Synopsis question (minor detail)

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Watcher55
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Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by Watcher55 » May 18th, 2011, 9:24 am

I get the deal with capitalizing characters' names when they first occur, but what about agents of change who are just talked about?

TED is the Ninth Addict, a war slave pressed into service to the Second Babel Expedition, led by Zeus, whose goal is to remold History in the Procreator’s image and give life to a sentient galaxy. The expedition suffers disaster however when the Ninth Addict scatters the expedition across History and finds himself in a subterranean chamber beneath Nero’s Rome.

Nero is naturally central to the themes, but one of the characters, Plotius, answers directly to him. So I guess(?) that Nero doesn't need to be capitalized.

Zeus and the Procreator, are characters and they are central to what is going on. The thing is that they don't appear as characters in this first book of the series. Capitalize or not?

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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by Moni12 » May 18th, 2011, 9:26 am

I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to capitalize character names, just the title of your ms. It's the same thing with the query.

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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by Watcher55 » May 18th, 2011, 11:57 am

There seems to be, if not disagreement, a disconnect on this point. I've looked into it and I've found that the more thoghough treatments say you should capitalize a character's name the first time it appears in a synopsis for the benefit of agents who tend to skim. Other sources don't address the question at all. None of them say not to capitalize.

Does this mean (given the agent doesn't specify) that it's optional? If it is optional, I choose to go with it.

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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by HillaryJ » May 18th, 2011, 1:21 pm

Watcher, I share your understanding about CAPS LOCKING the major characters in the synopsis. This does differ from the standard formatting for a query.

As far as the agents go, unless they are walking around acting like human characters, I would think you could write them as they normally appear.
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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by longknife » May 19th, 2011, 11:08 am

I recommend you check out Absolute Write Water Cooler. There's a thread in the Share Your Work section that deals with synopses and it has some great tips and suggestions!

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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by Watcher55 » May 19th, 2011, 2:01 pm

lvcabbie wrote:I recommend you check out Absolute Write Water Cooler. There's a thread in the Share Your Work section that deals with synopses and it has some great tips and suggestions!
Looked - but I didn't see a "share you work" section. Is it under the authorized personel section?

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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by cheekychook » May 19th, 2011, 7:57 pm

I researched this in great detail when I was suffering through, I mean writing, my synopsis. Although, like everything else, there is some varying opinion as to proper form, the majority do want the names of MAJOR characters in all caps the first time of mention in a synopsis. The character's name in parenthesis, ie; BOB (105), is also something commonly found and certainly acceptable. Synopses are supposed to be (more or less) a chronological, condensed version of the story, so mention characters as they appear in the plot line and put each one in caps the first time the name is mentioned. Good luck!
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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by Watcher55 » May 19th, 2011, 8:05 pm

cheekychook wrote:I researched this in great detail when I was suffering through, I mean writing, my synopsis. Although, like everything else, there is some varying opinion as to proper form, the majority do want the names of MAJOR characters in all caps the first time of mention in a synopsis. The character's name in parenthesis, ie; BOB (105), is also something commonly found and certainly acceptable. Synopses are supposed to be (more or less) a chronological, condensed version of the story, so mention characters as they appear in the plot line and put each one in caps the first time the name is mentioned. Good luck!
Oh crap, I don't have any Majors, just Prefects and foot soldiers - now whaddam I gonna do *sigh*

But seriously, Thanks. When you say condensed, does that mean it's ok to leave some character arcs out? 'cause I did.

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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 26th, 2011, 12:29 am

I think the capitalizing of characters names is a screenwriting thing. I don't think it's necessary for a novel synopsis, but that's just me.

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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by Watcher55 » May 26th, 2011, 12:31 am

Nathan Bransford wrote:I think the capitalizing of characters names is a screenwriting thing. I don't think it's necessary for a novel synopsis, but that's just me.
ohno. I hope using all caps isn't a deal breaker. I've already sent it.

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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 26th, 2011, 12:32 am

Watcher55 wrote:
Nathan Bransford wrote:I think the capitalizing of characters names is a screenwriting thing. I don't think it's necessary for a novel synopsis, but that's just me.
ohno. I hope using all caps isn't a deal breaker. I've already sent it.
They won't hold it against you.

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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by Watcher55 » May 26th, 2011, 12:33 am

Nathan Bransford wrote:
Watcher55 wrote:
Nathan Bransford wrote:I think the capitalizing of characters names is a screenwriting thing. I don't think it's necessary for a novel synopsis, but that's just me.
ohno. I hope using all caps isn't a deal breaker. I've already sent it.
They won't hold it against you.
Cool, thanks.

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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by cheekychook » May 26th, 2011, 10:16 am

I actually had a query and synopsis critique done and was told to do the ALL CAPS (age) thing. Nathan's right, it is mandatory for screenplays but more a matter of personal preference among literary agents and editors---some want it, some don't---no one is going to accept or reject based on this. (I will add that the agent who did the critique was older, so perhaps it's less popular with younger agents whereas the older ones are more used to seeing it so still expect it. Dunno.) Unless you see submission guidelines that actually specify what/how they want it and you go and purposefully do the opposite of what they ask you should be fine.
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Re: Synopsis question (minor detail)

Post by Watcher55 » May 26th, 2011, 10:59 am

cheekychook wrote:I actually had a query and synopsis critique done and was told to do the ALL CAPS (age) thing. Nathan's right, it is mandatory for screenplays but more a matter of personal preference among literary agents and editors---some want it, some don't---no one is going to accept or reject based on this. (I will add that the agent who did the critique was older, so perhaps it's less popular with younger agents whereas the older ones are more used to seeing it so still expect it. Dunno.) Unless you see submission guidelines that actually specify what/how they want it and you go and purposefully do the opposite of what they ask you should be fine.
Thanks for that. I was careful to research the agencies' submission guidelines (read that "I opened and read every page regardless of content). This particular agent (and the agency) has one guideline: 1-2 pages.

One of my forgotten Lit Profs told us, in the context of punctuation, to not guess every time we encounter the same rule in the same composition. The upshot was, a CONSISTENT mistake is preferrable to a shotgun approach that results in maybe getting it right once.

I guess it goes without saying (only it's not gonna) that I wish this was my biggest concern, but first impressions do depend on details.

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