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Synopsis of story in cover letter?


New Member
I've submitted short stories to at least two publications that specifically asked for a synopsis of the story in the cover letter. I'm not sure how to handle this - do they really want spoilers and all ? Wouldn't this change how the editor reads it ? I don't want to give away something I've worked to set up suspense about. So far I've made it like a blurb, just hinting at the story.

Has anyone else had this ? How do you handle it ?


I haven't done this myself, but my understanding is that editors want to know the details, spoilers and all, because they want to work out if the story is one that will fit with their publication and isn't too similar to other stories being published in the same edition or recent editions. If you story has the same message or conclusion to another story the editor is putting in, s/he'll want to know without having to spend half an hour reading the story. The editor doesn't need to read the story in the same way the reader does; an editor is analysing the story in different ways and greater depth than a standard reader, and when reading the story might be more focused on narrative voice, style, pacing and so on than story - and knowing the ending in advance means they can spot the hints dropped throughout towards what the conclusion will be.