Start With Plot
The sequence of main events in your plot should be included: The inciting incident, first plot point, mid-point, second plot point, climax and resolution. Be sure to mention any event(s) which oppose the main goal of the story and character. Though you might be tempted to leave the ending as a surprise, don’t do this in a synopsis. The agent(s) or publisher(s) need to know how your story ends to get a sense of how it works together from beginning to end.
Protagonist’s Character Arc
The protagonist not only has conflict externally but also internally through their emotional responses. This progression needs to be included in the plot stages as well. You may want to ask yourself: Who is your protagonist at the start of the story? What significant character traits stand out? How do they view themselves in their world? How are they thrust into the situation that forces them to change? How do they change and by how much? At the resolution, is your protagonist better off based on their choices? Is the reader satisfied?
Who are the character(s) in your story that are forcing your protagonist to change? How do the impact characters show the main character needs to change? Where do they come into the story and how are they different from your protagonist? What conflict is created so that this character forces the protagonist to change and do things differently? If the main character changes at the climax of the story, the impact character typically remains fixed in his ways. On the other hand, if the main character stays the same, the impact character may be forced to change. How do you show this?
Though there are often romantic relationships in stories that bring big change, it doesn’t have to be the only relationship that impacts your protagonist. For instance, it could be a romance, a hero and villain, mentor and apprentice, protagonist and themselves, etc. Regardless, the relationship between them will impact the emotional arc. So take a look at the beginning of the story and see how their relationships develop and change based on the challenges they face and choices they make. At the end of the story, how are they different and how does this challenge the protagonist?
Be clear on any major issues your characters tackle and how their character is tested to push for a moral or emotional struggle. Does your theme come through at points in your story? If these points are a crucial part of your novel, illustrate where in your story they most impact them.
After writing down all these elements, weave them together in a cohesive and comprehensive summary. Make sure it’s linear and follows your novel in a concise manner. Include all of these elements, and your synopsis will cover not only the events that make up the plot but also the emotional side of your novel.