To borrow a phrase from Nick Fury (and countless other people over the years): “This isn’t my first rodeo.” I’ve queried before, often to no luck. Rejection happens more often than not: The publishing industry is a hard nut to crack. You just have to dust yourself off, get back up, and continue to submit, potentially with a new project. Doing just that was a tough decision for me. I put so much effort and time into Passage–its characters, its plot, its worldbuilding. However, as my SciFi novel grew and took shape, I had to acknowledge it had the best shot in the current market, so I put all my effort into bringing it to fruition.
Now Heritage Lost is wrapped up, and I’m putting together query letters and a synopsis while also toying with the idea of participating in #PitMad, which is Feb. 11. My ultimate goal is to begin querying agents throughout February, hopefully tantalizing one to bite.
I do feel I made the right decision to proceed first with Heritage, especially as I go through the process of writing query letters. The brief paragraph detailing the book flows off the keyboard, much easier than Passage‘s did about a year or two ago. The book’s characters have also grown on me: They are no longer the strangers they were at the beginning, especially after coming off my long-time fantasy series. And I do look forward to following Katya and crew as they continue their journey, wherever it might end.
So wish me luck and cross your fingers. In the meanwhile, I’m sharing some of what I’ve learned about dreaded novel synopses.
The Dreaded Synopsis
I have always hated writing synopsis. It’s hard to condense an almost 400-page book into an one- or two-page synopsis, but then I realized my approach was completely wrong. Rather than summarizing the entire book–like I did when I cobbled together my Passage synopsis, which, thank God, was never sent anywhere–I need to broaden it and not do a chapter by chapter breakdown. Instead, I learned:
- Keep it character centered. Focus on your main characters, what is at stake for them (physically, emotionally, etc.), and how they evolve over the course of the story.
- Not a book report. Use exciting language and verbs rather than just summarizing the story (e.g., He did this. He did that. They were happy to escape). Also don’t leave out important details that would be considered spoilers if told to a reader. You are not writing the synopsis for readers; you are writing a synopsis in hopes of snagging an agent or publisher: They want to know what they are investing in.
- Can’t tell it all. In such a brief amount of space, you can’t mention every side character or every minor happening. So keep to the most important aspects of the book (e.g., large plot points, main character development, etc.) and leave the rest for the full read-through.
I also highly recommend visiting
Don’t Forget #PitMad
For those with an interest, I’ve included the #PitMad/#MSWL information below.