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red pens at the ready - synopsis support please?

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red pens at the ready - synopsis support please?

Postby pixibubbles » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:27 pm

Hey guys,

Was wondering if anyone would do me a readover of a synopsis and tell me what you think. For UK submission, so would be going with cover letter too.

It's only a rough draft I pulled together yesterday, so probably still some way to go.

Brutal and honest is the preferred approach! I'm a pro writer by day, so am used to heavy fire critique where needed!

And if anyone has any similar blips - always happy to help x

Here goes:

Ever Yours is a love story with a difference. Most love stories start when boy and girl meet, and follow them through whatever obstacles they have to overcome before riding off into the sunset. Ever Yours starts long after the sunset. Long after white lace and hopeful promises, and children and everything else life can throw at you. In fact, Ever Yours starts after the ultimate after. After death.
Jenn and David met when they were at college. They promised to grow old with each other and spend their lives together. But 'death do us part' came a lot sooner than either had planned when Jenn is killed in car crash.
David's left devastated and torn apart by guilt. He blames himself for the accident, and is filled with anger that he can't understand. To him, a world without Jenn is too painful to live in.
And Jenn, well... death doesn't turn out to be exactly what she had expected. She finds herself trapped in an empty grey place, with nothing to do except watch helplessly as her husband and grown up children struggle to deal with her untimely death. Jenn tries to reach to them, desperate to help heal the gaping wounds that she's left, but she's pushed away by their grief, anger and pain. She watches helplessly as her husband pushes away their children, and slips into depression.
It's not until David nearly collapses from exhaustion that Jenn's finally able to make him aware of her presence, and she starts to understand why she hasn't moved on. She realises that she's been given a chance to help her family let go of their pain and move back to the happy, fulfilled lives they were meant to have.
On the day of Jenn's funeral, the church is overflowing with friends and family wanting to say their goodbyes. Her family draw strength from the knowledge that so many people loved her, and as their pain subsides, Jenn finds her strength growing. She's able to reach further into the living world and make tiny changes that improve the lives of the people she loved, making sure that they smile more, and hurt less.
At first it's only tiny, subtle little things that she's able to do. Like leaving pure white feathers or easing their sleep and dreams. Her family don't know or understand that the tiny changes are Jenn, but it makes them smile anyway. Their brief smiles are enough to convince Jenn that she's doing the right thing, and she refuses to cross over into the light.
With her guidance and help, her children do better than Jenn could have hoped. Her daughter's career takes off, while her son starts a family of his own. But David struggles, alone in a world that's full of reminders of Jenn.
One morning he finds himself wandering back to the park where Jenn had eagerly watched for the first signs of growing daffodils every year. But instead of finding the tiny green shoots he'd hoped for, he's horrified to discover diggers tearing up the ground. Something inside him snaps, and he buys the thousands of daffodil bulbs from the site foreman, not quite knowing what to do with them. Fortunately a friend has the answer, and a few days later the bulbs are planted in a memorial garden dedicated to Jenn.
David struggles to move on, preferring his memories to real life. Jenn comes to understand that by being with him, she's trapping David in the past. She realises he needs more than just a ghostly presence and memories to be truly happy. He needs someone who can make him laugh again, and someone he can focus all his love and passion on.
Despite the pain it causes her, Jenn finds the ideal person. Her name is Ruth, a local nurse who's a recent widow. In an act of good humoured mischief, Jenn decides they should meet in less than usual circumstances. A water leak in one road detours Ruth into David's path, and a slight nudge rolls a forgotten daffodil bulb under David's brake peddle. He literally runs into the back of Ruth. But rather than being angry, she takes the accident in good humour and laughs at the chain of event that brought them together. They soon become good friends.
Despite David's best intentions, he finds himself attracted to Ruth. At first he's overcome by guilt at the thought of dishonouring Jenn's memory, but Jenn has other ideas. She knows that Ruth's friendship has helped David to heal, and she brings them back together.
The daffodils in the memorial garden start to grow, and appear in Jenn's world too. Soon they grow into a field of glowing, golden daffodils that were planted with love strong enough to reach past death and draw Jenn back into the living world, if only for a few moments.
She finds David sitting in the real-world memorial garden, and can finally ease the guilt he's been carrying around for so long. Jenn gives her blessings for the blossoming relationship between David and Ruth. She and David are finally able to say their farewells, and they're both able to move on, carried by the knowledge that no matter what the future brings, they'll love each other forever.
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Re: red pens at the ready - synopsis support please?

