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Thread: Synopsis Length

  1. #1
    A. L. Gerard

    Synopsis Length

    The common wisdom seems to be that a synopsis (for a novel) should be “brief” yet “complete”, with 1-3 pages being ideal, but certainly no longer than 5 pages. However, one literary agency gives a sample of the perfect synopsis on their website. It seemed a little long, so I cut and pasted it into Word. Once I put it in the requisite double-spaced, 1.25” margins, 12pt font format, it was NINE PAGES LONG! (Single-spaced it was only five.) So, now I’m confused. Can synopses be single-spaced? Are they permitted to be longer than 5 double-spaced pages only if they’re really, REALLY good? Or is this some kind of conspiracy? Do literary agents make up conflicting submission guidelines just to discourage unpublished writers so we won’t even bother to send them our stuff?

  2. #2
    Gary Kessler

    Re: Synopsis Length

    This has been discussed at length on the boards within the past week. Agents do indeed have different ideas about the length of a synopsis they want--and "conventional wisdom" is more often expressed as 1 synopsis page for 25 manuscript pages for a top limit rather than the 5 pages you cite. Seems best to have two synopses written beforehand--a short 2 pager and a longer one no longer than the 1/25 pages. Then try to make these fit into the various submissions guidelines you encounter.

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