The Dread Pirate Query Synopsis

Now that I’ve finished my 3rd manuscript, it’s time to get back to editing and polishing my 2nd manuscript. I’ve had one partial request for it, but it’s not ready to go out yet. This worries me. I don’t want to be forgotten, but I also don’t want to send out anything without going over it with a fine tooth comb.

However, that isn’t the point of my post today. No, today’s post is about the query and synopsis I have to write for the 2nd manuscript. Is there anything scarier than writing a query, or a synopsis? I don’t think so. Well, maybe snakes, but that’s it. I can avoid snakes by not going into their habitats. Queries and synopses are something completely different. They’re necessary in this business of writing.

What’s so scary, you may ask. Well, the query is  your introduction to an editor/agent. It’s the first thing they see. Your entire manuscript is pretty much judged on the query. You have to condense your story down to its rawest elements while grabbing the curiosity of the agent or editor. It should be easy. You wrote the story, after all. You know it front to back, have slaved over it, given it life. But breaking it down to roughly two paragraphs…meh.

The query is the first thing you submit to agents/editors who accept submissions. It’s the selling point of your entire manuscript. Think of it as a blurb you want to see on the back of your book. It contains the basic elements of the story while drawing in the reader, making them want to read more.

The synopsis is a horse of a different color. It gives you more room to expand on those basic elements you touched upon in your query. You get a chance to describe the plot, the characters, and the ending, but you have to do it in such a way that it draws in the agent/editor. You want them to want more.

Again, none of this should be difficult. You wrote a book. You know the essentials (and a lot more): who, what, when, where, how, and why. It’s taking everything you know, and putting it in a different perspective that always causes me problems. I feel like I’m leaving out something important, then if I put what I think is important, I feel like the story sounds flat.

I’ll get through it. I know I will. I’ve done it before, I just dislike it a lot. How about you? Do you dread the query/synopsis? Are you a pro at writing them?


Filed under Writing

3 responses to “The Dread Pirate Query Synopsis

  1. Danica, hon, I feel your pain! A necessary evil indeed.

  2. Danica, I disagree with your statement that “none of this should be difficult.” You just spent months writing, what – 80,000 or 90,000 words. Now you have to retrain your mind to condense those words into 1000 words. Which 1000 do you use? Which 1000 will the editor or agent like the best? Which 1000 are your very best words? Which 1000 tell your story but still make the editor want more?
    I think queries and summaries are damn hard. Yes, I just cursed.

    Mariella Morgan

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