Thank you for acknowledging the conflicting advice! I have been reading so many different articles, all purporting to be addressing the same piece of writing yet describing completely different results. It has been frustrating beyond belief trying to figure out which advice to follow. To have you acknowledge and clarify the two different approaches has been immensely helpful. Ironically, I only found your post after suffering through an initial attempt at writing my synopsis and looking for advice on formatting the conglomerate result. Now I know better how to go back and edit it. Thank you!
So, once you’ve written both, which do you submit? If you think your short synopsis is tight and effective, always use that. However, if you think the long synopsis is actually more effective, then you will sometimes submit one and sometimes submit the other. If an agent requests two pages max, send only the short one. If she says simply, “Send a synopsis,” and you feel your longer synopsis is superior, submit the long one. If you’re writing plot-heavy fiction, such as thrillers and mysteries, you might really benefit from submitting a longer, more thorough synopsis.
[…] Jane Friedman writes in her excellent blog post about writing-the-synopsis: “The synopsis ensures character actions and motivations are realistic and make sense. A synopsis will reveal any big problems in your story—., the whole thing was a dream, ridiculous acts of god, a genre romance ending in divorce. A synopsis will reveal plot flaws, serious gaps in character motivation, or a lack of structure. A synopsis also can reveal how fresh your story is; if there’s nothing surprising or unique, your manuscript may not get read.” She lists these basic principles: […]