Synopsesesssssss, we hates them! Curse them and crush them!
But then I had to write two in a row, with no time to procrastinate. I still don't like them, but I no longer fear them. Why?
Because I found an algorithm.
STEP #1: Plan the story. Or write it, in the case where you're writing a synopsis after the draft. Either way works, but writing the synopsis before the draft makes it easier to condense things, I think.
STEP #2: Write the Crappy Synopsis. Just write everything that happens, in whatever order you think of it. Always telling, never bothering to show unless you happen to think of it that way. Always remember: no one will ever see this version.
STEP #3: Make a list of Main Events. Use the Crappy Synopsis as a guide. Just write a sentence or two per event. Try to pick events that are critical (and skip events that are merely transitional), but don't worry if you get too many.
STEP #4: Make a list of Condensed Events. In a new document, take the Main Events list and condense it. Delete every event you can (meaning the synopsis still makes sense without it). Combine the events that you can almost-but-not-quite delete into other critical events.
REPEAT STEP #4 until your list is about as long as you want the synopsis to be. For me, that's usually 2-3 pages. Keep in mind that what appears "critical" in novel form may not be necessary to understand the synopsis. You can cut a lot more than you think you can.
Then again, I like cutting better than adding.
STEP #5: Write the Friggin' Synopsis. Use the Condensed Events List as your guide. This is usually the hard part, but for me, by the time I got here, I was mostly turning each list item into its own paragraph. It was like magic.
STEP #6: Revise. Make it sound good. Make it flow. Add voice where you can.
And that's it! Will it work for you? Heck, I don't know. All I know is my agent liked both of my synopses and now I don't have to write one for a while.
Hm, maybe that's why I don't hate them at the moment.