Writing The Synopsis or Summary
A synopsis is usually between two and three pages long. A summary is a shorter version of a synopsis, about one to three pages. Agents usually prefer a short summary or simply a short description of the characters and plot inside the query letter.
About Words Agency prefers to see a one-page single-spaced summary, including the ending.
Tip: It is VERY important to include a detailed description of how your book BEGINS AND ENDS, especially if you are only sending a partial manuscript. The agent or editor that reads it will not know how to evaluate it without knowing how it ends.
Tip: Never send an entire manuscript to an agent or an editor, unless they specifically ask you to. Always follow the guidelines of that particular agent or editor.
A synopsis can help you market your book. It can help the agent and the editor to decide to read the book, if it conveys the meaning in an intriguing manner. And it can also help the editor write appropriate book cover material.
Many authors think writing the synopsis is harder than writing the book, so don't feel bad if it seems like a really tough job.
In order to write a really great synopsis, you must pull back from the book and look at it from the agent's or editor's point of view. You can start by summarizing your book into one sentence, or if that's too hard, into two sentences. You'll have to do this anyway for the query letter, so it won't be just an exercise.
Once you've gotten that overview perspective, you can begin your synopsis. You may start by introducing the main character and what the story is about, or you can just dive into the beginning of the book without a summary. If you include a summary, keep it very short, preferably one sentence. Stay in present tense, third person. Go into detail about the beginning of the book. Then skip immediately to the end of the book, and carefully choose what to tell about how your story concludes. One paragraph can often span more than one chapter. Last, choose the turning points from the rest of your book that take your characters from the beginning to the end. Insert those turning points (middle) between your carefully crafted beginning and end, and you're finished!
If you're more comfortable just writing it from beginning to end, that's fine, too. Whatever works for you is what you should do.
Tip: Carefully spell- and grammar-check your synopsis. It will be a reflection of the quality of your book.
Tip: A synopsis should be done in the form of narrative summary in third person in the same tone or voice as the book.
Tip: A synopsis should always be written in PRESENT TENSE.