I’ve been spending the better part of the last couple of days boiling my 65,000 word novel into a coherent synopsis of under 500 words. That’s much more difficult than I ever imagined, but it’s also a great exercise in precision. At this length, every word is important; every prepositional phrase subject to review and deletion. Every sentence must be precise, necessary, and precisely crafted with nothing out of place. And maintain feel for character and plot, and do it in an entertaining way. You are looking for the synopsis to hook the reader.
I’m pretty convinced if I had to write a book like this it would never get written.
So much of the context of the story is taken out at this length, so you have to pick and choose what goes in and what doesn’t.
You might be asking yourself… Why are you crafting a synopsis with a word count of less than 500 words?
The answer is quite simple. An agent I want to query has on online form for a synopsis that has a word count limit of 500. If he wanted 200, he’d get 200, although I don’t know how useful it would be. The point here is that you are at the mercy of the agents demands, and they vary so much from agent to agent. Which is probably a good thing. It forces me to be wary of what I am sending to whom. It forces me to be personal and to be diligent. Until someone comes up with a better process, I am doing it their way.
Besides… My way hasn’t always been a cake walk in the bakery.
A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor. ~ Ring Lardner