Oh No, the Synopsis Monster!

A Synopsis Resource

As I noted in a previous entry, Harper Voyager, the scifi/fantasy imprint of HarperCollins, is accepting unsolicited manuscripts from October 1 to October 14, 2012. To submit your manuscript, you must fill out a form that includes, along with your completed novel, a query letter and a very brief synopsis.

This took a couple of writers I know by surprise, since they have neither a query letter nor a synopsis. Who out there thinks these are scary monsters they’d rather not deal with? Note that I am raising my hand. However, I did manage to write both.

The query letter is the most important, I think, because it’s your main marketing tool. It’s the first thing an agent or editor will read, so it’s got to be good. I took my crappy pitch and query letter to the San Francisco Writers Conference. After a number of workshops and some professional advice, I managed to improve greatly on both. Note that my pitch is incorporated in my query letter. What made the difference is that I finally figured out how to to tell my story briefly, with a hook, and that I wrote my query in my voice.

I can’t recreate my conference experience for you, but I can recommend an inexpensive book that can help you write both your synopsis and your pitch.

In Write a Great Synopsis – An Expert Guide, author Nicola Morgan details her Write from the Heart method using her Crappy Memory Tool. She gives step-by-step instructions to guide you through a process that will lead to a 25-word pitch, a hook paragraph and a synopsis. This short book is an invaluable resource and well worth the cost at $3.99.

Her method can help you craft a synopsis of any size. If you want to submit your novel to Harper Voyager, but are hesitating for lack of query and synopsis, you may want to take a look at this book. Keep in mind that her method isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. You still have to do the work and create a polished product. However, I’m very pleased with the synopsis I came up with after working through her method.

For more information about the Harper Voyager unsolicited manuscript submission period, go here.

You can submit your manuscript here.

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