on Writers Helping Writers:
Every author I know hates writing a synopsis. They hate having to try to boil down their beloved story into 2 – 3 double spaced pages. They agonize over it, moan about it in public, throw fits, start the occasional bar fight. They would rather run in front of the bulls at Pamplona, wearing clogs, than write a short overview of their novel.
But don’t buy your airline tickets to Spain just yet, because it’s really not that hard. If you’ll just follow these guidelines, you’ll always have a solid synopsis, one you can show to any agent or editor and leave them wanting more.
A good synopsis is what I call “back cover copy on steroids.” It’s intended to “sell the sizzle” and give just enough of the steak to create confidence in the project.
This is not the same thing as a detailed outline, or treatment, which is much more substantial. The synopsis is a selling document. So approach it that way from the outset.