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synopsis support please?

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synopsis support please?

Postby pixibubbles » Sun Oct 30, 2011 6:59 pm


I'm hoping for some input on my synopsis.

Everything I write just seems to suck all the life, colour and interest out of the book. i've read every synopsis guide going and googled what feels like the whole www looking for examples to inspire me and the best i could find were- well, lets say the books probably wouldn't be published here due to their adult nature content. Basically they didn't help much.

Thanks again for the replies and advice.

This is version ... who know's anymore? I've lost count, but it's as near as I've managed to get to one I'm happy with. I think the length is about right (one page, single space, 1 inch border, Times 12). I've not done a full edit yet- need time away from it first, but would appreciate any suggested improvements, as I suspect it's not there yet.

Oh yeah, and I'm submitting in the UK so it's usually cover letter (shouldn't be anywhere near this hard!) plus synopsis plus first 50 pages. If that helps at all.




Kinaria Mairenn is uniquely gifted, even among the fey. She is the only one of nymphkind who has magical ties to every element, and can create the gateway to step between the worlds. And the human and fey worlds have been separated for too long. Both are suffering as magic dies in one world and war spreads throughout the other like a plague. The only chance for their healing and survival rests on Naria's shoulders, who must follow her destiny into the human world. The first of her kind to step into it since the end of the Bloody Wars over three centuries before.

Her magic draws her north across the ocean to Chinrea, a country where women are oppressed and forbidden to hold power or practise magic on pain of burning at the stake. The only person willing to offer her passage is the eccentric trader Sern Teller, a woman forced to disguise herself as a man to avoid Chinrean politics. Her ship carries valuable herbs and medicines- a cargo which proves too tempting. They come under magical and physical attack from raiders, and Naria is forced to go against her very nature and use her magic to kill the attackers and save herself and the crew. They survive and limp into port, but Naria is driven to the edge of sanity by the knowledge of that she has tainted her magic by using it to kill.

Chinrea is teetering on the brink of a vicious and bloody war with the neighbouring Valnornese, with only the tiny country of Morrellon standing between them to prevent it. All transports have been stopped by bandits and Sern has no way to get her cargo to her buyers in the borderlands, leaving her and Naria stranded in an oppressive society where Naria's life is put at risk by her true identity.

They are approached by a group of religious healers who were also bound to the borderlands before becoming stranded. Their ability to travel unhindered- for none would strike against a healer- and the skills of Sern and her crew make an alliance the natural option. But their journey is plagued by trouble and attacks which force Naria to use her magic again and brings her closer to Davin. They later become lovers which, although neither know it, will lead Naria to the completion of her destiny and Wyrd as she falls pregnant.

Capturing one of the bandits, Sern learns the attacks are Chinrean in origin and caused by treasonous saboteurs. They identify them as the new Lord Thiolis who strips his own lands and abuses his people to live in luxury, and the banished Valnornese mage Kazeer Ulixes, who corrupted his healing skills to kill people agonisingly, and has created an explosive black powder that “harnesses the power of lightening” to control the region and force the men into a personal army.

They realise the only way to ensure the healers and supplies will arrive in time to support the Morrellon army long enough for reinforcements to arrive and prevent all out war is to put an immediate end to the sabotage. Naria, Sern and Davin break away from the others, infiltrating the city and gaining the Lord's trust, learning the despicable truth about the actions of him and his pet mage, while plotting their downfall.

While Sern brings the anger and hate felt across the region to a head and leads an angry rebellion against Thiolis, Naria and Davin attack and kill Kazeer, destroying all stockpiles of black powder. Thiolis is forced into hiding and peace quickly returns to the region and the surrounding lands.

Six months after the rebellion Naria and Davin are living happily in a Morrellon village and eagerly anticipating the birth of their daughter, but Thiolis reappears desperate for revenge and lures Naria into a deadly trap. She is mortally wounded and Davin and Sern are led to believe that both Naria and her baby are dead. But at the moment when she should have died, the star that touched her at her birth, gifting her with magic and marking her, reaches out to her again, transporting her back to the fey realm, and making her journey complete. But her daughter's is just beginning as she is adopted by a minor local lord.
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Re: synopsis support please?

