Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Synopsis 9

DYLAN O’Leary, a flighty sixth grader, has two fantasies. 1) To meet her father. [Why hasn't she met him?] 2) To talk with animals. She never imagined her dreams would come true.

How could she possibly know that crazy red bird, CARDINAL RICHELIEU (RICH), opens a wormhole at the exact moment two dogs push her and JAKE, her braniac best friend, into Lake Michigan during that terrifying earthquake? She couldn’t converse with animals before, and now, they won’t shut up. When Dylan, Jake, and the dogs emerge onto the hidden, treasure-filled islands of Animalia, the mind-blowing surprises keep coming. [These sentences are out of order. It's after she emerges onto Animalia that animals won't shut up, right?]

They soon learn that they’ve been called by KING RAJ III (RAJ) to perform a task these totally advanced, and oftentimes freakish, creatures cannot. They must stop Black Eagle Group (B.E.G.) from discovering the islands. [What makes Raj think the Black Eagles are going to discover Animalia?] If they fail, criminals will become the richest powers on the planet and rule our world. Dylan and Jake realize they aren’t just protecting Animalia’s secrets. They must save humanity. [Even if becoming wealthy did allow criminals to rule the world, I wouldn't go so far as to claim this would be the end of humanity. Criminals rule the world now and humanity is hanging in there.]

Before Dylan and Jake set off on their task, Raj arms them with a magical potion made from Calawacadoza flowers, giving them any animal’s traits they desire. In the middle of the Indian Ocean, Dylan lures B.E.G. with treasures, convincing them, she and Jake are rich American
kids they can hold for ransom. Then, Dylan introduces the men to Jake’s dogs, who now have peacock-colored eagle wings and glow in the dark eyes. It’s a dream come true for these evil men who’ll do anything from kidnapping to animal poaching to make a buck. [That seems like small potatoes when you're on the verge of world domination. You didn't see SPECTRE or THRUSH or KAOS poaching animals. A truly great criminal organization has to have standards.]

Meanwhile, unknown to Dylan, CATHERINE, her mom, arrives to Animalia with Rich and sees DR. BILL, Dylan’s father, for the first time in ten years. [No explanation of what her father's doing on Animalia? Is there anyone who doesn't know how to get here besides B.E.G.? If they're trying to keep the place secret, they might want to avoid turning it into a tourist resort.]

On the journey back to Animalia, things don’t go as planned. A dog is wounded, a man’s shot dead, and one of their captors explains he’s also a victim of B.E.G. [Leave out or explain.] Dylan and Jake quickly realize their powers can backfire [How did their powers backfire?] and panic sets in when they grasp the seriousness of their situation. [I missed something. Dylan tried to lure B.E.G. into kidnaping her. Did they kidnap her? Is she leading them back to Animalia? Shouldn't she be leading them away from Animalia?]

They must fulfill their mission by using powers found deep within themselves.

As their boat beaches onto the shores of Animalia like a dying whale, [No need to use metaphors in a synopsis.] Dylan remembers she has extra potions and tricks B.E.G.’s leader into drinking one, turning him into a baby orangutan. [The potion gives you whatever animal traits you desire. Did the B.E.G. leader desire to be a baby orangutan?] Jake, with his newfound bravery, confesses his true feelings for Dylan. And Catherine introduces Dylan to her father. The task is a success, dreams came true, and humanity is safe…for now.


The synopsis beaches itself like a dying whale. Presumably, to make the 400-word limit, you made massive cuts in the closing, rather than choose areas throughout the synopsis that weren't essential. Do we need to know there was an earthquake at the time the wormhole was opened? Or that Raj III is also known as Raj? No need to tell us Jake is a brainiac if you never mention anything brainy that he does. Here's a slightly shorter version of the opening few paragraphs:


Sixth grader DYLAN O’Leary has two fantasies: to meet her father, who disappeared shortly after Dylan was born; and to talk with animals. She never imagines her dreams will come true. But then, how could she have known that crazy red bird CARDINAL RICHELIEU would open a wormhole in Lake Michigan? Or that her friend Jake's dogs would push her and Jake into it?

When Dylan and Jake emerge onto the treasure-filled islands of Animalia, the mind-blowing surprises keep coming. The islands are populated by totally advanced--and freakish--talking creatures. Dylan couldn’t converse with animals before, but now they won’t shut up.

Turns out the kids have been summoned by KING RAJ III to perform a task these creatures cannot. The criminal Black Eagle Group (B.E.G.) is close to discovering the islands. If they succeed, they will become the richest power on the planet. Dylan and Jake must stop them, armed with a magical potion made from Calawacadoza flowers, giving them any animal’s traits they desire.

In the middle of the Indian Ocean, Dylan lures B.E.G. with treasures, convincing them she and Jake are rich American kids they can hold for ransom. Dylan introduces the men to Jake’s dogs, who now have peacock-colored eagle wings and glow-in-the-dark eyes. It’s a dream come true for these evil men who’ll do anything from kidnaping to animal poaching to make a buck.


At this point tell us what happens. Do the men kidnap the kids and demand they take them to Animalia? Is that what Dylan was hoping? Is there a trap set on Animalia? Do the kids use the traits of animals to defeat the villains? Details? Has Dylan's father been on Animalia all along? Is his name really Dr. Bill, or is it Dr. Moreau?

5 comments:

blogless_troll said...

This sounds fun, but I would definitely use EE's version and continue from there.

Also, and this is nitpicky I know, but DYLAN may have never thought her dreams would come true, or never believed her dreams would come true, but I don't believe for a second she never imagined they would. It's one of the fundamental reasons for having dreams--imagining they'll someday come true. That's one of those little things that sounds wrong when you read it, even if you don't immediately know why. And when a few of them add up, you lose credibility.

Robin S. said...

This reads like something my girls would've enjoyed reading when they were younger. I remember feeling the same about the query, but I had questions.

The way EE reorganized the info put most of the story in perspective, but I still have a question - how do they get from Lake Michigan to the Indian Ocean - is there an underwater passageway through the earth?

And there is the question of how the others found Animalia. I know these questions are hard to address in 400 words- I'm just wondering.

I like the bird's name.

And this was a good one from EE -
"Criminals rule the world now and humanity is hanging in there.]"

BuffySquirrel said...

Preventing the B.E.G. discovering Animalia feels like a nebulous goal to me. How can Dylan be sure they won't discover it some time in the future? Does she convince them all it doesn't exist? Just removing their leader from power doesn't feel like enough.

Khazar-khum said...

Maybe the BEG is a setup for a series--every book Dylan has to thwart BEG again, like Bond & SPECTRE.

S.L. Hastings said...

Thanks, guys. I'm in China and it is very difficult for me to post from here as all the menu options are in Chinese and the "broadband" is very slow. All your comments have really helped--especially EE's input. The story is set up to become a potential series...