Writing Process
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I’m Supposed to Write a Manuscript Synopsis Now (and I have no idea what I’m doing)

Manuscript to freelance editor. Check!
Two to three sentence pitch. Check!
Query letter. Check!

I’m writing the synopsis now. Query letters and back cover copy I know I can do, but the synopsis is a weird hybrid of sexy and “just the facts, ma’am.”

After scouring the internet for tips and examples, I’ve been trying to cobble something together. It’s a neat exercise. Stripping my entire manuscript down to its bare bones means I get to really see what the core of the story is all about. No subplots. No side characters. I’ll wait until I get my notes back from the editor before polishing up the final version.


Anyhoo, I’ve consolidated several helpful “how the hell do I write a motherfucking synopsis” links below:

Synopsis Examples
Learn by studying those who came before you, grasshopper. Chuck Sambuchino writes sample synopses for a bunch of movies.

Back to Basic: Writing a Novel Synopsis
The writer of the piece, Jane Friedman, tells me a synopsis doesn’t only show what happens, it also shows who changes throughout the course of the story. That makes sense. I can do that. Then I read the part where she says to keep it short. Like one page short. Whaaaaa…? My synopsis is currently sitting at four pages (about 2000 words).

But that’s alright. I’m gonna edit, rewrite, and cut shit out. That’s what being a writer is all about.

Jane goes on to list a few do’s and do not’s, then she breaks down the challenge of writing a synopsis into one easy equation. Complete with brackets and a plus sign!

Make sure you check out her list of additional resources at the very bottom.

How to Write a Synopsis of Your Novel
This was at the very top of Jane’s additional resources list. Glen Strathy expands Jane’s equation into a seven-step process. There are index cards! And you get to sort them into piles! Hnnnnnggghhh!

Agent Query Formatting and Submission Law
This one goes through formatting and submission guidelines for queries, manuscripts, and synopses. I’ve got this page bookmarked for a while now, because this aspiring author (and snail mail noob) needs answers to silly questions like how the hell am I supposed to package and mail an entire manuscript? Use a manuscript box, dummy. And yes. One day, someone WILL request a full, and thanks to AgentQuery, I WILL BE READY.

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