"Is there a second book?" she asked.
I told her there was a second and possibly up to three more after that.
Then she said the words I feared, "Send me a synopsis for the second book."
"Okay," I said, my mind whirling. "Uh...but I don't know how it ends."
"Write what you know," she answered.
Happily, the next day I had a "Matrix" moment and it was as if my entire novel was downloaded into my brain in a second. I suddenly had all of it, beginning to end. But I still had no idea how to shove that entire story into a synopsis.
I put off the synopsis for nearly a week as I cruised the Internet for advice on how to write one. I have failed utterly in writing a synopsis before. I just couldn't imagine successfully writing one this time. In fact, this task seemed more daunting than even writing a book. It felt like I had been asked to stuff an elephant into a small birdcage. How the heck was I going to compress an entire book into ten pages or less?
Finally, I hit on the blog of Karen Harbaugh. Part of the way down the page (as you scroll) is a section called "Karen Harbaugh's Index Card Method of Writing Synopses." Reading over the post, it utterly made sense to me. I broke out my hot pink index cards and a purple sharpie and started scribbling.
After two days of furious typing, I had my synopsis. I didn't even fill the cards out all the way before I knew exactly what I wanted to write. I sent it off to my test readers, tweaked some things per their suggestion (adding time frame, explaining a plot point a bit better) and sent it off my agent.
What did I hear back? She liked it! She thought it had some really great stuff in it. Yay!!
So now I'm working on the next synopsis I owe her. I'm using the exact same method, but also utilizing yWriter as well this time. I'm writing a summary for each chapter in yWriter in the chapter tab. When I'm done, I'll just export the synopsis using these chapter summaries (I love yWriter) and revise from there.
Have I conquered the Synopsis Monster? Not yet, but I have a better handle on what I'm doing now.