I feel there’s no harm in providing this advice. Writing a synopsis can be time-consuming, but there are multiple benefits to be gained by condensing your work early.
I moaned about how hard it was to condense 80K words to 300, to use your voice, to illustrate your writing style. What I didn’t stress though is what I uncovered.
When you write a synopsis, from what I’ve read online, you have to also include: setting and age early on, the character’s motivations, the problem, the obstacle, and what need’s to be resolved. What I found further from researching loglines is that it’s also important to highlight a contradiction. This helps to create tension and an interesting read. eg control freak who has her choices taken away.
Firstly, I’m from Australia, so it’s important you research how you go about querying or submitting your MS straight to a publisher in your country.
I’m sending my MS to Australian publishers directly and am tailoring my submission to meet their requirements. That doesn’t mean I won’t be contacting agents soon. **UPDATED** I have been informed ( thank you brixmcd13 🙂 ) that when you query an agent, you are to reveal the whole plot in a short synopsis. Please see Christine’s comments regarding the synopsis – you are to reveal the entire plot to publishers as well when a synopsis is requested. I will have to read that book, Christine! I was originally confused by one publishers advice which I misconstrued :S
It won’t hurt to research what the requirements are in your circumstance.
From there you cut the information down further to a blurb (what the reader’s see) , and then a logline ( one sentence summing up the whole book) and then a tagline ( something you would see to promote a movie for eg.). The shorter it gets, the more difficult it is, and the more intense the themes.
Whether you’re querying an agent or sending to a publisher ( research will help you determine which they require) I believe it wouldn’t hurt to do all of them.
Because it’s amazing what you find. If you keep all those elements in mind that I highlighted above, you find themes you may not even be aware of. This is not only helpful for your summaries, but it will also help you look at your complete work in a new light. Did I emphasise that theme enough? Is that what this book is actually about?
Researching and playing with my blurb, logline and tagline has helped with my synopsis and to uncover themes. And when I send off my submissions in a week I want to have them completely finished in case somebody asks – can you sum up your book in one sentence? That one question right there almost scared me off writing a year and a half ago.