As a novel author, I usually write 50,000 - 90,000 words to each of the manuscripts that I create. It depends on the story line as to how long the story will be and I go with every twist and turn that my characters will give me. So, if I’m used to producing this many words, it’s mind boggling for a published or editor to ask me to summarize all of that into a two page synopsis. You want me to what?? Can you make War & Peace into a three page synopsis? So here’s how I deal with these little gems of hair pulling insanity. And remember that I’m more of a pantser than I am a plotter, so twist this any way that it will help you.Outline/Highlight - Yep, a pantser can outline things in a free flow thinking type of way. I jot down a few things that are the main point of each chapter and then go back to highlight the most crucial parts of that outline. These will be my items of interest that have to be on my synopsis.
Make sure that these points are things that will grab the attention of the publisher/editor/agent. You won’t need anything about secondary characters unless it’s crucial to the story line or the main characters developing.No matter what anyone says, put the ending of your story in the synopsis. I know… Wench Lady, say what? Yes, if you’re going to pitch the story then the person interested in it needs to know how it ends. No one likes giving away all the juicy points once you’ve made the story one of your “children” but leaving it at a cliffhanger can piss off the person trying to see if you have what it takes. Most of the editors/agents/houses that I’ve spoken with are not going to call you just because you ended at a point where we don’t know what happens. It just leaves them wanting to toss it and go to the next candidate. You don’t want this to happen. (If there happen to be any of these professionals out there that like being left in the fictional lurch, please let me know who you are. :-))
If you are able to use this info, then try using the top items of your highlighted list to make an elevator pitch for your story. Run it down and reread it a few hundred times to see if it would stop the seller in their tracks. What can it hurt? Sometimes it can be the tiny little slip that makes your dressy manuscript shine. I did it and it seemed to go over well. Good luck :-)