I've read a lot of articles about writing a synopsis for the purposes of getting a literary agent. They all give great advice, but the amount of information you have to take in is a bit overwhelming. So I thought: why not introduce people to the synopsis in an interesting way by using the opening crawl of Star Wars VII to explain it.
The basic aim of the synopsis is to get across the major points and characters in your manuscript. It hooks in the reader and is in the same tone as your novel. It's basically not supposed to contain any information that isn't absolutely vital.
The opening crawl of Star Wars VII does a similar thing: it introduces all of the information you need to know (before you watch the movie) including characters and events that have passed. It hooks you in from the first sentence and you get that "Star Wars tone" when you're reading it.
Have a read of it for yourself:
Luke Skywalker has vanished. In his absence, the sinister FIRST ORDER has risen from the ashes of the Empire and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed.
With the support of the REPUBLIC, General Leia Organa leads a brave RESISTANCE. She is desperate to find her brother Luke and gain his help in restoring peace and justice to the galaxy.
Leia has sent her most daring pilot on a secret mission to Jakku, where an old ally has discovered a clue to Luke’s whereabouts…
The viewer is hooked at "Luke Skywalker has vanished." After that it provides new information to the viewer and acts as a guide to this universe before the viewer starts watching the movie.
Your synopsis, though longer, needs to do a similar job and simply get the information about your manuscript across as clearly and simply as possible.
Some points to consider when writing your synopsis from people in the business:
If you need even more information on queries and the synopsis check out The Query Process in YA Highways Publishing Road Map.
Hopefully with all of these tools you'll feel confident in attacking this thing. Just remember: revise, revise, revise!
Anjulie Te Pohe
Founder of Koru Mag | Mookychick contributor | Avid reader and writer of YA | Takatapui (Maori & bi/queer) | She/Them | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org