Thursday, October 21, 2010

Synopsis 26

Trapped in the Masquerade-Synopsis:

How much trouble can a seventeen-year-old girl get into on her birthday that happens to land on Halloween with two friends? [If you must cram this much into the first sentence, at least put the two friends after "into."] When the seventeen-year-old girl is Abby Clary, a witch from birth, but blinded and left powerless from [by] her mother's spell, trouble seems to find her everywhere. [Too much info in these two sentences. I recommend keeping it simple: How much trouble can a seventeen-year-old girl get into on her birthday? When the girl is a witch, and her birthday falls on Halloween, trouble seems limitless.] [That said, I expect a synopsis that opens: "How much trouble can a seventeen-year-old girl get into..." to be describing a light story, if not a comedy. And having looked ahead and become convinced this is not the case, I'd drop the whole first paragraph. A synopsis doesn't need an intro paragraph; it's fine to jump right into the plot.]

Abby gate-crashes Emerson Academy's annual Halloween ball, [Didn't you say a spell had made her blind? Why would... Wait, I get it; she's blind, so she crashes into the gate.] and almost immediately regrets it when she is taken [abducted] by a horde of evil vampires known to the magical world as Callum's Guard; a group so evil that she is intended for their Master, Callum, to become his subservient lover. [When you say "a group so evil that..." we expect an example of what they have done, not what they're planning. A group so evil they kill kittens with chainsaws for entertainment.] But what stands in Callum's way is the dark-haired, handsome Thomas who has secretly known Abby since 1273; [Is Thomas in Callum's Guard?] though, Abby has no clue. [Having said "secretly," you can do without "Abby has no clue."] [So does Abby think she's been on Earth seventeen years, or does she know she's been around for centuries?] Thomas gives her a way to escape Callum's Guard and Callum himself.

After Abby escapes, she makes her way to her mother and grandmother where she comes across a magical garden, and learns of a [centuries-old] prophecy [foretelling that she would . . . what?] given about her centuries ago. Abby also finds out that she and Thomas are supposedly [were once] lovers, though she is determined to fight it. However, Linley, a distant relative of Abby's has her own plans, and she forces Abby to travel back to 1273 to meet Thomas as human and not a vampire. Before she knows it, she falls in love with Thomas even though she tried not to.

But then, [Back then] Abby had life threatening troubles in her time to work through. She tries to save her friends, she tries save her family, tries to fight her feelings for Thomas, and she is running out of time before her mother's spell kills her. [What are the terms of this spell? When did her mother cast this spell? All you've said is it made her blinded and powerless, nothing about killing her.]

After Abby comes back from 1273 for the last time, she is faced with certain death of [from] her mother's spell. Feeling defeated, as well as believing that nothing matters at this point because she is dead no matter what, Abby runs off with two friends. Callum magically visits Abby, which hastens the effects of her mother's spell. But Abby's mother, grandmother, and friends go to her to attempt to remove the spell. The attempt fails, so Abby's mother decides that Abby has to be moved. [You've made it sound like the mother is a villain. Why did she cast a spell that kills her daughter in the first place?] En route to moving Abby [As Abby is being transported] to safety, Callum's Guard causes a fatal accident [attacks]. Abby's mother is killed saving Abby, and her death lifts the spell. Abby is full of grief, but knows that only the spell problem was resolved [her troubles are only beginning] because Callum is still after [her.] Abby and Abby still has to come to terms with her newly found magical powers.

When Abby confronts Thomas and tells him that she chooses him and that she is in love with him, Thomas redeclares his love for her. Thomas chooses Abby. [The end? Callum is still after her. The query didn't say this was to be continued.]


There are too many awkwardly worded phrases, too much that isn't clear. The reader is going to assume the book has the same problems. Which means you not only need to fix the synopsis, you need to make sure the book doesn't have the same problems.


Not Normally Anonymous said...

Author, read read read read. Read works in your genre. Read works outside your genre. Read books on writing. Keep writing, but think of it as practice. Join a writing group and listen to the critiques.

This writing is not yet ready for prime time. Nothing wrong with that as long as you can see why and learn from it. Keep writing!

vkw said...

I didn't find the synopsis all that bad. (Okay, sure, some rewriting is necessary as EE pointed out, but I understood the story from the synopsis.)

OK I had a few problems. Why did she crash the party?

And I bet she immediately regretted being party crasher when she was abducted. No "almost" about it.

Thomas helped her escape.

"Abby also finds out that she and Thomas are supposedly [were once] lovers, though she is determined to fight it." Fight what?

Linley should be identified as something other than a relative. I am assuming she is a witch. So Linley, her second cousin twice removed and also a witch transports her back in time to (what and why?) Learn the truth? because Linley just randomly causes problems for people?

There are other motivation problems here and things are not as clear as they should be. But, I understand you are limited to a few hundred words.

However, I think you need to tell us about mom. Mom sounds like a villian.

I like the idea your MC is blind. We need more books where the MC has a disability - other than being orphaned with low self-esteem.

Anonymous said...

I am going to say something harsh and hope that the writer is ready to hear it.

You need to work on your writing. It isn't good enough yet.

(I know that's hard to hear, but if someone hadn't said it to me ten years ago, I wouldn't now be multi-published scum.)

Take a class if that's how you learn. Join a critique group. Read books about writing. Develop a critical eye toward your own writing.

Anonymous said...

Books where characters have a disability, yes.

But please, no more books where:

1. The character's disability has no impact whatsoever on his/her life.

2. The character's disability is actually a super-power. (Eg she sees so much *more* than other people.)

3. The character is miraculously cured of the disability at the end, as a reward.

I've seen far too many of all three.

batgirl said...

Does the gate-crashing matter? It sounds as if the story starts when she's abducted.
I like the blindness aspect - way to up the odds against your heroine! - but that makes it a bit odd when Thomas is identified as dark-haired. Maybe something about his voice or his nature? Also, I didn't get that he was a vampire until you say that he's pre-vampire in the 1200s.

Chicory said...

So, is this a case where Thomas was Abby's lover centuries ago BECAUSE events force her to travel back in time? Or is there some other incarnation of Abby running around being Thomas's lover while she's in the past with him? (like Inu Yasha torn between Kagomi and Kikyo?) I'm a little confused whether this story involves re-incarnation, or whether the comment about their century-old romance is a reference to her time-travel, which Thomas remembers but she doesn't, because it hasn't happened for her yet.

_*rachel*_ said...

I'm confused.

But there is one nice side to researching queries and synopses--it doesn't get boring.

jmkmcmullen said...

Of 1273, Wikipedia sez:

"December 6 – Thomas Aquinas quits his writing of Summa Theologica — a master work of Catholic theology — leaving it unfinished after having a mystical experience during Mass."

Is this the mysterious Thomas? If so, don't make us guess.

JB said...

I think "Blinded" was meant in the sense that her power was blinded.

Otherwise too much doesn't make sense. She describes too much. Remember the GTP? It started with an excerpt, and she says "windowless room." What would that matter if she was blind?

Of course I could be wrong, but then I would like to let the author know that the query and synopsis totally don't leave me with the feeling of a blind MC.

Sorry if I'm being unclear... typing quickly 'cuz I gotta run :).

Peace out Minions!

Anonymous said...

Abby gate-crashes Emerson Academy's annual Halloween ball, [Didn't you say a spell had made her blind? Why would... Wait, I get it; she's blind, so she crashes into the gate.]

Oh har dee har, EE.

Is there some reason being blind means you can't be the kind of jerk that shows up to parties uninvited? I am confused.