If you are having problems with your plot and find that your story is meandering all over the place with no real purpose you may benefit from writing a personal synopsis.
This does not mean writing pages and pages of detail, outlining the whole story before you begin. A synopsis can be a few simple sentences, or a couple of paragraphs that sketches the timeline of the beginning, middle and end of your story. This is not the same as the synopsis you use when submitting your work to agents and editors. A submission synopsis is usually written when you have finished the book and should outline the main plot points including the ending.
A personal synopsis should be the kind notes that serve as memory joggers.
Often beginner writers do not think the entire story through. They start on a high with a brilliant idea but then they hit a cul-de-sac. An outline synopsis will ensure you have a clear idea of where your characters are going and what their problems are. Ask yourself: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.
Having an ending for the main plot line in mind that you can aim for will keep you on the road to complete your novel, picture book, short story or non-fiction book. Giving yourself a rough framework to work to prevents you from being tempted to go off on a tangent and will help to avoid a weak and coincidental conclusion.
A fiction submission synopsis should also include the 6 W’s. Yes, I know How does not begin with a W but… anyway! It should also give an agent or editor an indication of your unique selling point, whether it is your character, your voice, setting or even scientific / historical / mythological connections.
A non-fiction synopsis is totally different and for editors and agents it is more of a book proposal than a synopsis.