1.08.2006

Synopsis spacing

Miss Snark: This may be a nitwitted question, but should a synopsis be single or double spaced when it is sent with a query letter?


This is not a nitwit question. If you're trying for the nitwit sweepstakes, you have to ask if Miss Snark has a day job.

Synopsis are traditionally single spaced. Double lines between paragraphs. Indents not needed. Go easy on big blocks of text. Shorter paragraphs are easier to read than long ones in this form. One inch margins all around, and in a readable font.

If you are tempted to tweak any of this cause you can't fit all your words on one or two pages, I STRONGLY urge you to whittle your word count before you start dropping your font to 8point.

Making something physically easier to read is just smart. Making it harder to read...well, that's the nitwit strategy.

5 comments:

Susan said...

I was always taught that a short synopsis of 1-2 pages was single-spaced and formatted as you describe, but that a longer synopsis should be formatted just like your manuscript. (And also that you should do your best to find out what an individual editor or agent prefers WRT length, but if you can't, shorter is better--no more than 2 single-spaced or 5-6 double-spaced pages.)

Was I given bad info? If so, I'm not alone--I'm currently judging the RWA's Golden Heart contest, and all the synopses are 5-10 pages and double-spaced.

Kelsey said...

So... It's not cool to include a small, plastic magnifying glass in the manila envelope when using fonts below 10?

My bad.

Anonymous said...

Susan, I had always heard the same information as you shared.

However, I find that most agencies ask for a 1-page synopsis, so over to pages becomes a moot point...

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

I always try to find out exactly what the agent prefers. If I can't, then I go for the standard - good white paper, good black ink, printed address labels, no funky fonts, the whole nine yards.

McKoala said...

Does anyone know if the single-spaced synopsis rule also applies in the UK?