Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Synopsis 23

Synopsis: Child of the Dark Court

Elora has spent the past decade of her life planning to overthrow the High Faerie Courts. She has gathered together the embittered servants of the Dark Court. [Where has she gathered them?] She’s even come up with a plan to bind her mother, the Dark Queen. But in order to put her plan into action, she needs the help of her mother’s loathed enemy, the Queen of the Bright Court.

The Bright Queen agrees to help Elora, on one condition: Elora must travel to the human world and gain the trust of a human. [The queen of one of the Faerie courts agrees to help Elora overthrow the Faerie courts? Elora, who's the daughter of her most loathed enemy? That's like Osama bin Laden's daughter asking President Obama for help in overthrowing the US government, and Obama says, "Okay, on one condition. Go to China and gain the trust of one person." Why would the Bright Queen agree to this? What does the Bright Queen care if Elora gains the trust of a human?] Elora is terrified; above all else, the Dark Faeries fear and despise humanity. But she cannot refuse the Bright Queen’s request if she hopes to lead her people to freedom. [She's the queen's daughter. Who are her people? The kitchen staff?] She agrees to go.

The first human Elora meets is seventeen-year-old Daren, a boy who has been suffering from problems of his own. Partially responsible for his younger brother’s death, he has spent the last three years living in the carriage house above his parents’ garage, to distance himself from his deteriorating family. When Elora hints that she has left her own family behind, he senses a kindred spirit, and feels compelled to take her in.

Elora agrees to Daren’s offer, for a time. She only needs to stay long enough to gain his trust. She even enrolls in his high school in an attempt to appear normal. And while she expects to hate every minute of the school day, she actually finds herself empathizing with humanity. Her feelings for Daren intensify every day. She begins to consider [In other words, she considers.] telling him who she really is. And when she befriends Kylie and Kevin, president and vice-president of the school’s gay/straight alliance, she discovers that the social inequality of high school closely resembles the social inequality in the Dark Court.

Soon she and Daren are gathering up the school’s outcasts, [Gathering people is her specialty.] reminding them of their collective power, and urging them to take control of the school. Her efforts come to fruition on prom night, when she leads a high school revolution against the students who tried to ban same-sex couples from the dance.

Suddenly the school’s carefully structured hierarchy is turned on its head. Kylie dances on stage with the prom queen. Elora reveals her true identity to Daren. [When you reveal to a friend that you aren't human, there's absolutely no chance you'll be believed. Try it sometime.] And strange creatures have infiltrated the dance, with incandescent skin and glaring red eyes. [Infiltrating requires a degree of stealth. It's almost impossible to infiltrate anything except a Halloween party when you have incandescent skin and glaring red eyes.]

Elora realizes she has been found. The Dark Lady’s courtiers have tracked her down, and within no time they capture Kylie and Kevin. Using the humans as bait, they lead Elora and Daren to a secret chamber hidden in the Dark Court. [Why didn't they just capture Elora?] Once there, the faeries battle, and Elora nearly loses her life. But just when she is about to fail, the humans spring into action, distracting her enemies long enough for her to escape [to Elora's cave].

Elora and the humans flee the Dark courtiers, only to find themselves wounded and alone in the Faerie wilderness. Book One ends with a servant of the Dark Court coming to their aid, leading them through a tunnel to safety, all the while proclaiming that the princess has returned and the revolution can begin.


Notes

Is this the same world of Faerie whose courts are usually known as Seelie and Unseelie rather than Bright and Dark?

I think the opening paragraphs need a brief description of the social inequality in Faerie; otherwise we don't know if overthrowing the Faerie courts is a good thing or a bad thing. There's always gonna be social inequality; what is it those on the bottom are enduring?

Has Elora gained Daren's trust by the end of the book? When he let her move in with him, I figured he trusted her. Now that she's dragged him into some other-worldly conflict and put him in peril, he may be rethinking the issue.

21 comments:

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

I agree with EE. It's unclear why she wants to overthrow the court.

Maybe I need to read it again but if her mother is the queen wouldn't she inherit a position of power if she just waited instead?

Steve Wright said...

Yes - my first reaction on reading the first sentence was "why?"

I'm also concerned that the book doesn't seem to have a proper ending. It's one thing to leave a few threads hanging for a sequel; it's another thing entirely to have it look as though the end is just "continued in next book". I hope it's possible to rework this so that it at least looks as though there's a satisfactory resolution to the story.

