[Would have posted this hours ago, but my internet was down, and nothing I did could dissuade it from its evilness. But it's back now, half an hour before I leave the house.]
Here’s the thing about writing a synopsis, in my experience: there are just some lengths of summary that are nigh impossible for me. [This might also apply to short stories, too, come to think of it.] A query letter requires about one paragraph, short, to the point, catchy—it grabs the agents’ attention and gives them a sense of who the protagonist is, the author’s voice, and what makes the writer’s story different from others.
A two-page synopsis gives the writer (re: me) a chance to describe the story in more detail. Two full pages are about enough from something just slightly less detailed than a chapter-by-chapter rundown. [I keep a chapter-by-chapter chronology just for my own knowledge, to help cut down inconsistencies, but that ends up around 3-4 pages.] Truthfully, it’s about 2 and a half to 3 pages, but about 2 after editing.
Here’s the thing, or me personally, I don’t think I could write a one-page synopsis (well, maybe I could, but it would take some extra doing). Like short stories, I can write one paragraph, and I can give you a couple of pages, but one page ends up in that weird limbo space. I find it a challenge to teeter on the balance between general statements because there isn’t much space, and small details to give you a sense of distinction in character and world-building.
I’ve finished my synopsis for Hounds, the urban fantasy I’m querying agents with. It started off, first draft, at about three pages (2 and ¾). Now I’m editing, cutting out what doesn’t seem as necessary while still giving readers a full sense of the story. I think one point that should be made with synopses, is that the reader shouldn’t be left thinking, “How did we get from A to 3?” Leave out the smaller scenes, but make sure even the synopsis tells a coherent story.
At least, that’s what I’m hoping to achieve with my own.
Happy writing everyone,