Prologue & Synopsis Question

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notw
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Prologue & Synopsis Question

Post by notw » October 6th, 2010, 3:43 pm

I didn't see this already posted and if it is sorry for the repost. When an agent asks for 3 sample chapters does the prologue count as a chapter? Mine is only a page and a half and provides a hook that sets up the first chapter. I have read some people say yes it does count and others say if it is short it doesn't. Also, I read on AgentQuery that the standard format for a synopsis was anywhere between 2-3 pages & Nathan also says the same thing. Does a brief synopsis count as 3 pages or is it more like 1? Thanks!

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Re: Prologue & Synopsis Question

Post by Jessa » October 6th, 2010, 3:47 pm

If you have a 3-page synopsis, I'd try to whittle it down to 2 pages. I find most say "brief" when they want to be non-specific but don't want people blathering on for 5 or 10 pages. Stick with the standard, you should be fine at 2 pages.

As for the prologue, I can't believe you have one. ;D They're so roundly loathed. But if it's really cool and you can't live without it and your story can't stand without it, count it as 1 chapter and send it UNLESS...

UNLESS you've checked the agent's blog and found out they don't want to see them. Some agents specifically say not to send them. You'll have to do the research, but that kind of thing can make the difference between an auto-rejection and a shot at consideration.

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Quill
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Re: Prologue & Synopsis Question

Post by Quill » October 6th, 2010, 3:58 pm

notw wrote:I didn't see this already posted and if it is sorry for the repost. When an agent asks for 3 sample chapters does the prologue count as a chapter? Mine is only a page and a half and provides a hook that sets up the first chapter.
I'm in the same boat. I'd send the prologue plus three, short as it is.

If just asking for pages, whether ten or thirty, I'd send that number, beginning with the prologue.

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Re: Prologue & Synopsis Question

Post by notw » October 6th, 2010, 4:06 pm

Quill & Jessa,

Thanks for the input! I wasn't planning on the prologue, but it shows the catalyst to what occurs in chapter one.

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Re: Prologue & Synopsis Question

Post by Quill » October 6th, 2010, 4:21 pm

So far as prologues being mocked and derided, I know it, it's just plain silly, and it's got to stop.

I'm going to have a prologue in every one of my books. Two in some of them.

I'm going to start a facebook page, "I Like Prologues, Can't Live Without 'Em."

I'm going to call Oprah, President Obama, and the Pope.

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Re: Prologue & Synopsis Question

Post by notw » October 6th, 2010, 4:37 pm

Quill wrote:So far as prologues being mocked and derided, I know it, it's just plain silly, and it's got to stop.

I'm going to have a prologue in every one of my books. Two in some of them.

I'm going to start a facebook page, "I Like Prologues, Can't Live Without 'Em."

I'm going to call Oprah, President Obama, and the Pope.
Lol, I would join the facebook group!

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Re: Prologue & Synopsis Question

Post by cheekychook » October 6th, 2010, 7:11 pm

There's a thread on here somewhere (in all things writing, I think) where I babbled endlessly about what agents mean by "synopsis". The answer is there is no single answer. Some say "short" and mean a single page (single spaced, which is really 2 double spaced pages)...other mean 1-2 pages but it's debatable what spacing they mean which means it may or may not be the same length as the one single spaced page...some mean 2-3 pages, in which case it's definitely double spaced, so it's really only half a page longer than your single spaced single page...some mean 3-5 pages, because they mean "short" as opposed to "long"....and the long one can vary from 5-7 pages, to 7-10 pages, to 20 pages or even "as many as it takes" (there's a rule about a brief paragraph per chapter somewhere). UGH.

The upswing is that most agents are willing to accept the fact that there is no standard, set, uniformly agreed upon definition of synopsis length, so they're willing to be a tiny bit flexible about it. Many agents specify exactly what they mean, those who don't I've chosen to assume will take what, in reason, fits the description of what they asked for (ie; "short" 5 pages or less, "long" 7 pages or more). I could be completely wrong though.

Regarding the prologue issue, many an agent has ranted about how they want to read your pages "STARTING WHERE THE BOOK STARTS"---so, if your book starts with a prologue I'd start with the prologue. If an agent is that anti-prologue and you have a prologue then the agent is probably not right for you. And that could very well be their loss, not yours. I wouldn't count a prologue as a chapter if it's that short. Basically they say "first 3 chapters" (or first chapter, or first 5 chapters, or whatever) because they want to get the flavor of your book----a page or two here or there is not going to make or break a deal...and if it does, again, that agent is probably not the right agent for you.

Good luck.
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J. T. SHEA
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Re: Prologue & Synopsis Question

Post by J. T. SHEA » October 6th, 2010, 11:50 pm

I'll join your Facebook prologue page, Quill. My next book will consist of a 20,000 word preface, immediately followed by a 20,000 word prologue, a 20,000 word epilogue, and a 20,000 word afterword. That'll show 'em!

You call Oprah. Notw can call the President. I'll call the Pope, and ask him to call God.

notw
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Re: Prologue & Synopsis Question

Post by notw » October 7th, 2010, 12:02 am

Cheekychook,

Thanks! I have noticed some agents are specific, while others are not, when it comes to the synopsis. I figured I would ask though, before I start to query those asking for one. Better safe than sorry. :)

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Re: Prologue & Synopsis Question

Post by cheekychook » October 7th, 2010, 12:10 am

J. T. SHEA wrote:I'll join your Facebook prologue page, Quill. My next book will consist of a 20,000 word preface, immediately followed by a 20,000 word prologue, a 20,000 word epilogue, and a 20,000 word afterword. That'll show 'em!

You call Oprah. Notw can call the President. I'll call the Pope, and ask him to call God.
I was going to say this sounded like a promising book...but without a 20,000 word acknowledgment section I'm just not sure this is a project I can get behind with quite enough enthusiasm to commit....
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