D. F. Krieger

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Writer Wednesday: Blurnopsis

During my time as editor, I've seen many styles of query letters. It never ceases to amaze me how broadly it can range from not only author to author, but story to story. Today, I'm going to talk about the blurnopsis. Yeah, I know, it's not a real word...But I've noticed writers are treating it like it's real.

Blurnopsis is a smashed up rendition of a blurb and synopsis. It's like the author couldn't make up their mind, or maybe had no idea how to accomplish what was in the guidelines. In the end, they threw out this mangled creature and begged it to live so it would give their chance of being published a life.

So how do we solve this? Well, I've pulled on my Mistress gear and grabbed my ruler. We're going to have a lesson today on blurbs and synopsis. You, my darling, are going to learn the difference.

Blurb! *Strikes ruler against her desk with a loud crack* Think the back of a book for those lucky enough to be published in print. This is the hook, line, and sinker to get a reader to open your book. The cover makes them pick it up, the blurb makes them open it. Now, some rules about blurbs:

Do NOT give away the ending of the story.

Do NOT give away the resolution for the story's conflict.

Do describe the conflict, but in a way that doesn't feel like a lecture.

Keep your blurbs simple. If I want the entire book, I'll read the damn thing.

Synopsis! *Glares at classroom, hand on hip* A synopsis is a description of the major plot points in the story. These are never to go in the public eye. They are made of secret and should only be seen by yourself and the editor you are submitting to. Synopsis are difficult to write as an author is often torn between the dilemma of too much and too little. Here are some rules:

NEVER post your synopsis anywhere (blog, group, website, etc). Especially if the book isn't published yet. That's asking someone to plagiarize.

Do NOT give minute details. A synopsis should contain only the major points of the story.

Do NOT end your synopsis with a cliff hanger sentence. A synopsis is suppose to tell us the resolution and end of the story.

Do NOT let a synopsis frighten you.

For most publishing companies, a blurb goes in the body of your query letter. The synopsis is often a separate document. Always check the guidelines of the publisher you are preparing to submit to and see what they want.

That concludes our lesson for today. You are released. ~ D. F. Krieger


gayl said...

I love your posts. I wish I had been able to read this when I agonized over my first submission. It would have made it less daunting a task.

Thanks for doing these. I don't always comment but I appreciate them very much.

*thinks the ruler is more ominous than the whip - shudders*

Victoria Vane said...


W. Lynn Chantale said...

*raises hand* Great post, but I still don't like writing those synopses it totally fries my synapses. *smiles sweetly*

Raven McAllan said...

personally I thank my lucky stars I have an editor who doesn't want a synopsis. Synopsis are the spawn of the devil...