Essential synopsis-writing and querying tips from 20 amazing Australian authors: Part 4 of 4

Just to help you be sure you did everything you could…

A few weeks ago, I asked an author pal of mine for help with synopsis-writing. Lucky me – I received some great advice. So great in fact, I thought I’d share what I learnt with my readers. With that in mind, I asked a whole heap of other authors for their advice too, and shared what they told me about writing a synopsis and query letters here: Part 1, here: Part 2 and here: Part 3.

Now here’s a list of the extra resources my author buddies recommended consulting, before approaching agents or editors:

Extra Resources

Kim Falconer, author of the fantasy series “Quantum Enchantment” and “Quantum Encryption” (read more about Kim here):

These guys are awesome: Writing Excuses!

PM Newton, author of “The Old School” (read more about Pam here):

Synopsis writing is hard. No two ways about it. You feel like you’ve sucked all the energy out of the story when you’ve finished. I recommend this website: Call My Agent

Alan Baxter, author of the dark fantasy thrillers “RealmShift” and “MageSign” (read more about Alan here):

Go to Bubblecow.co.uk – search for query letter. Loads of good advice.

Patty Jansen, author of multiple award-winning short fiction (read more about Patty here):

I wrote these posts about synopses.

Deborah Kalin, author of “The Binding” books (read more about Deborah here):

Check out Jodi Meadows’ blog, as she used to read slush for an agent and often posts about what queries worked for her. Have you heard of the snowflake method of plotting?

Jason Fischer, award-winning author of the zombie horror “After the World: Gravesend” (read more about Jason here):

My best suggestion is to see Kevin J Andersons‘ recent blogpost re his synopsis writing. Also Sean Williams LJ. It was somewhere on his site!

Top Three Tips

I wish someone had told me…

So, after digesting what my author buddies told me about synopsis writing, and looking up the extra resources they suggested, what did I learn? Tonnes, of course! But if I could go back in time and give myself some advice, what would it be?

I wish I’d known:

1. Keep a positive attitude. Read this story about the chef who never won. If you don’t love your work, no one else will either. Put your modesty aside!

2. Your strengths have to sizzle. If something sets your work apart from everyone else’s, make that something sizzlingly clear in your pitch. It’s easy to just list out the events of your story. But that doesn’t tell an agent or editor what makes your story unique.

3. Write a fifteen-word sentence that summarises your story. It will help you determine its most important selling aspect, and develop that all-important elevator pitch. It’s also a good exercise in writing zappy!

Thank you!!!

Happy dance!

I’d like to say a special thank you to those authors who went above and beyond giving me some words of advice on synopsis writing – you know who you are! I really appreciate your help and thank you sincerely.

Now it’s on to agents and editors… Fingers crossed!

And good luck to everyone else! I’m sure you won’t need it 😉

SOON: Kate Forsyth on planning, then Rowena Cory Daniells on… not so much planning! Subscribe to receive email notifications of these amazing posts.

Zena Shapter

I write from a castle in a flying city hidden by a thundercloud. #Ditmar Award-winning author. Short fiction for now. Novels to come. Movie buff. Traveller. Wine lover. Story nerd. Book Creator & Mentor. Founder & leader of the award-winning Northern Beaches Writers' Group / ZF Kingbolt