This is the first draft I completed of my synopsis. As I mentioned in my post on querying, given the difficulty in reducing (what was then) 480 pages of content down to a 2-page overview, when I first sat down to begin the task of summarizing my novel, I determined that the best course of action was to start with more of an old-school version of the document, using a simple one-paragraph-per-chapter approach. What you see below was the result. From here, I would then revise multiple times, combining paragraphs, cutting detail, and “pulling the lens back” with each subsequent iteration, until I finally had the finished product. Tedious as this process was, it made what seemed an impossible project possible (and had the added benefit of helping me improve the pacing of my novel, as it showed me that a number of my chapters were far too long as originally written).
Needless to say, by its very nature THIS SYNOPSIS IS THE ULTIMATE SPOILER;* even if you only skim the document, there is a very good chance it will ruin every last twist and turn in my novel, despite the changes I implemented afterwards. Furthermore, it can only provide exemplary value if you are already familiar with the manuscript. For these reasons (not to mention the fact that such a bare bones point-by-point description of the plot is bound to be about as interesting as an entry in a police blotter), readers may want to ignore this sample completely; and authors – I would encourage you at the very least to read the original first section of my book before you dig in.
*As with the finished product, I drafted this document based on the ORIGINAL draft of my manuscript that I sent it out during the querying process. Consequently, it varies significantly in certain places, both in terms of actual content and where that content appears, from the plot of the most current iteration. Nevertheless, it remains useful as an example of how to begin a synopsis with a detailed summary and then cull it down to a version that would be appropriate for sharing with literary agents.