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Question
I have written a novel, and received a positive response to one of my queries.  The agency requested three chapters and a synopsis (if available.)  First, my chapters are short--the first three chapters are only 24 pages. Is that enough to provide the agent with the information she is seeking?  Second, I don't have a synopsis.  Would a synopsis improve the chances of my work being accepted for representation? Would the lack of a synopsis harm my chances?  I really don't want to blow this opportunity by doing something stupid.  Thanks.

Answer
Hello Jeff:

First, congratulations on making the first step! You are to be commended for having come this far.

I would guess that if the agent asked for the first three chapters that's what she wants. Twenty-four pages is quite enough to get a sense of how the writer writes, whether they grab the reader's interest, etc.

A synopsis would definitely improve the chances of your work being accepted. It is difficult to know whether the lack of one would hurt your chances, but it would definitely tell the agent that you cannot/will not deliver what she asks for, and call your reliability into question. If you don't deliver for her, how can she assure the publisher that you will for them?

If you are not sure how to write a synopsis, there is plenty of help online. I typed "how to write a synopsis" into Google and came up with 5,760,000 hits. The first page looks awfully good.

So get to it, get it done and off to your agent ASAP. Try your best to deliver everything she asks for, including revisions.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 340+ questions.

And good luck with your writing!  

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Susan Rand

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I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.

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I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

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BA degree in Written Communication

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