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Question
I have completed a 75,000 word fantasy novel, but I am having trouble with the synopsis.  I did not write from an outline, nor did I take notes separately as I wrote the book.  Now I find myself struggling to write the synopsis.  What is the best way to handle this situation?

Also, after many, many revisions, my query letter still seems quite flat.  Do you have any suggestions for grabbing the (prospective) agent with a query?  Could you suggest some sites that have sample queries?

Thanks for any help.  I've been struggling over these two aspects of getting published for a month now, and since this is my first novel, I don't want to get discouraged at this step of the process.

Thanks again,
Lin

Answer
Wow, talk about a small world.  The last question I answered about a synopsis was from a person named "Lyn."  Just one letter off...

Anyway, yeah... a synopsis can be tough.  But there's no easy way to do it.  You need to break your book down, chapter by chapter, listing the major events that take place (don't worry about subplots).  Remember to write it in the present tense, and to make it interesting and exciting to read.  (Yes, this can be more difficult than writing the book!)

As for the query, you certainly don't want it to sound flat.  A neat trick is to write the query letter in a way that "matches" the book.  For example, if you were writing a hip, funny novel, you'd want a hip, funny query.  With a fantasy novel, that may not be the easiest thing to pull off, but it's worth some thought.

I'm not personally familiar with sites containing sample queries, but there are lots of books out there on the subject.  I'd recommend popping over to Amazon and reading some of the reader reviews on such books, then buying (or borrowing from the library) one or two that sound the best.

Writing a query and a synopsis can be very, very difficult.  Certainly, I can't teach you how to do it within the scope of this forum.  It's a definite skill and taking the time to learn how to do it right will be worth it.  So take a look at some books!  Many of them contain samples that'll guide you along.  

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Vincent M. Wales

Expertise

I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.

Experience

For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

Education/Credentials
BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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