Postby The Master » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:09 pm

Dropping a note to come back and read it again when I'm NOT New Years celebrating :)
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Re: red pens at the ready - synopsis support please?

Postby Asp Zelazny » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:11 pm

Well hello PixiB! I've read over your synopsis with red pen in hand (though that gets in the way when I type on the computer), and all there is, is just some nit-picking. But then, that's what I do best. I'll lay these out by line number, understanding that my computer display may be different than yours, but there you go.

Line 2: perhaps this should be "before they ride off into the sunset" -- as it is, it seems to suggest that it is the Love Stories riding off into etc.
Line 3: the idea that life "throws hopeful promises and children" sounds rather negative about those things. Perhaps if you delete the "else" the throwing part would more clearly refer to the more negative aspects rather than the allegedly good stuff too.
Line 6: David would be particularly dense if he cannot "understand" the anger ... unless it's important to the story arc, a better term might be "overcome"?
Line 11: With the comma at "children, and" it creates an ambiguity -- is it Jenn or David that slips into the depression? Without the comma, it is more clearly David.
Line 14: This is more of a logical issue -- all the psychodynamics you have described up to this point are all very natural, and part of the normal mourning process, unless this has been going on a long time. As it seems from what you have written in the synopsis, everything prior has happened before the funeral. Unless the funeral is signficantly delayed for some reason, the more usual 1 -- 5 days from death to interment is just too short for what you've described to be described as pathologic or harmful anger, withdrawl, or depression. There needs to be something more (IMO) if Jenn feels forced to intervene after such a brief period.
Line 19: the little interventions aren't Jenn, they are from Jenn
Line 24: it may be a regionalism, but "diggers" strikes me as a choice of words not on par with the rest of your writing (maybe: backhoe, excavation crew?)
Line 34: "best" intentions doesn't seem right here ... the things holding him back have been described as harmful to himself, to his family, and to Jenn. Best is the wrong word.

As I said: nit-picking. The story flows well, and could have emotional impact. Fits in the genre with the movie "Ghost" and maybe even the old TV series "Topper" (whatever that genre might be called) ... and those were very well received.

Good to see you back, BTW. It's apparent that you've been busy since you were last here in 2011. You never did tell us though ... what ever happened with the synopsis you sent out for your fantasy novel, the one featuring Kinaria Mairenn?
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Re: red pens at the ready - synopsis support please?

Postby pixibubbles » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:00 am

thanks for the crit!
I think I'm still going to have a bit more of a play. I agree with your comments, and looking at them, I'm thinking some of my synopsis is a little too passive - I also think the first paragraph might be better placed in a cover letter as a hook, as I've got another start idea.

Great memory (or back post checking!)

Sadly Kinarya didn't get much more than polite no thank yous and 'not looking for anything in that genre' right now responses. Rather than commit to smaller scale e-publishing I decided to tuck her and Davin away until I worked out what to do/the genre picks up interest and look at something more commercial - IE Ever Yours.

I have been mad busy too. One new job (as a Charity Writer no less), new job for hubby too, and lots of work being done around the house! Plus as you can see, a new novel. In between the usual life stuff lol

Am going to have to have a wander around and get reacquainted with everyone now
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Re: red pens at the ready - synopsis support please?

Postby pixibubbles » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:30 pm

What do you think of version 2?

Death isn't quite what Jenn had expected. But then again, she hadn't really expected to experience it so soon. She hadn't been old or sick, or into dangerous hobbies like jumping off bridges. She was just really unlucky.

But possibly not as unlucky as her husband, David. He'd been the one driving when their car had been smashed off the road, and now he can't see how he's ever going to overcome the guilt of surviving when Jenn didn't. He's filled with anger that he can't even begin to understand, and he's directing it at all the wrong people. Including their grown up children, Matty and Lottie.

But Jenn's not much better off. Instead of an after life full of fluffy clouds and angels, she finds herself stuck in a grey, empty world with nothing to do except watch her family fall apart in the aftermath of her death. It may as well be hell. It feels like it to Jenn.

David slips into depression, and fears that he's losing his mind, although is too scared to talk to anyone about it. He loses interest in everything that used to matter to him, and struggles with even the simplest of tasks. Matty watches the agony his Father is going through in terror, and starts to pull away from his long-term girlfriend, convinced that it's the only way he can prevent himself from ever experiencing so much hurt. Lottie, still the baby of the family even in her twenties, is completely lost. She has no idea how to bring the remnants of her family back together.

