I slaved to create a 240 word query letter. I toiled to construct a 400 word short synopsis.
For both documents, I debated the necessity of each word. I slashed what didn't belong and added what did. I read it to friends, to neighbors, to the cat. Then I begged my beta-readers to read it. Thrice.
FINALLY after weeks of letting them stew and simmer, I felt my query and synopsis were ready to be released to the world (or at least agents).
Then when checking the submission guidelines for a particular agent, I get this: "For queries regarding.... adult fiction, please send the first twenty pages in the body of your email, along with a one-paragraph synopsis."
A one paragraph synopsis? Are prospective agents trying to kill me? Turn me into an alcoholic? Test my limits of sanity? (No need to respond, my questions are rhetorical. And besides, I already know the answer: Yes. YES THEY ARE).
I searched the web for guidance on what exactly, an agent expects of a one paragraph synopsis. The hits covered a variety of synopses types, but nothing that addressed a one paragraph synopsis specifically written for an agent.
Are you able to provide any insight as to what to include in a one paragraph synopsis? For instance, does an agent expect the ending to be revealed or are they looking for a summary? (I am so confused!). An example would be most helpful.
I will be waiting with ‘shark-baited’ breath for your quick response. I am hoping to query this agent soon and am guessing I will need four days to write and allow for paragraph ripening.
p.s. I hope you’re feeling better. To be honest, I initially took your 'cough*gasp*hack*snort*spew sick’ statement as a euphemism you were playing hooky (forgive me - I thought only guppies got sick).
Given the only person who hates a synopsis more than you (and your writing brethren) is me, I share your horror at the idea of a one-paragraph synopsis.
Realistically there is no way to write a one paragraph synopsis that would entice an agent to read on. I am going to suggest that this agent is using synopsis to mean "concept" or "premise" rather than "full rundown of the book."
As an example: a one-paragraph statement about the Harry Potter books might be: Harry Potter discovers he is a young wizard and there are more like him when he is whisked off to Hogwarts, the school for young wizards and witches. The downside of discovering this is learning that one of the worlds most powerful wizards is out to get him. Harry must learn fast or die young.
(Obviously this is terrible writing but you get the idea)
And thanks for your good wishes. I was felled by the galloping crud, crawled through BEA (barely) and retired to my couch with a carton of Kleenex and all six seasons of The Sopranos. I'm now well, but feeling the need to shoot someone and say "what can ya do" in a Jersey accent.