There are several agents I plan to send more queries to as soon as I’ve gone through my manuscript once more – and written a synopsis. These are agents who want to be pitched with a synopsis along with the query and the first pages or chapters. I put them on the backburner until I wrote a good synopsis – a process a lot more difficult and time-consuming than I originally thought possible. But after receiving another rejection – the first to make me feel the discouragement blues, even though it was very nicely formulated – I know I have to tackle that witch with a B.
In essentials, a synopsis is a summary of your book, varying in length from two to five pages, depending on what the agent wants. Like the query, it should arouse interest, be clear as to the characters’ ambitions, and the conflicts they must deal with. Like the query, the synopsis is best kept simple. I personally found this easier to do in the query, because it pitches only the idea, and the major plot points and conflicts – the synopsis must be far more detailed and even include how the story ends, while at the same time keeping it so simple that the reader doesn’t have to back up every second paragraph because s/he is confused by run-on sentences or half-explained events.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was spot-on in saying, “easy reading is damn hard writing”. True, even for a synopsis.
It might seem a little hasty, writing the synopsis now when I’m considering some fairly big revisions. But I have a feeling that writing the synopsis will actually help me with those revisions, since some of them aren’t fully formed yet. Writing a summary will help un-muddle some jumbled ideas before I sit down to rewrite, which could save me a lot of time.
As soon as it’s finished, I’m sending the synopsis to my beta-readers, including people who haven’t read the novel yet. They’ll hopefully be able to tell me where it gets confusing so that I can smooth those parts out.
Author Anne Mini has several great blog posts on the synopsis subject.