Writing an original novel is hard, but writing the synopsis of said novel is even harder. I mean, how should I condense a 140,000-word novel into a 2-page summary?
It was difficult to do when I wrote the synopsis of The Pacific Between, and that's a 75,000-word novel with a relatively straightforward plot. The WIP is bigger in scope, spanning over 50 years and three wars.
I realized the only way I could tackle this was via a chapter-by-chapter outline. During one of my rewrites, I wrote down a brief summary of the chapters. I skipped the details and aimed for the big plot elements. No room for nuances and themes. Just plot, and only the main one, not the subplots. And I focused only on a handful of characters, my two protagonists at the center.
That really helped. I ended up with a 3-page synopsis. Still too long for query purposes. I only need 2 pages, and then a one-paragraph summary, followed by a one-sentence "tagline." I read through the 3-page synopsis and went to town editing it, cutting out the fat and trimming all the unnecessary details, and combining related chapters into single paragraphs. And I did it. I successfully pared it down to just about 2 pages without losing the important plot elements.
Now, I need to come up with the 1-paragraph and 1-sentence.
Piece of cake, right?
Let me get back to you after I have a real piece of cake. I deserve a treat.