Since early November I have been sending query letters out on my novel, Rules for Giving. My goal was five a week. I have about twenty-seven or twenty-eight letters and emails out, with about ten rejections. Several people told me that I can expect as many as 100 rejections from agents. I decided to take a break during the holidays. Then yesterday one of the snail mail responses came back with the magic words: "We would like to consider it."
Not only that, but this is a high profile agent with an enviable list of clients and successes. Names any of the readers of this blog would recognize.
So the next step is that the agent is requesting the first fifty pages and "a detailed outline no longer than 10 pages, double spaced."
My question now: How does a detailed outline differ from a synopsis?
My understanding of a synopsis is that if an agent were to read the synopsis, then they would know everything in the novel, at least the big parts. They would know what genre it falls into (because there is a good possibility that the writer has his or her genres all screwed up). They would know how it ends, if everyone turns into vampires or zombies in the last chapter, and all the other horrible possibilities.
I asked around to a few my expert acquaintances, sent out a message on Facebook and, for once, got the same general answer. An outline is a chapter-by-chapter review of what happens in the novel, preferably reflecting the tone of the story. As one of my expert sources recommended: "If it's funny, be funny. If it's a thriller, be thrilling... So, so hard. I don't envy you this work."
Now I know what I will be doing for the rest of the holiday lull. That's okay, because I received a positive response from an agent. I'm on to the next step.
See ya’ later.
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