So the synopsis is supposed to be 1-2 pages, right? I have whittled this thing down from 4 pages to 2.5, and now it's down to the *very last line *of the 2nd page! That counts as 1-2 pages, yes? Just kidding (partly.) Yes, it's down to 2 pages, but I still need to tighten a bit more. And the strange thing is, I think this has been a helpful exercise. It's possible most of the agents I query might not even request it, but it's helped me condense the story down in my mind to its main parts. I've been able to see what's most important--those parts I just cannot cut out of the query. Sure, I've cut out parts I wish I could include--parts that are essential to the story--but I think I've covered the story well enough to at least cause someone to say, "Hey, this is interesting, I think I'll read more." Which is really the whole purpose, right? The thorn in my side is still the fact that it only tells one timeline of the story, and I have two. But it's proved impossible for me to write the synopsis succinctly AND cover both timelines/POVs. Just won't work. So my hope is that the agent remembers from my query that the story is told in alternating POVS, and the synopsis just covers one. I've alluded to the other MC's story in the synopsis, so hopefully that is enough.
Whew, this thing truly is a beast.
In other news, I had a dear friend--who's also a reader, writer, and editor--read my manuscript. She loved it. She even got a little teary telling me what she thought--and not because the story itself made her cry, but just because she was really proud of me. That made me feel good. She said she thought all the storylines worked, the pacing and voice were spot on--and it kept her up late reading!
And another friend (who is also the big trifecta of reader/writer/editor--I seem to have a few of those friends!) has offered to read the manuscript. I'm giving it to her Monday when I go to HER BOOK SIGNING at the Alabama Booksmith! (Anyone who loves good music should check out her book Muscle Shoals Sound Studio: How the Swampers Changed American Music!)
I'm feeling good about THE HIDEAWAY's prospects, to tell you the truth. I just feel like it needs to land in the right set of hands--but that's always the case with any author's work, isn't it? I'm feeling more and more these days that I need an agent really works a lot with women's fiction--not YA, YA, YA, and a little women's fiction on the side. YA is so hot right now, but it's just not anywhere close to what I write. The bells and whistles of YA (dramatic cliffhangers, world-ending choices, evil dictators, etc) can lead people to look for those things in queries and manuscripts--even for women's fiction. My story (and much of women's fic) is about a woman's journey. If THIS doesn't happen, the world won't end, the bad guys won't win, and no one will be banished forever. Most likely, the woman's life will go on, just maybe not as good as it could have been. I guess you could stay they tend to be quieter stories. (Yes, women's fic can have humor, cliffhangers, exciting things, etc. Of course it can! It just lacks the THE WORLD WILL EXPLODE IF THIS ONE THING DOESN'T HAPPEN! storylines.)
All that to say, I hope I can find an agent who who loves women's fiction and *gets* my story. It'd also be nice if the day she reads my query, she's not suffering from indigestion from a double-decker cheeseburger she had at lunch, which makes her uninterested in anything she reads. (Ha! Just a nod to the subjective nature of this whole process!)