Friday, September 14, 2007


Some have suggested we begin critiquing synopses. Here are two possible objections:

Many readers come here for the laughs, and as it takes more laughs to punch up a boring 600-word synopsis than a boring 200-word query, I, Evil Editor, would have more work.

A lot of the synopses would be for books whose queries we've already done, which would mean no Guess the Plot.

However, I can set a maximum word length, and if necessary, come up with a new feature. So, the maximum is 400 words. Any more and I delete it.

If this works out great, I may quit doing queries at #500 and just go with synopses. But since we don't know how well this will go, I'm going to provide a window of time during which synopses must be submitted. That way there won't be a continual influx of something I may not want to keep doing. Once I do the first batch I'll decide whether it should be a permanent fixture or an occasional "crap-o-meter" or never seen again.

The window for submitting will be Sunday, 10PM eastern time to Monday, noon eastern time. As with the queries, you won't be identified as the author, though you may come out in the comments. Don't include credits, word count, genre. Just the title and what happens in your book.


Robin S. said...

Why is it that the best things that happen are both wonderful and terrifying at the same time?

Now I know how I'm gonna be spending my weekend.

Anonymous said...

Although I know we should already know... Is there any chance you could give, or point to, a crisp description of what you'll be looking for in a good synopsis?

Evil Editor said...

We'll be looking at

1. how well it focuses on the main plot thread,

2. how well-developed it is (Is it listy, or do the ideas build on each other, and is the information specific?) and

3. how well-organized it is (Are the sentences and paragraphs ordered logically and do they transition one to the next smoothly?)

I or someone will no doubt also mention it if the spelling and grammar conventions are weak.

At the end of each one we'll have a multiple choice quiz through which we vote on which plot hole is the biggest.

McKoala said...

oh no oh no oh please and synopses, we just don't get along, see...

Phoenix said...

400 word maximum?

You are evil incarnate.

Deborah K. White said...

While I appreciate the chance to have my synopsis mocked by you and the minions, I'm hoping that you keep queries as your main feature and that you only occasionally do synopsis. Query letters are a tad bit more critical in the "getting an agent/editor" process. Now to get that sysnopsis down to 400 words...58 words have to go!

Anonymous said...

Evil Editor - It might be early to ask this, but are you planning to stop the query critique at #500?

If so, I need to stop writing the last 30 pages of my current novel, which are outlined, and begin a query immediately!

Evil Editor said...

No, the interest in synopses wasn't great. Onward toward 1000.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, your Evil Majesty! Do you hear that enough? The thank you, I mean. This is a truly incredible experience you are offering writers.

Thank you - thank you - thank you!