Dear Miss Snark,
Go ahead, call me a nitwit. (sorry, not today) I submitted to the Crap-o-meter, didn't get in, and now I think that's probably a good thing. I've been reading your comments about each of the entries and, while I've picked up some stellar tips, there's one thing I just don't get. In response to many (many, many) of the queries you chide the writers for not including an obvious plot. You tell a few entrants that they've confused query with synopsis though. Is there a magical line where plot pique-ing ends and synopsis begins? If so, where can I find it?
Thank you for all you've done (and are still doing) for clueless writers. You are amazing.
Plot requires conflict. A recitation of events that doesn't indicate conflict doesn't help me much. A long series of events is a synopsis.
Here's what you need to tell me:
My hero is:
S/he is challenged by:
S/he resolves it by doing:
Obviously you can't do it in three sentences but you have to have those elements.
Being able to reduce your work to a short summation is incredibly hard. It's also not just jumping through hoops. I've had more than one person comment on this blog that in trying to write a synopsis or a good paragraph they've realized the book needed work.
You can practice by doing a query letter for a book you like. Or if you really want to hone your craft, do it for every book you read for a month/quarter/year.
Maybe we'll have a contest on that one. I'll give you a list of 1oo books and you have to write a query for one of them. I'd probably have to limit it to books I'd read...thank goodness I have 60 odd posted on my library thing link right now.--------> over there