12.05.2005

Synopsis dancing

In this post: you say not to do anything weird with your synopsis and not to use 4 points of view. My book is in first person. Can I write the synopsis in first person?


No.
Nor can you write your query letter in the first person (oh yes...not quite the fresh and original, let alone enticing ploy you thought it was)

A synopsis should be in third person. It should be in the active voice. It MIGHT contain a snippet of dialogue...a line or two, for the height of conflict or resolution.

Synopsis are not pleasure reading. They are for information. Rein in your inner Twyla Tharp here.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are exceptions to the third person synopsis thing. In chicklit, when they're almost always written in first person with a strong voice,a synopsis can be written in first person if you can do it well. Voice is so much more important in chick lit than in any other genre, becuase it needs to feel authentically "woman". I belong to a chick lit writers group, and MULTIPLE authors have sold/snagged an agent on a first person synopsis. And by multiple I mean more than two or three.

I think Chick-lit is probably about the only genre in which we really need to feel the voice to be interested in the book.

Kelly said...

What do you think of a synopsis written in omniscient POV (for a novel written in third person)?

Why? Because my protagonist has to overcome some seriously skewed perceptions. The early paragraphs of my third-person synopsis have gotten a lot of "huh?" comments from critiquers and contest judges who don't get it.

Stephen said...

Stephen wonders whether it is even safe to comment on this post in the first person.

He assumes that the second person is ideal for query letters:

You're not the kind of agent who would be interested in a novel like this at this time of the day. But here you are, and you cannot say that the synopsis is entirely uncompelling, although the style is somewhat derivative...

Thanks for the consistently informative and entertaining advice.

Anonymous said...

Kelly- If more than one person is thinking 'HUH?" its not working. Fix it. You wont get an agent if she cant figure out what she's reading.

snarky little vegemite said...

I always write my synopses in first person (my mss are first person present and I write chick-lit). I can't imagine writing in third. I hate third and can't write in third to save myself. Why write your synopsis in third when your ms is in first? I don't understand it. If the synopsis is better in first, gets your/your character's voice across and lets the ed. know exactly what's going on in the story, that's all that's important. Then again, I also write in Arial (naughty!).

Shadow said...

"Nor can you write your query letter in the first person "

I hope I'm just being a nitwit by missing an obvious piece of sarcasm, but isn't a query letter by definition supposed to be in first person? As in:

"I have written a 120,000 word romance, Killer Yapp meets Killer Yowl for which I am seeking representation. I have been a dog and cat lover for many years, preferring them sauteed in gin with some penne pasta on the side..."

vs.

"The author whose contact information appears above has written a stunning new novel, The Drive-by Chewings of Killer Yapp, certain to get both the literary and veterinary worlds to sit up and beg."

Miss Snark said...

Yes Shadow, you're right. I meant to convey your query letter should not be in your CHARACTER's first person voice, or from his her POV.

Arghhh...

Shadow said...

"I meant to convey your query letter should not be in your CHARACTER's first person voice, or from his her POV."

Well, duh. How would one even do that?

Oops; silly me.

First Rule of Snark: Never underestimate the nitwits.