I have a dilemma. An agent requires a complete and thorough synopsis in two paragraphs. (agents words, not mine) My first attempt looked something like this:

Good guy gets case.
Good guy solves case. Bad guy dies a gruesome and well deserved death.
The end.

It got rejected because it was too long. Apparently The End, creates a third paragraph.

Being a Texas boy, I understand about stuffing ten pounds of poop in a two pound sack, but there has to be a better way. As I recently stated to a friend of mine, If I'd only known I was going to live this long, I'd a paid better attention in English class.

I have done research until my eyeballs bleed. There are no two synopsis or query letter examples that are alike. Some are not even remotely similar. Am I missing something obvious or do I just to need to keep re-stacking the poop until it fits as good as it's going to, then stomp on the top.

I would love to hear from some of you that have been through the query letter two step and have done it correctly.

Thanks

Tom
San Antonio, Texas

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Tom, as soon as I finish a manuscript, I work on the other business of it: a full synopsis, a one page synopsis, a one paragraph synopsis, and a 25 word pitch. Check the New York Times bestseller list for teeny tiny synopses. It's just a matter of working on it.
Who is your protagonist?
What are the major obstacles he must overcome?
Where is the story set?

Answer those questions in two graphs, you have a decent synopsis.
You might try digging through Miss Snark's blog archives - I know she ran at least one Crap-o-meter where she took synopses submissions & tore them apart. Highly educational in terms of what works and what doesn't & what (at least one) agent is looking for in a synopsis. Here's the url for the list of the 99 subs - http://misssnark.blogspot.com/search/label/Crapometer-synopsis

Jack's right on with the major bullet points & Jeri's approach is a great exercise in paring it down. Good luck in finishing up one of the nastier bits of writing!
Tom:

Try writing two really good "log lines" that tell the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Then string them together into two seperate paragraphs, and you've got it. But leave off "The End." That part goes without saying.
Umm, paragraphs can be different lengths. One-liners are not useful here. A few sentences per paragraph seem to be in order. You have a number of useful points to cover already. One final sentence needs to mention the outcome (sometimes they'd like to see proof that the book is done).
I hate this job myself. It's the sort of thing you draft one day and then fiddle with the next to make it sharper and more concise. Good luck.

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