Monday, February 15, 2010

Johnny Ray

I attended a workshop presented at the local Tampa chapter of The Romance Writers of America monthly meeting by literary agent Nephele Tempest. She discussed two parts and I will make this a two part blog as well. The first part is the synopsis.

The length of the synopsis is often discussed as she made it clear a short one is preferred and you needed one only a paragraph or two and one about one and a half pages. I have seen many agents set their requirement from very short to very long. It depends on the agent. As such it stands to reason to have a long one and the ability to shorten it according to which agent you are pitching.

The main difference in a query letter and a synopsis is the ending. The query is designed to hook the agent, the synopsis is required to show the agent you can fully develop the story and have enough plot to carry it. Kind of like a one two punch.

A short synopsis describes the major points in the novel. A longer synopsis can add complexities and minor plots. In either case the author has to be able to show a satisfying resolution.

Some authors work with an outline that can be converted to a synopsis and others write a synopsis specifically designed for a specific agent. The ability to demonstrate a writer’s style inside the synopsis is a big bonus. Being a business relationship, the agent will want to know they will enjoy working with the author and his style fits the type book he is proposing.

In listening to Ms. Tempest I realized how important it is to custom the synopsis to the individual agent. She offered some very valuable insight into the process of attracting and obtaining an agent.

Johnny Ray

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