: views from the Hill

Friday, December 30, 2005

Miss Snark continues ...

I'm now up to #61 of 66 of Miss Snark's posted critiques of snarklings' synopses.

I'd caught up with her efforts at #60 earlier today only to discover that she'd critiqued six more while I was reading her earlier critiques and the comments that ensued. (And I haven't even gone back to see if more comments followed in any of the comment threads that I've already read!)

Miss Snark's planning to wend her way through over 106 synopses. "Over 106" (which had been her initial count) because she mentioned a day or two ago that some of the synopses that were bounced for exceeding the thousand-word limit had been mistakenly bounced by a word count program that converted the ['] in some e-mails to [,] and, therefore, counted contractions as two words. Ooops! She asked people who thought they'd been mistakenly bounced to resubmit.

Herewith some crystal clear advice from critique #61.

... you've got to give us a framework. Without that, I don't know
what you're talking about.

Here is how to start: The hero of the story is:
He faces a big problem. The problem is:
He gets advice about how to solve it from :
That advice is:
He gets conflicting advice from:
That advice is:

The hero faces a challenge from:
The challenger wants to do this to the hero:

The problem is resolved when:

From these sentences you have a framework.
You have to have ALL that information, pretty much in that order for me to understand what you're talking about.

It's been fun reading all the synopses. Some are so much clearer than others. Some more entertaining. Some discombobulated. Some drear.

The insight into what works and what doesn't reminds me of a writing seminar I took once with Penny Warner. We were supposed to bring in the first ten pages (or some such) of our WIP.

Just reading all the other writers' bits made it clear how an agent/editor/reader can churn through slush and sometimes know from page one that something is not going to work.

Miss Snark doesn't do synopses in her real agenting life. Instead, she asks for a query letter and the first ten pages of your novel.

What's clear from this synopsis exercise at her blog is that the first contact with agent/editor is your chance. Don't blow it.

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