A synopsis is like a mini-book report, except stylized to meet the need of agents and editors. You must summarize the storyline in a manner that makes the reader want to read the book. Think of it as telling a friend about a movie you just saw and you’re trying to convince them to go see it with you.
SYNOPSES REQUIRE THE FOLLOWING:
1) Write it in the present tense.
2) Include only the highlights and basic facts.
3) Include the main character’s GMC (goal, motivation, conflict).
4) It MUST tell the ending of the story.
TYPES OF SYNOPSES:
1) Mini-synopsis (200-300 words)
2) 1 page (usually single spaced)
3) 2-3 pages (usually double spaced)
4) 3-5 pages (usually double spaced)
My experience has been that the 1-page synopsis is requested most frequently, however I suggest that you prepare several types. Most importantly, however, make sure you check an agent or editor’s website to find out exactly what type of synopsis they require and follow their guidelines strictly.
As you write your synopsis, you may find yourself frustruted. You are not alone. The synopsis is often the most difficult part of the proposal for an author to write for a couple of reasons. First, you’re trying to summarize thousands and thousands of words into only hundreds. The most difficult part, however, is that you must tell about the book. After working so hard to show instead of tell, you must now tell instead of show. To get you started, and give you some idea of what a synopsis looks like, I have included links to some samples:
The Synopsis Project (you will find a collection of synopses here)