Thanks for all your comments yesterday. And glad to see the synopsis for BBBB was helpful. I had planned to post the revision email I got today, but I haven't heard back from my ed (probably extremely busy reading submissions so we can't blame her) and I don't want to post her words without getting her permission.
But, I can say that a lot of the changes the ed asked for weren't in the synopsis (perhaps a clue right there that they had no business being in the book!!).
And that the main changes were all to do with tightening the story up, tailoring it to Modern Heat and keeping the focus on Monroe and Jesse's relationship.
What to Put and Not to Put in Your Synopsis:
What I find more interesting though when reading the synopsis for BBBB is all the scenes that I didn't describe in it. The scene where Monroe tells Jesse about his past (his mother's abuse and the fact that he was raped as a teenager in jail). The scene where she sees his art for the first time and tells him he has to make a career out of it. The scene where they have a picnic on the beach and Monroe discovers she has always dreamed about having what her sister Ali has (and he becomes starkly aware that he can never give that to her).
Why didn't I describe them? Simple, in a 2-page (or even 1-page) synopsis there isn't space. But what I did do was reference the conflict and/or character development that took place in those scenes.
What you have to do when deciding what to describe and what not to describe in your synopsis is look at every single scene in your story (or if you haven't written the story yet, just visualise the basic plot development during the course of your story) and then look at how your hero and heroine and their relationship has developed in each scene (or plot point) and/or how their conflict is changing (ie: being confronted or resolved) and then summarise those changes/devlopments in the narrative of your synopsis.
Making Your Synopsis Work for You:
The synopsis (quite apart from giving an ed the low-down on your story) can also be a brilliant tool for you when it comes to structuring and pacing your story.
One thing to look out for when writing your synopsis is scenes where nothing much happens. They could be scenes which concentrate on secondary characters too much (like my icky birth scene!!), or don't tell us anything significant about the H & H or their relationship, or they may be scenes that go over old ground and repeat information you've already given the reader in another scene. If you find those scenes, take a good, long look at them and decide if they're really necessary. And be ruthless. Because if they're not doing anything they could seriously slow the pace (however sparky and sexy the dialogue or beautifully written they are).
Another way to make your synopsis work for you is to make sure that you've got all the scenes you need to show rather than tell the story of your conflict. By working out who your hero and heroine are, what their conflict is and how it is going to be resolved you are clarifying the structure of your book.
Think of the synopsis as a road map, so that when you come to write the book, you know exactly what every single scene needs to achieve. Or as a revision tool if you've already written the book, to tell you which scenes are not working or which scenes you have to add.
One thing I always look out for now in my writing is scenes where I've got a third party keeping the conflict moving in the right direction (say a villainous step-sister who reveals to the heroine that the hero's illegitimate) or a random external conflict that keeps the plot moving (like a marriage of convenience for no good reason other than that I had a great scene with an Elvis impersonator in mind).
So my final bit of advice is, when writing a synopsis, keep an eye out for any random Elvis Impersonators.