Agent requesting Chapter Breakdown

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BarbaraUS

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I met a lovely agent at a conference this weekend who really liked my story and offered an amazingly insightful suggestion to boot. We made a good personal connection at lunch too. She wants to see more. But upon checking her submission requirements it calls for a “chapter breakdown.” Figuring (hoping) I could maybe get out of doing (bypassing) this ridiculous thing, I asked her about it. She's insistent on it as it provides her “a roadmap.”

I've never heard of doing this for anything other than non-fiction. Of course I’ve done such things for my own benefit, including a scene by scene breakdown per Story Grid (Right? @RKCapps). But this wasn’t anything for public consumption. And I’ve got 90 frick’n chapters- many of which have changed since I last updated breakdowns and outlines!

So, I’ve started anew and am pushing my way through this task, but it is like pulling teeth. In trying to just get across the key points, it is apparent I’m not conveying enough info, so I've gone back to add things in, but worry that a paragraph might be too long. But I don’t think it can just be a list of external plot points, which would be boring anyway. Also, since I have multi-scene chapters that I’m mushing together, I’m identifying the POV character by using bold when introduced.

Has anyone else had to do this? Any tips?

She runs her own very small agency and loves to work with her authors. She really liked the strong female protagonist too, so maybe this is worth the pain? About

Thanks in advance!
 
I've never head of a chapter breakdown before (maybe ask a huddle - what would that even look like?). I'm with you about breakdowns being changed. Mine are all different too. What if you updated your Story Grid and sent that (or parts of it?)? Then the time you spend is still productive. A Story Grid is a roadmap too.
 
My understanding and what I did when asked once was broad brush strokes on each chapter. Maybe three to four sentences of the key action points. In some instances chapters will follow one another without the scene changing, so rather than (@BarbaraUS ) do 90, you maybe able to combine to cover it with 60. I know that's only marginally less daunting and a pain in the derrière - but every little helps.

@AgentPete has also mentioned this in a slightly different presentation style. A full story chapter breakdown as bullet points. Pretty much the same beasty.

Positive for me is that your contact likes the idea enough to actually ask for this. So I'd push it along.

Anyway, I did what I said above and was told "thanks it was exactly what we needed". Of course, no offer was ultimately forthcoming, but hey... you can't have everything, now can you? :)
 
My understanding and what I did when asked once was broad brush strokes on each chapter. Maybe three to four sentences of the key action points. In some instances chapters will follow one another without the scene changing, so rather than (@BarbaraUS ) do 90, you maybe able to combine to cover it with 60. I know that's only marginally less daunting and a pain in the derrière - but every little helps.

@AgentPete has also mentioned this in a slightly different presentation style. A full story chapter breakdown as bullet points. Pretty much the same beasty.

Positive for me is that your contact likes the idea enough to actually ask for this. So I'd push it along.

Anyway, I did what I said above and was told "thanks it was exactly what we needed". Of course, no offer was ultimately forthcoming, but hey... you can't have everything, now can you? :)
Thanks much for the info @Jonny. Sorry it didn't result in the ending you'd hoped for though :(

If you're comfortable doing it, would you mind sharing a page of what you sent so I could see what formatting and content brought a "thanks, that's exactly what we need" response?
Otherwise did you include any type of summary at the beginning? I currently have a short one describing my "world."
 
Not sure If I can find it as it was a while ago but let me have a look. If I find it it be happy to send it to you. But I have changed laptops since then as it was about 3 or more years ago. It might still be attached to an email or something.

In my case I didn't have a summary on the document as we had already been in correspondence. They had 3 chapters then requested the chapter summary then a full MS.
 
It's relatively common for novel competitions, or applications for creative funding (especially by universities). There's also usually a word limit on the total, so the single sentence, maybe two, for each chapter would work best. Consider it a tell of the story, in its shortest format.
I'd suggest ensuring a smooth flow of events to ease the reading.
 
Hi Barbara,

I've done a few of these over the years and I'm sending one I found on my current laptop from a two years ago.

The one I mention above is somewhere but I don't know where. I suspect it's on my previous laptop. However the principle is the same. I'm not sure if the presentation style is what you agent might want but you could always drop her a line first and ask.

Best of luck.
 
Consider it a tell of the story, in its shortest format.
I'd suggest ensuring a smooth flow of events to ease the reading.
That's a good way to think of it, @Brayati. Thank you. I have it all roughed in. As I'm going over it again, I'm adding and subtracting as needed aiming for a "flow." So, I think I can get this done- but what a pain to ensure I'm using complete sentences and not my usual cryptic summaries.

Thank you everyone for your help today.
And @Jonny - thank you SO much for sending me yours to review! Much appreciated.
 
It took a bit of doing and needless to say a lot of lip-chewing and some swearing and although it wasn't the exact thing I was looking for, it was close.

This practically makes me honorary Swiss, doesn't it? :cool:
 
It took a bit of doing and needless to say a lot of lip-chewing and some swearing and although it wasn't the exact thing I was looking for, it was close.

This practically makes me honorary Swiss, doesn't it? :cool:
I would have sent you the Ehrenbuerger Schweizer Pass, but it's made of chocolate and, well, it melted.
 
I met a lovely agent at a conference this weekend who really liked my story and offered an amazingly insightful suggestion to boot. We made a good personal connection at lunch too. She wants to see more. But upon checking her submission requirements it calls for a “chapter breakdown.” Figuring (hoping) I could maybe get out of doing (bypassing) this ridiculous thing, I asked her about it. She's insistent on it as it provides her “a roadmap.”

I've never heard of doing this for anything other than non-fiction. Of course I’ve done such things for my own benefit, including a scene by scene breakdown per Story Grid (Right? @RKCapps). But this wasn’t anything for public consumption. And I’ve got 90 frick’n chapters- many of which have changed since I last updated breakdowns and outlines!

So, I’ve started anew and am pushing my way through this task, but it is like pulling teeth. In trying to just get across the key points, it is apparent I’m not conveying enough info, so I've gone back to add things in, but worry that a paragraph might be too long. But I don’t think it can just be a list of external plot points, which would be boring anyway. Also, since I have multi-scene chapters that I’m mushing together, I’m identifying the POV character by using bold when introduced.

Has anyone else had to do this? Any tips?

She runs her own very small agency and loves to work with her authors. She really liked the strong female protagonist too, so maybe this is worth the pain? About

Thanks in advance!
I tried doing this just for myself, thinking it would be a way to help me write a synopsis. The result was horrible. But I've never heard of an agent requiring such a thing. By the sound of it, you'll end up with a 'SparkNotes Study Guide' to your own book. What was the point of writing a full-length book if everything could be summarised into a couple of lines per chapter? I'm puzzled. But a friendly agent is worth their weight in gold so good luck.
 
Ehrenbuerger Schweizer Pass but it's made of chocolate...

I've Goggled it now and it's taken me to some page all in Swiss / German.

But look, how can a burger be chocolate. I mean, try and BBQ that and it'll all end in tears.
 
I tried doing this just for myself, thinking it would be a way to help me write a synopsis. The result was horrible. But I've never heard of an agent requiring such a thing. By the sound of it, you'll end up with a 'SparkNotes Study Guide' to your own book. What was the point of writing a full-length book if everything could be summarised into a couple of lines per chapter? I'm puzzled. But a friendly agent is worth their weight in gold so good luck.
You captured all my thoughts precisely!
 
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