I am positive that there is one person in this world who has mastered the art of writing a query and a synopsis. This person, I am predicting, wrote a really good book and, with the same amount of effect it takes to butter bread, completed their query and synopsis with ease.
Because of this they are able to turn the heads of agents and publishers. Their really good book has more offers than they ever dreamed and it’s all due to their excellent query and synopsis.
They wrote it all by themselves!
I do not imagine this person wearing any kind of cape or any other super hero attire. I see them as average looking with normal clothes and maybe a bit out of shape.
I’m positive they live in a nice normal town. Location: Anywhere, Planet Earth.
They are unaware they possesses such an amazing gift and I doubt they ever will. As far as they are concerned every writer has the ability to create a top notch query and synopsis with ease.
I have never met this person but I am convinced they exist. But until I meet them, and learn their secrets, my days of trying to write my very own query and synopsis are over.
To save time, space and achy writer fingers I’m going to call the synopsis and query the Syn-Que.
I agree, it is cool!
I hate Syn-Que’s
I have learned the hard way that the Syn-Que is a necessary evil. Necessary because it has to sell and tell. Evil because of their ability to cause the worst kinds of headaches.
The query is all about selling. Not only our book but us, the writer. It has to sparkle. It must be exciting and it must cause the agent or publisher to put on the breaks and ask – Who is this person?
The synopsis is a bit easier. In two pages, sometimes three, we tell them our story from start to finish. Not easy but easier. There is a difference.
I suck at it!
For the longest time I tried to write my own. None of them were any good. I rambled, I missed the point but my personal favorite was the time I forgot and added a description that I had deleted.
That was a fun one.
I had friends who tried to help me. Their intentions were good. Check that, great. Our endless rounds of rewrites were well….endless. I remember banging my head against the wall causing the nastiest of dizzy spells.
I’m not sure if the dizzy spells or common sense took over, whatever it was a moment of clarity bulldozed my frustration and confusion.
Writing a Syn-Que is hard if you’re the one who wrote the story. When you think about it, of course it’s going to be hard. We create the characters, the storyline, and the backstories. We know every fiber of this deep and rich novel that we created but now we are expected to grab certain pieces and forget the rest.
Asking the author to highlight key events is right up there with writing your own obituary. Where do you start? What do you include? Who do you leave out? Sorry Aunt Jane.
My answer to this problem was simple: Hand it over to my editor.
A simple solution
She knew the story just as much as I but it wasn’t her story and that’s the difference.
My editor cared about it and was invested. She was also being paid to care and invest. Unlike me she did not have the emotional bond that a writer carries with their stories. There was no guilt or panic when it came to what should or shouldn’t be included.
It didn’t take long for her to present a winning query and an equally winning synopsis. They were so good that I tested the query to a handful of agents at the Portland, Oregon Writer’s Conference. I walked away with positive reviews.
Could I have achieved similar success had I wrote it? I doubt it.
So here’s a thought: If you have struggled like me maybe it’s time to put on the breaks and ask yourself if the wrong person is writing it.
Take a long hard look at your beta readers, critique partners, writer groups or your editor. They are a gold mind but most of all they are not emotionally invested in your book.
Nobody ever said it was up to us to write the Syn-Que so maybe now is the time to look elsewhere.