Sometimes all you need is a nudge in the right direction.
After panicking and dreading the writing of my synopsis, and after writing a couple of terrible, long-winded drafts that broke every rule in terms of length, style, content and readability, all I really needed was a nice step by step guide. And I found it here.
Following each step described here, I now have a basic synopsis that just needs tightening and shortening slightly.
The same website has also yielded some great advice on titles – http://mslexia.co.uk/getpublished/pub_wkshop1.php – causing me to change mine from the boring/abstract Pictures of Love to the more specific (if still a bit predictable) Baby Blues and Wedding Shoes.
Now I just need to work on my first chapter. I am certain it wouldn’t pass Miss Snark’s Crap-o-meter, discovered at another great (and sadly discontinued) blog:
Miss Snark has also done a Crap-o-meter on synopsis writing, so I can check the quality of mine against an agent’s idea of excellent (or crap!).
Finally I found some lovely words of advice and encouragement on Billie Jo’s blog, here:
Hurrah for the web.