Eric said...

Agreed-- we need a lot more of your character's motivation and a clearer idea of what's at stake and why.

"...the social inequality of high school closely resembles the social inequality in the Dark Court." Or in other words, the social inequality of the Dark Court closely resembles the social inequality of high school. And suddenly I'm terrified we'll be in an after-school special with Important Lessons about Growing Up for Youth Today (but look, they're Faeries!). I hope I'm wrong, but...

Is the social hierarchy of a high school really something that can be altered by a revolutionary uprising? What exactly is the out-group going to do if they conquer? Replace all jocks with a socialistic regime? Hold democratic elections for spots on the cheerleading squad? And what constitutes victory, anyway? You can't just guillotine the prom queen.

Anonymous said...

Elora has spent the past decade of her life planning to overthrow the High Faerie Courts.

You say she's planning to overthrow the Courts but only mention her plan to bind the Dark Queen. So, is she planning to overthrow both Courts or just the Dark Court?

Also since she's the princess of the Dark Court, why can't she just wait for her mother to be die to become queen? Or have a regular old coup? What's with the need for binding?

And seriously, why does the BQ give a damn if Elora gets a human to trust her?

And why can't the BQ bind the DQ on her own?

above all else, the Dark Faeries fear and despise humanity.

Why? Also, it implies that BFs don't. Why?


she discovers that the social inequality of high school closely resembles the social inequality in the Dark Court.

I don't believe this. At all. Life in a Dark Faerie Court should not closely resemble life in a human high school. In fact, it shouldn't resemble it at all.

Her efforts come to fruition on prom night, when she leads a high school revolution against the students who tried to ban same-sex couples from the dance.

And now it just sounds like you're writing an after school special.
It's great that you want champion gay rights but, come on. There is no need to mix that up with Faeries.

The more I think about this the more it annoys me. Elora spends some time in the human world and the greatest injustice she notices is that gay kids can't go to the prom and that high school is a popularity contest? Seriously?


The Dark Lady’s courtiers have tracked her down,

Who is Dark Lady? Is she a new a character?



-days

Evil Editor said...

Regarding the repeated question Why not wait for the queen to die? While this Faerie may not be the Faerie of literature, assuming it is, the Faerie queen is immortal as are other members of the Faerie race.

The world of Faerie has been around in literature and legend for centuries. To question the author's take is like questioning a modern author's take on what vampires are like.

Khazar-khum said...

What year is this supposed to be happening? Even my nephew's school in rural Iowa allows gay couples at prom.

Assuming her mother is immortal until killed, why not simply stab her in the back?

Anonymous said...

To question the author's take is like questioning a modern author's take on what vampires are like.

True. I guess my main issue, is that the author didn't give any info about what their Faeries are like, so who knows what's going on with them.

I guess what I was really asking is. What's the deal with your Fairies? Are they bog standard or do they, say, sparkle in sun? And why doesn't Elora just kill the Queen and avoid dealing with BQ altogether?

-days

Evil Editor said...

Possible answers: Elora isn't next in line for the throne. Elora doesn't feel the plight of the underclass rates matricide. The Faerie world's legal system frowns on murder.

_*Rachel*_ said...

Here's how I read it: Elora wants to overthrow her evil mother and bring justice to the Dark Court, so she goes to the Bright Court and the good queen for help. The good queen wants to make sure Elora's good, so she devises a test: Elora has to gain the trust of a human.

It wouldn't hurt to mention why that's difficult--she's got green skin, she hates people, people nearby are suspicious, etc.

It's a strange test, but it's worked before; see "The Ultimate Gift." The test motif is a pretty common archetype, too.

I'd guess in American public high schools, objection to gay couples at the prom will be more from students than teachers or administration. Students aren't in danger of being sued, fired, or whatever for discrimination.

chelsea said...

What's the deal with your Fairies? Are they bog standard or do they, say, sparkle in sun?

Ha! No. No, they do not sparkle in the sun. Not exactly.

Thank you so much to everyone for your comments. I will definitely take these thoughts into consideration and post a rewrite. In the meantime, I want to answer some questions that may not fit into the synopsis (no matter how much I might want them to.)

