Yes, synopses (is that the proper plural?) are super scary! Glad to know there's a good book out there.
Genre: Non-Fiction/Writing Advice
Most writers hate writing synopses. They need dread them no more. In Write a Great Synopsis – An Expert Guide, Nicola Morgan takes the stress out of the subject and applies calm, systematic guidance, with her renowned no-nonsense approach and laconic style.
Write a Great Synopsis covers: the function of a synopsis, the differences between outlines and synopses, dealing with requirements for different agents and publishers, finding the heart of your book, how to tackle non-linear plots, multiples themes, sub-plots and long novels, and it answers all the questions and confusions that writers have. Nicola also introduces readers to her patent Crappy Memory Tool, explains the art of crafting a 25-word pitch, and demonstrates with real examples. Gold-dust for writers at all stages.
I've been waiting on tip-toes for this book to be released - synopses are tricky stuff to write, and it's always nice to get an expert's tips on them. While the UK publishing industry is a little more friendly than the US industry there's a lot less information available online about it. We've got The Writer & Artist's Yearbook, Carole Blake's From Pitch to Publication, and now there's Nicola Morgan with Write A Great Synopsis and her more general industry advice book Write to be Published. The best part about it - WAGS is only £1 in January! You can buy in here from Amazon UK.
Nicola's book is a short and snappy read that covers all the bases - the only thing I would have liked is a more formulaic method, which tends to work best for me (Susan Dennard's method worked a charm for me recently). Nicola's recommendations don't rely on a formula or a section break down, but this this allows her methods to work for a much wider range of stories. Her tips work brilliantly for both your run-of-the-mill 3 Act stories and for non-fiction and fiction that doesn't follow a standard structure. She even includes some particularly useful advise for books that jump around, include flashbacks, or have multiple endings.
This is a succinct and brilliant book, and I recommend it for any writers (UK, US or otherwise) who're tearing their hair out getting that synopsis written.
I hate writing synopses, so maybe this is a book I need to get! For the novel I'm currently querying, I wrote a five-page synopsis and a single-page synopsis, since I know agents sometimes request one or the other. It was really difficult trying to sum up 80,000 words while keeping the voice and a sense of the drama. Thanks for the tip, Emma! :)