Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Synopsis & Query Letter Writing

Today I worked on the synopsis for the project for which I am in the middle of an agent search. First, I've already done the one paragraph synopsis necessary for the query letter. I just know that an agent will (notice the line of positive thinking here) want a more detailed synopsis. How in the heck am I supposed to convert 70+ thousand words into 2 - 3 pages? Will the torture never end?

Of course, it will. Sooner or later, even the most painful moments - writing a query letter rates in the Top Ten, full synopsis is right up there as well - come to an end. The broken heart eventually heals. The mosquito bite eventually quits itching. The multiple drafts of the query letter eventually coalesce into the query that will sell my project. Whoo-hoo! Sorry, I rambled off there for a bit.

I wrote the rough draft only of the detailed synopsis. It, like everything else, is a process. The query letter was a process. Thankfully, I had just stocked up on wine so I was able to survive the writing the query letter process. I mean, how do you actually convert 70+ words of brilliance into one paragraph? Okay, that was a little bit more than positive thinking. I'm allowed. This is my blog after all. If I don't have confidence in myself . . . no, it's not the wine talking. I know it's 4 PM somewhere, but not here. Drat, and double drat! Kidding. I'm a one glass per night wine drinker, and that glass normally takes me three hours . . . just in case anybody was wondering. What I am - in the most rambling way possible - trying to say, is that do not expect the perfect query letter or synopsis on the first try. I am not saying don't aim for that perfect query/synopsis on the first try, just don't be disappointed - as in my case - that the first of anything is just absolute drivel. Okay, mine wasn't absolute drivel, but it wasn't perfection either.

I think the key to anything is brevity and - even more important - the realization that the brilliance of your writing might not shine through in either your query or synopsis. A glimmer of that brilliance should shine through. Positive Thinking 101!!!! Write your query or synopsis and then let friends, family, complete strangers on the side of the road, read them. If they a) don't start laughing hysterically, b) don't give you the look, c) don't go running screaming into the night, or d) don't say anything at all, then you might have succeeded with an okay synopsis and/or query letter. Do not, whatever you do, immediately send it off to the agent of choice. Set it aside, give it a day or two - last time I checked, Armageddon wasn't right around the corner, but it might arrive on Election day - and then reread and rewrite if necessary. No matter what, make sure that the glimmer of brilliance is evident, and the tone of your writing is evident. Time waits for no (hu)man; but agents have Inboxes full of queries to read. One more day on your part might give that agent one more day to plow through the less than brilliant queries and get to yours. I'm just saying . . .


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