In my version of Faerie, the Dark Court was created as a reaction to the destructive tendencies of humanity. The faeries saw humanity destroying the earth and created an army to try to stop them. However, as the Dark Court's methods grew more violent, an opposing group of faeries arose to stop them. Thus, the Bright Court was born. Battles ensued. Caste systems were born: Queens served by courtiers served by servants. Servants (as you might guess) got mistreated pretty badly.

Enter Elora. Elora, the Dark Queen's daughter, wants to overthrow both courts and have there be NO courts. She also wants to get rid of the caste system and have all faeries live as equals (including herself, which is why she won't simply kill her mother and take her place.) Thus, she approaches the Bright Queen with an offer: if the Bright Queen agrees to disband her own Court, Elora will give her the means to overthrow the Dark Court. The Bright Queen is interested, but is not convinced of Elora's sincerity. She sends Elora on a quest to the human world, telling Elora she must gain the trust of a human. But, in reality, the quest is a test to prove Elora's loyalty, because no loyalist of the Dark Court would subject herself to the human world, let alone interact with them.

On another note: being excluded from prom isn't meant to be the worst thing to ever happen to a human. Rather, it's used as one example of the ways in which populations are marginalized and ostracized (both in human society and in Faerie). Thus, revolutionizing relations between human teenagers is representative (yes, on a small scale) of the way Elora plans to revolutionize relations between faeries.

For those who found the prom thing to be problematic, any suggestions on how to make it seem less so are greatly appreciated. Also, I expected people to hate the line "Book One ends..." but no one seemed to. Is this line not as bad as I assumed?

This has been, as usual, a great help. Thank you all so much! EE, don't think I didn't notice you coming to my defense. And no, things don't end in Elora's cave. This is young adult, after all.

_*Rachel*_ said...

This should be in your synopsis, especially the second paragraph:

"The Dark Court was created as a reaction to the destructive tendencies of humanity. The faeries saw humanity destroying the earth and created an army to try to stop them. However, as the Dark Court's methods grew more violent, an opposing group of faeries arose to stop them. Thus, the Bright Court was born. Battles ensued. Caste systems were born: Queens served by courtiers served by servants. Servants (as you might guess) got mistreated pretty badly.

Enter Elora. Elora, the Dark Queen's daughter, wants to overthrow both courts and have there be NO courts. She also wants to get rid of the caste system and have all faeries live as equals (including herself, which is why she won't simply kill her mother and take her place.) Thus, [[she approaches the Bright Queen with an offer: if the Bright Queen agrees to disband her own Court, Elora will give her the means to overthrow the Dark Court. The Bright Queen is interested, but is not convinced of Elora's sincerity. She sends Elora on a quest to the human world, telling Elora she must gain the trust of a human. But, in reality, the quest is a test to prove Elora's loyalty, because no loyalist of the Dark Court would subject herself to the human world, let alone interact with them]this is especially what you need to clarify]."

Anonymous said...

Possible answers: Elora isn't next in line for the throne. Elora doesn't feel the plight of the underclass rates matricide. The Faerie world's legal system frowns on murder.

True. I just realized my perspective on that issue is skewed because I have been studying the history of the Roman Empire where succession usually involved civil war, assination, or
a combination of two.

Anyway, I agree with Rachel that the author should include some of the backstory. At least the parts, about how Elora wants to overthrow both courts because she hates the divison and the caste system of the fairies and wants all faeries to live as equals.

Elora makes a deal with the BQ:
If she disbands her own Court, Elora will give her means the overthrow the Dark Court.

So, BQ sends Elora to Earth on quest to gain the trust of a human. This a test to prove Elora's loyalty, because no Dark Court loyalist would ever go to the human world, etc. etc.

-days

wendy said...

Okay, now I feel like a complete idiot. I thought Synopsis 23 was the name of a novel and this was a query. I even sent EE three fake plots for it. What a fool!

I do admit I thought it was a strange name for a book, but we keep some pretty strange company on this site so...

Anyway, kill "had" and "has" - like this:

'Elora (has) spent the past decade of her life planning to overthrow the High Faerie Courts. She (has) gathered together the embittered servants of the Dark Court (and even...)'

That's about all I have to offer. I'm lousy with synosis. (Heck, I couldn't even recognize one in a line up!) Good luck.

Evil Editor said...

Synopsis 23 is a fine title for a book. But when checking to see what titles need fake plots, check the Guess the Plot queue, not the Queries Waiting queue.

chelsea said...

Rachel, thank you so much for helping me see what needs to be added. It's hard from an insider's perspective to know how much backstory is too much, and you've really helped give me an idea of what's needed.

