Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Novel Writing Step by Step – Part Six

Manuscript Layout and how to Write a Synopsis
The writing process is complete and you’ve edited and polished until your manuscript is shining. The next step is to make sure it is correctly formatted for submission to a publisher or agent. If you have a particular publisher in mind, check their website for formatting guidelines. Otherwise, this is the generally accepted way to lay out a novel manuscript:
· Times New Roman 12 point
· One inch margins all around
· 1.5 or double spaced
· Left justified

Synopsis Writing
A synopsis is a one or two page condensation of the vital points of your story. Many authors struggle with this but it is not difficult if broken down into steps. Try writing a couple of sentences to summarise each chapter. Then join these together and expand them into a synopsis. You may have to add in a few lines and delete others but make sure that all the important points are mentioned. Here are the important facts about writing a synopsis:
· Times New Roman 12 point
· Write two pages unless stated otherwise
· Single spaced with a break between paragraphs
· No indentations

Submitting the Manuscript and Synopsis
When the manuscript and synopsis are ready, write a cover letter and read the guidelines for sending your package. Some publishers only accept email submissions while others prefer snail mail. Then pray and send it on its way. Many writers procrastinate at this point, worrying about the story, the dialogue or the synopsis. Your work will never be 100% perfect, so take a deep breath and send it on its way!

Next week is the last in our novel-writing series and I’ll be including plenty of links to Christian publishers and self-publishing companies. Don’t miss this one – come back next Wednesday and have a look.

Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Visit her at Debbie Roome or read some of her work at Suite 101 , Take Root and Write and Faithwriters.

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1 comment:


Really great information. At this point I need all I can get. I'm not so much worried about my writing as I am getting through the submission and publishing process. It's a competetive market and only those who can capture the attention of the agent or publisher can get their contract. There are a lot of good manuscripts unpublished because the writer wasn't able to "hook" the people who count.