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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Submission Guideline Puzzlement

    I was recently given hand-written specifications from an agent. In it, she stated that she required a cover letter, a partial (30pgs, or the first three chapters), and a summary. Later, I realized I was confused; did she want a SUMMARY, or did she want a SYNOPSIS? I'd not heard of an agent using the word summary before. I decided to look at the agency's submission guidelines online, which asked for a QUERY and a partial.

    Now I'm really confused.

    Should I send a synopsis, a summary, or a query?

    And, if it's a question of the first and the second, what is the difference between those things? I can only vaguely understand from what I can find on Google.



  2. #2
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    Re: Submission Guideline Puzzlement

    The summary is the query letter. So go with the query and partial, as specified in the website. Check out queryshark and Miss Snark web sites for a quickie tutorial on queries. There are thousands oif web sources, including this and many other forums, notably Absolute Write's Query Letter Hell which has lot of info on structuring Qs.

    Basically, the Q is the essence of your MC's conflict condensed into 250 words or so. They can be mind-meltingly difficult to write.

    Have fun.

    Stan

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Re: Submission Guideline Puzzlement

    Seconding Stan's comment about query writing misery, the following is part of a longer post I sent a few minutes ago to Jason Brown in a thread further down the page.

    Mebbe it'll give you a smile. Or, mebbe not. ---


    Not everyone knows this, but queries were one of the more effective torture devices used by the Spanish Inquisition. Untold numbers of prisoners confessed to heresy only a day or two after being provided with a quill pens, stacks of paper, and told to pen an effective query.

    If writing fiction is in your DNA, don't give up.

    Cur

  4. #4
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    Re: Submission Guideline Puzzlement

    I'm not going to disagree with the above necessarily, but I'll suggest that the use of the word "summary" would indicate that the agent wants to know the beginning, the middle and the end of the story -- not just a fleshed-out hook.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Keith .'s Avatar
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    Re: Submission Guideline Puzzlement

    I agree with Frank. I believe a summary is less-detailed synopsis, covering the main story arc from beginning to resolution.
    ________________________________________________

    People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.
    - Bob Dylan

  6. #6
    Member Wonky's Avatar
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    Re: Submission Guideline Puzzlement

    Why not just email the agent and ask?

  7. #7
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    Re: Submission Guideline Puzzlement

    Technically, the summary is the 'elevator pitch'. It's the one-or-two paragraph part of the Q that speaks to plot. In over three hundred queries for two books, I can only remember one request for a summary. I sent the Q and got a request for a partial. She rejected on context (terrorism), and didn't say a word about getting a Q instead of a summary. In the OP's case, the agent's own web site submission requirement specifies query. Hence my advice to work up a decent Q and send that.
    Stan

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