Dear Miss Snark,
Go ahead, call me a nitwit.(many are called, few are chosen. try again next week)
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?
Right here: you need the outline of a plot in your query letter, such that hero, villain and conflict are clear.
Anything more than 50 words, or a paragraph, is heading to Synopsisville. A full page and you've gone way way way too far.
Now, for all of you screaming with anguish about not being able to pare down your 226,000 word novel to 50 words, yes you can.
My hero is:
He faces this problem in the first 50 pages:
His sworn enemy/treacherous friend/love interest is:
A twist in the plot is:
Answer those questions and you're in.
Start giving me genealogy and/or a police blotter report, and you're out.
It took me 25 seconds to type this.
It will take you 25 days to construct it.
Writing briefly is insanely difficult.
I know this first hand.
I write cover letters and pitch emails for a living.
I don't feel your pain cause I medicate it with gin but I know it's there.