Postby Asp Zelazny » Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:58 pm

Makes for an interesting story. I'm not a writer, and have never done a synopsis for a possible publication, so I don't know the "rules" ... but I'll throw out a couple things that strike me in reading this. Whether they make any difference or not is really unclear, but I can't stop myself.

1st paragraph: when I came to "survival rests on Naria's shoulders" I had to stop and go back to the beginning: Wait, who is Naria ... oh, "KI-naria" that's it! But it made me break my flow of reading.

2nd paragraph: is it worth clarifying that when her magic draws her north etc, she has transitioned to the human world? Again, had to stop and decide ...

4th paragraph: the healers are stranded. But they have an "ability to travel unhindered" .... wait ... um?

5th paragraph: We were just learning about your characters becoming lovers; and then Sern captures a bandit! These events, I hope, are not connected. You also have Sern capturing the bandit (singular) and then "They" ... but we were speaking of Sern (singular) and one bandit. Who are "they"? and when detailing Ulixes, you say (it seems like) that the black powder not only controls the region, but also forces the men into a personal army. Perhaps changing it to "control the region, and forced the men" matching the past tense of "created" thus improving the parallel structures. And I thnk that it's Lightning rather than lightening, unless there is something different going on in these parallel worlds.

6th paragraph: ... "break away from the others, infiltrate the city and gain the Lord's trust, learn the ... actions of Thiols and his pet mage, and plot their downfall"
this creates tense agreement between "break away" and the other actions; and I personally feel that the construction of "about the actions of him" is either clumsy or wrong, though I can't site the rule.

The action is laid out very well, and seems to be a rousing story. Whether my suggestions have any real bearing on getting a look by a publishing house or not: haven't a clue. When they are evaluating a new writer with the synopsis, I'd guess (but only a guess) that they want the piece to flow without a break, and to show that their editors aren't going to have to spend way too much time matching tenses and pronouns in the text. The pieces that you have shown us here don't seem to really have those problems, so your synopsis shouldn't make them worry.

But then, maybe that's not what a publisher looks for; I don't know. Maybe fantasy is more forgiving than my grammar teachers were. Or maybe the publishers are more interested in the ideas (that would be nice). But this is what I offer as something to think about. Good luck!
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Re: synopsis support please?

Postby SerinitysChild » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:14 am

I enjoyed reading your synopsis, and yes there are a few bobbles in it. Try to keep the flow in the paragraph going the same way while using previous names to keep it consistent. While I'm no expert in synopsis ( and I have a large stack of rejection letters to prove it ) running your words through a word processor with grimmer check might help. I know you've already done that, but the next time, read all the words instead of just the ones highlighted. I've made that mistake lots of times and finally got around to re re re re re re reading what I wrote, finding LOTS of mistakes that were not highlighted.

All in all, it's a story I'd be interested in reading.

Good luck with it.
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Re: synopsis support please?

Postby pixibubbles » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:34 pm

Thanks for the comments- sorry for the late reply. It's not that I don't appreciate them- I really do, just that I picked up the flu (the aches, shakes, fever and whole shebang.) Kinda flattened it me for a bit.

Have looked over it and tried to incorporate. Finally got it back from the tutor who likes it too... but he wanted something more, and I agree. it just doesn't do the story justice yet. In my eyes it reads too... dry I think. I don't look at it and get that little shiver like when I know something is good. Will be having another look- but might just have to bite the bullet and accept that maybe it's ok and really this is just me putting it off (as if I would lol)

but many thanks again x
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Re: synopsis support please?

Postby Asp Zelazny » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:21 pm

Good to see you back; was worried that we might have scared you away. I don't know ... a "grimmer" check sounds pretty, um, grim. Tell us if you've had luck with your submissions.
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Re: synopsis support please?

Postby pixibubbles » Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:04 am

I will, I will- although I've not submitted yet. I'm still playing to get a final good version. I just feel like it's all a bit- bleurgh still. Doesn't quite have the tone or magic of the book yet, but it will. I hope. i've set myself the deadline of this month to get it out. I think lol
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