One of the key parts of a query letter is the one page summary or synopsis of your work. This is literally what it sounds like — a one page, single spaced summary of your novel from beginning, middle to end. Unlike your query letter, cover letter, or pitch, you do want to give away the whole story. You want the editor or agent to be able to tell what is going on. They key is to also entice them.
I have found that the best one page summaries are the ones that almost read like a micro-story with no scenes. Obviously it’s impossible to retell a thirty thousand word novel in three hundred words and leave in things like scenes or descriptions. This is pretty much the only time you should be doing all telling and no showing. But that doesn’t mean your writing skills should disappear. This is still a writing sample. After all if you can’t entice the editor/agent with your synopsis, then you probably aren’t going to be able to get them to read the entire work.
So that leads me to the writing pompt for this week. Take your finished novel and write a one page summary. And you might want to consider participating in the prompt this week. Over at Get Me Out of the Slushpile! you can post your summary and recieve feedback from me and other people. Please do not post your summary as an attachment. To make it easier for everyone, just paste it into the body of a post.
Then after everyone has had a week to receive comments and revise, I’m going to run a small one page summary contest. The top 5 I’ll post and discuss in 2 weeks, and the top general one (chapter book, mid-grade, YA — any genre/topic) and the top midgrade or YA — SF, fantasy, mystery, or adventure novel will have their full manuscript requested (the general for Blooming Tree, the more specific genred one for CBAY). More details and rules will be posted next week. But just FYI, all entries will be due Tues. Nov. 17. But like I said, I’ll post all the details next Sunday. This week is devoted to practice.
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May be excerpted and duplicated for educational purposes.