Today's topic came courtesy of Sherry Alexander again. Thank you, Sherry, for offering such great topic suggestions. Sherry wanted to know what an editor wants in a synopsis.
During Seek's open submissions last month, I requested the query, first three chapters, and a synopsis. Now, I'm going to be honest. I only read a few synopses. I know, you're probably thinking, "Then why did you ask for one if you weren't going to read it? Don't you know writers HATE having to write a synopsis?" Yes, yes I do. But here's the thing. Editors go through submissions rather quickly. I read the query and if the query interests me, I go directly to the opening pages. If you keep my interest, I turn to the synopsis to see how the rest of the story plays out.
So what am I looking for when I read your synopsis? Two things. First, I get that a synopsis is not the most fun thing to write, but keep in mind that you want to keep the editor's attention. So make sure the voice of your story comes through in the synopsis. A trick is to let your MC write the synopsis and then convert it to third person. (This is a great trick for writing your query letter blurb, too!) Also, pretend you are telling a friend about this great book you just read (or movie you just saw), only get spoilery. You have to include the ending in a synopsis, so don't forget to do that. One of the reasons why I look to a synopsis is to see how the story will carry from the conflict to some sort of resolution. If there isn't a resolution in your synopsis, I'll assume you haven't resolved the conflict in the book either. You don't want me to assume that.
Synopses don't have to be horrific things that writers should fear. Have fun with them and make them be another way you can get an editor interested in that amazing story you just had to tell.
*If you have a topic you'd like me to cover in a Writer Wednesday post, feel free to leave it in the comments.*