So, I've been reading Golden Heart entries all weekend. The stories themselves have been terrific, I don't know if I got a good crop or what, but every single one made me want to read the entire book. The thing holding them back though...the synopses. If I was the lit agent or editor reading them I would be too confused to want more because I had no idea from reading them what the stories were about.
Synopsis writing after finishing a novel is like afterbirth.
Here you've gone through hours of hard labor to bring forth this beautiful creation and all you want to do is rest before showing it to the world. But wait, the work is not done yet. You still have to crap out this horrible little thing that is never going to see the light of day, aside from a few lit agents and or editors. Just because it's small and unattractive, doesn't mean it's less vital though. Because if you don't do this, you won't ever be able to leave the hospital, to show your baby to the world.
I don't know why, but I don't hate writing a synopsis. I used to be afraid of them, until I understood what exactly they are for. Maybe because by nature I'm a to-the-point writer. Minimalist to my marrow, never use a description when blank space will do. But whatever the reason, I thought I'd help you other writers out there who may struggle with this particular tool.
Imagine you have a little detective sitting on your shoulder grumbling "Just the facts, Ma'am." All of those scenes that you see in your head and bring forth onto the page, are for the story. In the synopsis you need to answer the basic questions.
1) What is happening (Plot)
2) Who it is happening to (Characters) And please, for the love of all that is holy, limit this to the protagonist (s) and the antagonist (s). I know you loved your heroine's snarky sister, I did too, but she has no place in the synopsis. Hero, heroine and villain, then get out.
3) Where and When it is happening (Setting)
4) Why it is happening. (Optional for longer synopses)
That's it, that's the secret. Leave your details and vivid descriptions for your baby. Just bear down, push and endure. I promise, it will be worth the effort.