This was the first question from a Snarkling, posted in the comments section:
I have a question that relates to both this post and the previous one about following directions. Sometimes an agent requests a synopsis to accompany the chapters, but rarely do they specify how long it should be. When I was querying, I cheated my way around this by repeating the one-paragraph summary from my query in the cover letter, and letting that suffice as a synopsis. But for snarklings more interested in following the rules, how long should a synopsis be, if the agent doesn't specify?
In response to that comment was this from a second Snarkling:
Short synopsis - 2-3 pages
Long synopsis - I think its 3-5 pages for every 10-15K words?
Or some ratio like that. There are websites dedicated to what should be in the short and long synopsis. I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I know I've seen them. Google is your friend.
if you ever send me five page synopsis for every 15K words I'll toss it unread.
3-5 is the MAX no matter how long your novel is. And no cheating by using 5pt fonts and .25 inch margins.
Synopsis are not a blow for blow recitation of the plot. It's major points, turning points, character description and development and it's SHORT.
I hate them. I've yet to see one that's any good; I've seen about three that don't suck, and those were from writers who have a string of publiciations and thus lots of practice.
A synopsis is just a totally weird form. It's like haiku on steroids. Everything that makes you a good writer works against you for writing a good synopsis. I've just thrown in the towel on reading them until after I've signed a project. Then I tinker with them myself in case an editor wants to see it...and much to my dismay they sometimes do.
Anyway...3-5 pages max.
Now, off to find the peacock feathers, body paint and green stiletto slides for my Halloween costume.