I believe the synopsis is one of the most challenging aspects of the submission process. It is a topic that is much discussed amongst my writers groups. How is a person expected to condense a 300 page paranormal romance novel into 2 pages? How can we cover all the threads, explain our amazing characters, tell the full story, and be clever while doing so?
We stress about the prospect of losing an opportunity based on the quality of our synopsis. No agent/publisher can possibly understand the greatness of our paranormal romance novel without reading the full manuscript. However, in defense of a synopsis, it does have a place in the game of submission.
A great friend of mine shared a secret she heard from an agent about synopses. 'All you need is a great conflict (internal and external) and make sure that within your synopsis (and your paranormal romance novel) you can arrive at the end having resolved them without straying from course—and don’t worry about being so clever.' In other words, make sure that you can take you story from point A to point B without straying to Z.
A great tool to help your synopsis and your paranormal romance novel, is writing an outline as you work. At the top of your outline state your intended goal (i.e. your pitch/kernel idea). As you write, update your outline with a SINGLE SENTENCE stating the key characters, setting, and the motivation of each chapter. When you are done, make sure that what you have written is moving you towards your paranormal romance novel’s goal.
If you are past the point of writing you can still use this tool, simply go back and as you read your work, name the characters, setting, and motivation. When you get done you will have an outline for your synopsis. All you will need to do is fill in the holes and your synopsis will be a complete representation of your paranormal romance novel.
When you are done writing your paranormal romance synopsis, read your synopsis out loud to a mirror or a willing victim, I mean friend. Is your work succinct? Does it make sense? Is it interesting? Does it tell the external and internal conflicts, and the resolution of said conflicts? When you have an acceptable final draft (let's face it--perfect is close to impossible), add it to your paranormal romance submission packet. Then have a glass of shiraz.
Wishing you the best of luck in submitting your paranormal romance novel,