For you authors out there, Miss Snark is doing another of her exercises to help aspiring writers.
In case you are unfamiliar with her name, Miss Snark is a blogger who identifies herself as an anonymous New York literary agent. She's been blogging since June. I discovered her in early August at www.misssnark.blogspot.com. It's been a must-read for me ever since.
In late August, she offered to critique first pages for anyone willing to submit them. I sent in the first page from my "Dying To Do It" manuscript about fifteen minutes before the deadline. She critiqued it on 8/31 (#55 if you want to take a look). Reviewing the 57 critiques she did was a very helpful exercise in seeing what grabs a reader and what doesn't.
Last week, she upped the ante, offering to critique 1,000-word synopses. Wannabe participants had three days to submit before she shut the window at midnight on Christmas. Starting Monday, she began posting both the entries and her comments on them.
This exercise was a particular challenge for me because my synopses usually run between 1,500 and 1,800 words. Compacting a 100,000-word novel into 1,000 words nearly killed me. In her critique of "Perchance to Sleep" last night, she complained about an "information dump" and she was right. I had to dump the data in order to get everything into the synopsis that I wanted in there. However, her point that you don't need an exhaustive listing of every event in a manuscript is an important one that I'll remember.
I urge you to take advantage of the chance to read the 107 synopses she promised to review this week. Reading both the actual synopses and her comments on them have been very helpful to me.