Monday, June 22, 2009

Don't Go All St. Elsewhere On Us

I've heard conflicting things about submitting a synopsis. Some say tell ALL (the plot twists, surprises, even the ending) and others say allude to those events but don't necessarily tell exactly how everything is ironed out. Which is it?

Basic answer here - give away the ending, be it in synopsis or outline form. We want to know that the spy thriller doesn't end all crazy with everyone riding off on a magic unicorn.

10 comments:

Ben said...

Great. Now I have to rewrite the ending to my spy thriller!

Aimee K. Maher said...

You said magic unicorn. That rocks.

David said...

Yeah. The ending of St. Elsewhere ruined the whole show for me. I had loved it till then.

Beth said...

Thank you. That makes sense.

Also, is the synopsis limited to one single-spaced page (for a 92,000 word novel)?

One published author told me she writes one page for every 10,000 words. I've never heard that before, have you?

DC Spencer said...

I'm commenting, not about St. Elsewhere, but about this blog in general. I found it again after several months of doing I don't know what - working, maybe - and I laughed out loud as I read through the last several posts. This is one of the most refreshing blogs/sites I've read - ever. Please don't stop.

Anonymous said...

Beth, when I was querying, I noticed that agent guidelines typically stated "a one-page synopsis," "a brief synopsis," or "a synopsis of no more than 5 pages." I think one agent at Folio wanted one that was "less than 10 pages." (Plenty of agents don't want one at all. The agent I signed with didn't.) So I wrote a one-pager with plans to expand it if necessary. But it never became necessary.

That said, I'm sure The Rejecter can give you the best answer because she's in the biz. : )

Anonymous said...

So, Rejecter, what about if you're doing a series type thing, like in the Fantasy genre. I'm planning on writing two books - should I mention this in a query letter, or should I just say the ending to the first book?

Wes Putt said...

I guess that means I can throw away my manuscript with the unicorn escape scene at the end...

Mike said...

Thanks for the tip. I've wondered a couple of times about 'giving away' the ending in those situations. As a writer you get so used to trying to manipulate what the reader knows and when that it feels unnatural to just be straightforward.

Anonymous said...

I think the synopsis changes with every agent that you submit to.
Some have told me not to disclose the ending if it's a mystery thriller and others have. Some agents have wanted the nitty-gritty relationship twists and others want a brief one page outline.
I have heard of the one page per 10,000 words synopsis but that never really suited me and I thought I would have been babbling if I was to write it like that.
I conclude very professionally that I think the synopsis preference changes from agent to agent and if the synopsis writing is not really your style then move onto the next agency on your literary hit-list.
If giving away the ending is a big NO-NO then the agents haven't made a point of telling me so.
:D