Difference Between synopsis and query letter?


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Thread: Difference Between synopsis and query letter?

  1. #1
    Member BryanJ62's Avatar
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    Difference Between synopsis and query letter?

    I'm sure this has been beaten to death but humor me, I probably missed it. I have never grasped the difference between the two. Please help me wrap my silly tired brain around this. Occasionally I'll come across an agent who can't tell the difference either which, in the long run, confuses me even more.

  2. #2
    A synopsis is a detailed two- or three-page account of everything that happens in the story from start to finish. A query letter is what you send to agent to explain who you are, the gist of your novel (very short), and your credentials as an author. It's no more than one page and often only half a page.
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    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

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  3. #3
    Member BryanJ62's Avatar
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    So a synopsis tells the entire story in, lets say, 500 words or less while the query is basically what we read on a book jacket. Correct?

  4. #4
    No.

    A synopsis tells the entire story. A query letter looks like this:

    Dear Mr Publisher,

    My name is BryanJ62. I am an 28-year-old author from Eugene, Oregon, and I heard about your company from ______________. I have attached a copy of my manuscript, Parry Hotter and the Prisoner of Banazka, for your consideration. It is a young-adult novel complete at approximately 101,000 words. Have you ever wondered what a dragon, a centuries-old curse, and a magic wand have in common? Then my novel might be for you. It is a coming-of-age story about a teenager who must find himself in an unforgiving world.

    I have had several short stories published in magazines, newspapers, and on-line. This is my first novel, but I have been writing for almost five years now. I thank you for your time and considered attention, and have enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope for ease of reply. Please do not feel obliged to return the manuscript.

    Thank you,

    Bryan.
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    "One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx.

    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few". ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

    "Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face". ~ Oscar Wilde.

    "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger". ~ Confucius.

  5. #5
    What Sam said. ^

    The query is a brief "Hey, want to buy this?" introduction you send to agents, sometimes along with the first chapter or so of your story (depending on what the particular agent mentions in their submission guidelines.) Usually around 250 words, give or take.

    - Introduce your reason for approaching this particular agent
    - Pitch your story as briefly and as enticingly as possible.
    - List any relevant credentials
    - Thank them for their time and consideration.

    If the agent is interested in your query and your included sample, they may ask to read a synopsis of your manuscript, which is a two to three-page summary of your story's plot. 500 to 1000 words, generally.

    If they like that, then they may ask for more chapters to read, or possibly the full manuscript.

    It's all in the interest of saving time. Agents don't have hours to spend reading full stories. They want the bullet points so they can make quick decisions and move on (or move forward).

    One (of many) pages to look at: http://www.agentquery.com/format_tips.aspx

  6. #6
    Member BryanJ62's Avatar
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    Gotcha - Thanks! I was pretty sure I knew the difference I just wanted to see it in print. Now all I have to do is write the thing and have everyone on this site cut it to pieces (ouch). Big thanks for calling me 28. To be in my 20's again. No thanks. To exhausting.

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