What Even Is A Synopsis?!

I’m in the process of querying my latest, and I created a query letter I feel comfortable with and can change around as needed for each individual agent I’m querying, I’ve got my blurbs all set, I have a short personal bio, and I have the first chapter/10 pages/20 pages/3 chapters/15 pages/etc. ready to attach and/or place within the body of my emails, depending on what the agent requests.

But now I find that many agents use Query Tracker, and within the form there I am finding that there is a section for synopsis that seems to be required.

What?

Why wasn’t I told?

Ok, so I can just create a synopsis. I can do that. I know my story in and out, I can give a… give a what? Overview? Summary? Outline? What exactly are these agents looking for when they say they want a synopsis, and how long should it be? And isn’t that kind of what I condensed down to put withing the query letter? Isn’t this duplicative?

So, striving to actually know what I’m doing and what is expected, I googled. That provided a lot of varied responses, but didn’t really provide clarity on the level I need. So, just to be sure, I even hit dictionary.com to see what they have to say. To paraphrase:

Synopsis

1. a brief statement giving a general view of something
2. a group of short paragraphs giving a view of the whole
3. a summary of the plot of the novel

Bingo! There it is, number 3. A summary of the plot of a novel. Er… but, I sort of did that… already. In the query letter.

Oh. So… so, um…

Where does that leave me?

Well, more googling, more research, and I basically came up with the idea that what they are looking for is the main character arc and important events that happen to the main protagonist, leaving out side details and secondary storylines unless very important.

So I set out to create this “short” summary.

What was my story about again?

So yeah… not easy. It’s like the second I decided to write this thing, my entire story flew out of my head. I know what it’s about, but the second I try to write it all out I get halfway through and go “oh, oh, but this thing that happened back five chapters ago actually was important, and I didn’t include it, and so…” you get the idea.

I’ve got a basic one ready to go, sort of. It took a lot, and I’m making it sound worse than it actually was, but it is basically ready. Like everything else, I need to edit it once more to be happy with it.

In the meantime, I’ve been sending queries to those agents who don’t actually ask for a full synopsis (bless them, every one!)

Last post I mentioned some retro computer stuff, but I couldn’t show you pics because my server was being dumb and wouldn’t let me upload pics. It’s working now, so here are the pics I talked about:

The Tandy Color Computer 2

The Tandy Color Computer 2 (Coco 2)

The external drive case I retrobrighted:

Image of yellowed drive before retrobrighting.
Image of drive much whiter after retrobrighting.

As you can see, there is a lot of difference. I was hoping for better (you can see it is still a little yellow), but this isn’t terrible.

Everyone have a good weekend!

Retro Tech

A couple of weeks ago, after mentioning in a previous post that I was looking for an old 1980’s computer, I actually found one for a reasonable price. It is a Tandy Color Computer 2, like the one pictures below.

…Oops, not below. My server is being a butt and won’t let me upload images right now for some reason. You can see one like it here, though.

Anyway, it took me a bit to be able to hook it up to a monitor, since I didn’t have an RF adapter to hook it up with and had to order one, but it works great, and it is really fun to see what was probably a pretty cool computer in about 1983.

I’ve also found an old external DVD drive that was horribly yellowed and nasty looking. I’d show you a pic here, but… well, the above server issue applies to that pic as well.

There are videos on Youtube, like this one from the 8-bit guy, where they take old and yellowed computers and get rid of the nasty yellowing that has occurred over time. I’m going to give it a try on that old drive that should have been pictured above, if my server hadn’t been a butt today. When I get results I’ll try to post both the before and after pics here, if I’m able to get my pics to upload by then.

As far as writing… still querying.

Everyone have a good weekend!

Vintage Computers

I guess it is probably my tinkering with the Raspberry Pi, not sure, but for some reason I’ve had a very strong urge to find an old computer from the 1980’s. I used to use an Apple IIC, Tandy 1000, and Mac 512, so I started looking for one of those. I’ve always been interested in these old things, but I’ve kind of let that go.

Until now.

I put an Apple II emulator on the Raspberry Pi and started messing around with it. Eventually I decided to try to write something for it. A game.

I have a degree in Computer Science, and I used to work as a programmer, so I have written a decent amount of software, and even a couple of games. But that was all on newer computers, with more modern programming languages, not on an Apple II using their very rudimentary BASIC language.

So yeah, it’s… rough going. The thing is, it’s so lacking that it is hard to do things you want to do on it. Even simple things. Even drawing two boxes of different colors right next to each other isn’t really possible because the way graphics are done on a hardware level will cause the colors to bleed over into each other. At least in hi resolution, which is what I’m trying to use. It’s rough, that’s all I’m going to say. I’m still working on it.

Anyway, I wound up looking around for one of these old things, and I came across a TRS-80 Color Computer 2 and bought it. I’m waiting for it to ship, but from what I can tell (never even seen one of these in person) it is very similar capability-wise to the Apple II, except possibly being a little easier to program for. So I’ll probably finish up the game for Apple, then port it over to the Color Computer 2 when I’m done.

As far as writing-

I’ve been querying more. No agents have been interested yet, but I got a very personalized rejection, and the agent seemed to like the idea and the story quite a bit, just didn’t love it quite enough to represent it. I’m taking this as a positive thing, and I’ll keep going.

Meanwhile, ideas for new stories have been flying into my head lately, so I’ll be making some notes so I can get to these in the future.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!