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Author Topic: Synopsis
Member # 9669

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I am looking to send my short novella to Damnation Books when it's finished, because I feel that my story will fit nicely there.

But something stumped me in their guidelines and I don't want to make a mistake.

In the guidelines, it says to send the first two chapters and the last chapter for novella and novel length works. Then it goes on into saying what I should include in my cover letter. However, they want "a short synopsis of the story" in the cover letter, too. Do they mean an actual synopsis, 2 pages or more, or a short description of my story in, say, one paragraph?

Or, even better, how long do they want it when they say "a short synopsis" in a cover letter?

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Member # 5137

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Probably 2-5 pages max, a synopsis is usually done in present tense and you TELL the ending. This is key (though they are also going to get the ending by virtue of their request for the last chapter.) When a house asks for a synopsis they are most often looking for a 2-5 page bit that tells all the major events of the story. Your excerpt (sample chapters, etc.) help them see what kind of writer you are. Your synopsis helps them see what kind of storyteller you are and if this particular story you've told will fit their line.

Good luck! Ask around, synopses are kind of wonky to write, it can help to read a few others before you dig in.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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By the way, you can post your query (shorter than a synopsis) here in the Fragments and Feedback for Novels area without having to worry about the 13-line rule.
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Member # 7912

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I'm not expert on that sort of thing but to me a "short synopsis in the cover letter" sounds like a very brief overview of the story, not a full-blown multi-page style synopsis, especially for a novella.

Meredith! We need your expertise over here!

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Member # 8368

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Well, it's complicated.

If it were a novel submission, I'd say it's about a two-page synopsis of the story, written in present tense, including the ending.

The complicating factor is that sometimes, some people will refer to the one to two paragraph teaser about the story that you put in the query letter (which does not include the ending) as a synopsis, too.

Without more guidance, it's not real clear. You probably can't go wrong by including a synopsis. If they don't want it, they just won't read it.

For a guide to writing synopses, try this. It's a series of blog posts, so you'll have to work your way back to the first post on the topic and then go forward again.

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