Querying and Synopsis...ing

So, as promised, I'll talk a little about writing a query and a synopsis.

First, don't set yourself up to fail.  I know it's hard to summarise a novel in the short space of a query or the two pages of a synopsis, but if you approach it with a "THIS SUUUUUUUUUCKS!!!" attitude, you're making it harder already.  Can I have some half-full glasses please?

It's totally okay to wish you had my artistic talent

 Okay, moving on...


Secondly, use Query Shark

Thirdly, when you can, give the query for someone who hasn't read the manuscript and get them to tell you if it sounds engaging enough.

So, how do you do a query? Well, it's like a blurb, and I wrote about that here.  The important thing is to write a really powerful hook that introduces your main character, their situation and the antagonist.

Without actually posting my query, I'll summarise its main points:
  1. Introduce my main character and her primary issue
  2. Bring in the really serious problem (in this case, my MC's secret and its devastating consequences)
  3. Introduce my villain and his villainous nature!
  4. NOVEL'S MAIN COMPLICATION!!!!! (MC vs villain)
  5. The MC's impossible choice.
  6. Villain's evil laugh. Okay, no, that's a lie.
Anyway, that's how I've done it :P One of these days I'll find out if it works or not.  But seriously: QUERY SHARK GO!

Now, the synopsis needs more detail.  You gotta summarise EVERYTHING, including subplots.  And, oh yeah, you gotta spoil the ending. 

I'm writing a two page synopsis, so while I can go into more detail than the query, I still have to be brief.  I'm summarising while keeping it punchy and NOT BORING.  While I'm not going into the nitty gritty of every single subplot, I'm mentioning the important stuff and moving on.

Use Lisa Gardner's lectures.  Scroll down to "Conquering The Dreaded Synopsis" and get reading :)

Remember, the query and the synopsis will require as much editing and dedication as the manuscript itself.  I am by no means finished.  But I'm sticking with my spring deadline!

Wow, long post.  Let's end on an awesome gif :D

Write a query and a synopsis....

Happy Friday!


  1. Excellent use of the Andy Samberg gif :) Sounds like you and I have a similar deadline for our WiPs. I'm terrified about writing my query and synopsis. Terrified. I puttered around with it awhile back just to make sure I actually had a story, but haven't returned since. Good luck with yours! :)

  2. I've learned a ton from Janet Reid on Query Shark. Really great resource. And getting feedback from someone who hasn't read the novel is a good idea too.

  3. I love the opening evidence of your artistic talent and the closing GIF. Everything else between is gravy. :) Thanks for the synopsis link. I think that has now replaced the "dreaded query letter" as the scariest thing on my to do list...

    1. I'm sure you'll pull it off :) Good luck!


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