Through all this, Jenn is forced to watch helplessly. She tries to reach her family, desperate to help heal the gaping wounds that she's left, but she's pushed away by their grief, anger and pain.

It's not until David nearly collapses from exhaustion that Jenn's finally able to make him aware of her presence. She comes to understand that instead of moving on, she's been given a chance to help her family let go of their pain and move back to the happy, fulfilled lives they were meant to have.

At first it's only tiny, subtle little things that she's able to do. Like leaving pure white feathers, or filling the house with fragrance, and easing David's dreams. Her family don't know that the tiny changes come from Jenn, but they smile anyway. And this is enough to convince Jenn that she's doing the right thing. As her family’s pains starts to subside, Jenn finds her strength growing, and she's able to reach David. He's thrilled to have her back, even if it's just as a ghostly presence who can fill his mind with warmth and peace. But when he tries to tell Matty and Lottie, they worry that their Dad's lost his mind, and beg him to see a doctor. He's prescribed anti-depressants strong enough to temporarily sever his link with Jenn.

But while Jenn can't be with her husband, she can be with her children. Her presence in the real world continues to grow stronger until Lottie accidentally manages to photograph Jenn's ghostly image. That, and the appearance of Jenn's engagement ring in Matty's pocket in answer to a question he never asked anyone else, convinces them both that their Dad isn't going mad after all. And once they both accept her presence, Jenn is able to help them even more. Over the course of a year, her children do better than Jenn could have hoped. Her son starts a family of his own, while her daughter's photography career takes off.

But even off the drugs, David struggles. He feels alone in a world that's full of reminders of his loss. One morning he finds himself in the park where Jenn had watched for the first signs of daffodils each year. But instead of green shoots, David's horrified to find workmen tearing up the ground. Something inside him snaps, and he rescues the thousands of daffodils, not knowing what he plans to do with them. Fortunately a friend has the answer, and a few days later the bulbs are planted in a memorial garden dedicated to Jenn.

David still struggles to move on, preferring his memories to real life. Jenn comes to understand they're trapping each other in the past, and neither can move on. In a final, unselfish act of love, she realises what David really needs is someone in his life who can make him laugh again. Someone he can focus his love and passion on, instead of just her ghostly presence and memory.

Despite the pain it causes her, Jenn finds the ideal person. Her name is Ruth, a local nurse who's a widow herself. In an act of good humoured mischief, Jenn decides they should meet in less than usual circumstances. A water leak in one road detours Ruth into David's path, and a slight nudge rolls a forgotten daffodil bulb under David's brake peddle. He literally runs into the back of Ruth. But rather than being angry, she takes the accident in good humour and laughs at the chain of events that brought them together. As their friendship deepens, David comes back to life before Jenn's eyes.

Despite David's best intentions, he finds himself attracted to Ruth. He hates himself for the sexual attraction between them and is overcome by guilt at the thought of dishonouring Jenn. He cuts off all contact with Ruth, and slips back into depression. But Jenn has other ideas. She knows Ruth's friendship has helped David heal, and she brings them back together by getting Ruth's attention in a way that can't be ignored.

The memorial garden daffodils start to grow, and they appear in Jenn's world too. Soon they grow into a field of glowing, golden daffodils that were planted with love strong enough to reach past death and draw Jenn back into the living world, if only for a few moments. Jenn finds David sitting in the real-world memorial garden. They're able to talk one last time, and she can ease the guilt he's been carrying around since her death, and give her blessings for his relationship with Ruth. They're finally able to say their farewells, and they're both able to move on, both knowing that they'll love each other forever and always.
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Re: red pens at the ready - synopsis support please?

Postby Bmat » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:30 pm

I can see this in finished version in the romance genre. I'd like to have it delve more deeply somehow. To gather thousands of bulbs, by the way, would be a task- They would either need to be already in piles so that he could shovel them into maybe a trash bag, or he would need a a couple days to rake them out of the dirt and then shovel them. Perhaps the collecting of the bulbs could be made parallel to his remembering his life with Jenn and the planting and growing watched as his healing begins. There just needs to be more depth to the story. I'm not sure that Jenn's presence is needed, although the daffodils appearing in her world, too, is touching. Perhaps as David heals, her world can also become more heaven-like, or more serene, pleasant, sweet, and she could fade more from the earthly plane. I am not a fan of present tense to tell stories, but this is a personal preference. Good luck with your story.
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