Aw, Wendy, now I want to see your fake plots! Thanks for your suggestions on trimming.

chelsea said...

Revision:

In the wake of human expansion, two Courts of Faerie have arisen in opposition: the Dark Court, intent on eradicating humanity, and the Bright Court, intent on protecting it. The Courts engage in a battle that stretches over centuries, and both suffer heavy losses. To make matters worse, there is discord within the Courts: Queens mistreat their courtiers, courtiers abuse their servants, and servants fight bitterly amongst themselves. None is at peace.

Even Elora, the daughter of the Dark Queen, cannot find happiness in such a broken world. She dreams of a Faerie where all creatures can live as equals. When her mother appoints the sadistic Valar as her second in command, Elora realizes it’s time to act.

Gathering together the embittered servants of her Court, Elora plots a revolution. She even uncovers a spell that will bind her mother long enough to take control of the Dark Court. But there is only one faerie strong enough to wield such a powerful spell: the Queen of the Bright Court.

The Bright Queen is intrigued, but she is not ready to trust the daughter of the Dark Queen. To test Elora’s loyalties, she proposes a quest: Elora must travel to the human world, a place no loyalist of the Dark Court would go, and gain the trust of a human. Elora is terrified, but she cannot refuse the Bright Queen’s request if she hopes to lead her people to freedom. She agrees to go.

Elora watches humanity from afar, eventually introducing herself to seventeen-year-old Daren, a boy who has been suffering from problems of his own. Partially responsible for his younger brother’s death, he has spent the last three years living in the carriage house above his parents’ garage, to distance himself from his deteriorating family. When Elora hints that she has left her own family behind, he senses a kindred spirit, and feels compelled to take her in.

Elora accepts Daren’s offer, knowing she only needs to stay long enough to gain his trust. She even enrolls in his high school, in an attempt to appear normal. And while she expects to hate every minute of the school day, she actually finds herself empathizing with humanity. Her feelings for Daren intensify by the day. She considers telling him who she really is. And when she befriends Kylie and Kevin, president and vice-president of the school’s gay/straight alliance, she discovers that the social inequality of the human world isn’t so different from the social inequality of Faerie.

Soon she and Daren are gathering up the school’s outcasts and urging them to take control of the school. They plan to test their powers on prom night, by challenging the recent ruling against same-sex couples at prom. Elora is confident they will win.

All the while, she and Daren are growing closer. He reveals his guilt over his brother’s death. She tells him her history under the guise of a bedtime story. And when she receives a message from her Court, informing her that Valar is searching for her, Elora is forced to face the truth: she’s lingered in the human world because of Daren, putting herself at risk. She tells herself she will leave after the prom.

The night of dance arrives, and the student revolution is a success. The outcasts at the dance outnumber the in-crowd. While the students celebrate, Elora leads Daren away from the dance and reveals her true identity.

Daren barely has time to process her confession. Valar arrives on the scene, and he’s captured Kylie and Kevin. Using the humans as bait, he leads Elora and Daren to his secret chamber in the Dark Court. There he battles Elora, and manages to gain the upper hand. But Valar’s contempt for the humans causes him to underestimate them, and Daren is able to disarm him long enough for the group to escape.

Elora and the humans flee Valar, only to find themselves wounded and alone in the Faerie wilderness. Just when they think all is lost, a servant of the Dark Court leads them through a tunnel to safety, all the while proclaiming that the princess has returned and the revolution can begin.

Matthew said...

Awesome.

Eric said...

Exceptional.

Change the name "Valar," since Tolkien had it first (see The Silmarillion).

Make a couple of minor edits-- e.g. par. 9 should begin "The night of ^the^ dance..."

But otherwise I think this is about as good as it can reasonably be made. You win "Most Improved." Great work!

Sarah from Hawthorne said...

This is really good. I would suggest few small tweaks in the first two paragraphs:

Cut "in opposition"
Change the tense of sentence two to "The Courts have engaged in a battle..."
And cut "Even" from the start of the second paragraph.

Other than that, I've got nothing. Great work!

chelsea said...

Thank you all so much! You've been such a great help.

I can't believe I didn't know that about Valar. Doh!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is great. I'd ditch this sentence, though: The outcasts at the dance outnumber the in-crowd. It seems unneccessary since you say they won in the first sentence.

-days