Synopsis length

Anyone write a synopsis? How long should they be for fantasy yarns?

I have read anywhere from 1 page to 15 pages, depending on the type of story. Plot heavy stories (which would include all spec fiction I assume) would lean toward the high end. One book I have recommends 3 to 5 pages.

Some agents specify how long they want, but most don't.

Writing stories I love. Laughing out loud

Researching agents, publishers, writing queries, submissions, synopses, outlines, and such related garbage I hate. Evil

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camidon's picture

Synopsis Length

Not done a full fantasy novel synopsis, but I have for my children's "Elevator" series which is children's fantasy. In my research, I've assumed only a 1 page synopsis unless a site/editor/agent specifically says otherwise. Then I also include any sample chapters they may recommend. A lot of times places only accept a one page querry letter before anything else, and maybe that's why I've condensced my synopsis down to that length too. By golly it's hard though. If you find any definite trends, let us know!

Well stated with Laughing out loud (writing) and Evil (all the other crap)


Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

Synopsis Length

I agree with both of you on the synopsis part. I hate it with the white-hot hate of a freshly bathed cat on a leash. Evil

My guess, as well as what I've heard from writers' groups, is that the longest you want to make your synopsis is 3 to 5 pages, and probably even shorter--a page in length, if you can manage it--when you're doing queries and such. The objective with the synopsis in a query letter is to pique the potential editor's or agent's interest, and for that, shorter is definitely better.

The one good thing I can say about writing synopses is that it helps get other group members up to speed when I'm submitting novel chapters. Eye-wink Other than that, I hate the things, I really do. I sweat blood and other nasty bodily fluids to shrink a chapter down to a paragraph, and after I've done that, the story just sounds stupid to me.

Pohl's Law: A sufficiently advanced form of technology is indistinguishable from magic. Programmer's Corollary: A sufficiently rigged demo is indistinguishable from magic.

Re:Synopsis length

I just submitted one that was 16 pages... well the guy asked for "detailed".

I picked up a couple of books on the subject. One recommended not taking your manuscript and boiling it down chapter by chapter. Instead, approach it as a new piece of writing. Tell it as you would summarize a movie for someone. Skip all the subplots and dialogue. That advice helped a lot.

I still hated it though.


I'm not a complete idiot -- some parts are missing.