 July 2017
    I would have said double-spaced too, Natalia, but I've just had a look in my Nicola Morgan book on synopses and she says single-spacing is okay. From a quick Google, there seems to be agreement that single-spacing is fine for a one page synopsis, but anything longer and it is better practice to use double-spacing.

    I reckon that as long as you've followed all the other submission requirements, then it should be okay, but I also know I'd be tempted to double-space it anyway because I always worry about scuppering my chances if I get a 'rule' wrong (probably just me though!).

    All the best,

  • Re: Synopsis
    by Bazz at 15:50 on 05 July 2017
    I've never done double spaced. I think for a one page synopsis that's a bit of an ask. I've sent off quite a few, don't think i've ever read anyone specify double spaced either. 
  • Re: Synopsis
    by Freebird at 15:19 on 06 July 2017
    yes, one page single spaced is what I've always understood (some agents specify it that way). They're a devil to write, because you need to not only show what happens and how the plot develops and ends, but you need to give a flavour of the characters too. So yours would need to be from Lily's pov and in her voice, just as the book is.  So don't just say what happens but how she feels about it eg 'She is horrified when...' xyz happens.
  • Re: Synopsis
    by Freebird at 15:21 on 06 July 2017
    PS I think I read somewhere that a general rule of thumb is to make the synopsis not more than 10% of the wordcount, eg a 40,000 word novel could have a roughly 400 word synopsis, but definitely no more than that.
  • Re: Synopsis
    by NGwriter at 15:23 on 06 July 2017
    Thanks, that's really helpful. Got a bit more work to do on it then!
  • Re: Synopsis
    by TassieDevil at 20:34 on 06 July 2017
    Hi Freebird,
    Appreciate the useful info as I'm doing a synopsis myself but I do think your Maths might be a little out.

    10% of the wordcount, eg a 40,000 word novel could have a roughly 400 word synopsis

  • Re: Synopsis
    by NGwriter at 21:06 on 06 July 2017
    ha - I didn't even spot that! 

    Assuming you meant 1%, Freebird...

    It's still useful. I wish these agencies would be a bit more specific!
  • Re: Synopsis
    by Freebird at 15:44 on 11 July 2017
    i know, I just realised I am woefully out with my 10%. I thought it didn't look right when I put it! I meant 1% blush
  • Re: Synopsis
    by Anna Reynolds at 16:27 on 10 August 2017
    This isn't to do with word count, but general synopsis-writing- Emma Darwin, who used to be on this site a lot, wrote this v helpful advice about the tricky art:

    ·         Don't let it be longer than a page (single spaced)
    ·         Take the story right to the end: this isn't a teasing blurb.
    ·         Write plainly and directly in third person and present tense ...
    ·         ... but also try to convey the emotional drivers and structure of the story, not just the factual structure of the plot. How the characters are put through the emotional mill and how they change is vital, and needs all the vivid verbs you can manage. So ...
    ·         ... "Show don't tell" applies: not, A romantic interlude takes place, but, She kisses him. Not  Quickly, they hire a car to take them to the site of the contamination but, They race against time and their own terror to discover where the poison is coming from.
    ·         Tell the story, don't talk about the book. Not, At this point, as the pace picks up, we are introduced to Simon, who is a.... but, Simon is a... Not The theme of deliverance is emphasised when Alice rescues John... but Alice digs John out of the landslide ...
    ·         Tell the story in the order it happens in the book. Ignore any backstory which isn't essential to the main plot, and the same goes for subplots: only give what's crucial to the main arc of the main plot. If the novel is non-chronological use brief signposts such as, In 1976, Simon rides... or Meanwhile, in Borneo... to keep things clear. Better to be a bit plodding if you have to be, than confusing.
    ·         If the voice of your novel is particularly important, give a flavour of it by integrating a line which also conveys an important piece of plot information. For example, "He writes of his soldiering life, but, as he tells her, the images of the past that I carry with me are eaten away by the bitterness of that day on St Peter’s Field." This moment matters because it's that change in how he feels about his past which powers him as a character-in-action, and it also matters that it's her he tells about it; otherwise it wouldn't get mentioned.
    ·         Do it in stages; each time you'll think you've cut it to the bone, but when you return to it the next day you'll see another few words you can winkle out. Leave it for a week, then go back and polish.
  • Re: Synopsis
    by NGwriter at 08:19 on 14 August 2017
    Thank you Anna, that's very helpful.