To start off, here is the first part of the plot summary/synopsis of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” off the Wikipedia page:
“The Old Man and the Sea is the story of a battle between an old, experienced fisherman, Santiago, and a large marlin. The novel starts by telling the reader that Santiago has gone 84 days without catching a fish, considered "salao", the worst form of unluckiness. He is so unlucky that his young apprentice, Manolin, has been forbidden by his parents to sail with him and been told to, instead, fish with successful fishermen. The boy visits Santiago's shack each night, hauling his fishing gear, preparing food, talking about American baseball and his favorite player Joe DiMaggio. Santiago tells Manolin that on the next day, he will venture far out into the Gulf Stream, north of Cuba in the Straits of Florida to fish, confident that his unlucky streak is near its end…”
Now, if you know the rest of the story and know it well, you’ll agree that that this is not just another fishing story. Sure, a quick read of this story would leave you to believe just that, but a close reading of it will reveal to you an epic tale about our Faith in God. The villagers back in the town could be interpreted as heathens. The boy was told by his folks to look not to the Old Man Santiago, but other more “successful” fisherman in town for mentorship or leadership. But he never lost faith. In the Old Man. His faith in the Santiago was unrelenting so he was compelled to hang on every word the Old Man spoke. And how that the Old Man prove that there IS a God? The bones of the marlin/Jesus was towed back by him to prove that He does exist, that’s how.
The book is small--only 127 pages long but it speaks volumes about Man’s struggle to find God, including his struggle against the force of nature as well (There is Christ imagery throughout the entire book by the way). One idea that I learned from my writing professor in college is to read a few dust jackets of books to get a feel for how a synopsis should read. Notice that the doing so compels you invest the time to reading or buying the book! And that’s exactly what your goal should be when writing your synopsis. All a synopsis really is in actuality is a formal summary of what your book is about. Just think about it real-life terms:
Friend: Oh yeah? What’s it about?
Me: Well, it’s basically about this company, In-Gen, who are able to extract dinosaur DNA from pre-historic mosquitoes encapsulated in amber which they in turn use to recreate living dinosaurs for this “amusement park” located on an island off the coast of Costa Rica.
Friend: Really? I think it’s already be done. In the end, a lot of people get eaten and the protagonist barely Me: So, I’m just about finished with my book.
escapes with his life.
Just don’t think too much about this. Just keep on reading other people’s dust jackets and synopses and you’ll get it.