I’ve seen a few writers give advice to write a query and synopsis for your book before you even start your first draft. Frankly, I thought they were insane to say that. Until now.
Late last week, I decided to give it a try. I’d been trying decide on which story idea would become my next WIP when I woke up early Friday morning with the recycled plot of a short story I became a few years ago percolating in my head. Within 15 minutes, I’d come up with a bare-bones query for it. I made time later that evening to flesh the query out some more and sent it right out to one of my critique partners.
I’m not going to claim it’s the perfect query or anything, but it came to me so quickly and none of the anxiety that writing a query letter usually causes me. And I believe I’ve figured out why that happened.
After finishing a novel, the author’s brain is full of all the details that make up the story. It’s only natural to want to flaunt all of the cool features of your plot and characters. What agent could refuse, right?
On the other hand, before writing the book, all you have are vaguer generalities. With only those to draw upon, it’s easier to write a query built on the basics: main character, conflict, and stakes.
I haven’t tried writing my synopsis for this book yet, but I’m betting the same theory holds true – without the mass of detail available post-drafting, it should be easier to craft a single page synopsis to expand on later.
After writing the query letter for this WIP, I sold myself on the project. I’m anxious to get started drafting on it. I need to create a ‘Save the Cat’ beat sheet for it and make a rough outline before I start, and if I get another burst of inspiration I’ll even take a stab at writing the synopsis for it.