Why do I need to trim a synopsis?

I probably should have run this post when I started my short series on cutting a synopsis. (Click on "Synopsis" on the sidebar to see all my synopsis posts.)

While I haven’t talked to every editor and agent on the planet, the majority of the ones I’ve spoken to prefer a 2-3 page synopsis.

However, every editor is different. One editor will want a one-page synopsis, another will want an extensive chapter-by-chapter synopsis.

In my experience, it’s usually better to opt for the shorter synopsis when submitting a proposal. If they want a longer one, they usually specifically mention that they do.

Another reason to have a short synopsis handy: Writing contests often have you submit a short, 1-2 page synopsis with your entry.

Here’s a little tip: when querying a novel, it doesn’t hurt to slip a one-page synopsis in with your one-page query letter. And it doesn’t cost any more in postage.

Also, when submitting a partial manuscript or a proposal (only at the editor’s request, of course), most standard proposals consist of a 2-3 page synopsis, not a chapter-by-chapter.

Sometimes you can include both a 2-page synopsis and a chapter-by-chapter synopsis in with the proposal, to give the editor his/her pick of whichever length they prefer. However, I put the chapter-by-chapter synopsis at the very end of the proposal, so that the editor/agent can choose not to read it if they don’t care to.