Saturday, May 06, 2006
Q & A 6 Synopsis importance.
I have a question about the request for a partial and synopsis. Let's be optimistic and say that the partial is stellar, how much weight does the synopsis have when an editor is evaluating a project's "yes" or "no" factor?
Let's be pessimistic and say the partial is less than stellar. It's not inconceivable (though nearly so) that the synopsis outlines a plot so unique and groundbreaking that the editor would consider doing some actual editing for a change, instead of his usual activity: shooting balled up manuscript pages at the wastebasket.
But assuming a stellar partial, why does an editor want a synopsis? True, it's another example of your ability (or inability) to organize and convey information smoothly. But mainly, she doesn't want to read a 300 page romance novel, only to discover that in the final chapter, Allison leaves Michael because he chews his ice. She doesn't want to read your Star Trek novel and discover that you've killed off Kirk and Spock at the end, thus also killing off the one science fiction series that actually makes money. She doesn't want to wallow through your literary fiction masterpiece, only to find that one of the characters is not only still alive at the end, but also mildly content. In short, if your book is 500 pages, and your synopsis is three, your editor is trying to avoid reading 497 pages of your work. As far as Evil Editor is concerned, this gives the synopsis paramount importance.