Thursday, January 17, 2013
We've already played Guess the Plot with the title, in Synopsis 35 below.
This is a story of two dozen lovable flower-pickin’, slow-dancin’ thrill-seekers. [Actually, this is a query letter, not a story. Change "this" to "Fairfield."] [Also, I didn't get the idea from the synopsis that they're thrill-seekers.] They’re so friendly you’d hardly know they’re dead. They’re just waiting for the scoundrel who stole their space in the graveyard. [This suggests they're waiting for him to confront him; if they're waiting for him just so he can take them to their resting places, no need to reveal he's a villain at this point.] Meanwhile, the sign on the cemetery gate is clear: Sorry, full up.
It’s far from a zombie story, but a warm sort of mystery. [Save that sentence to open your last paragraph; here, it's interrupting the plot.] Jay Hughes, the protagonist, is mysteriously deeded an abandoned hotel in his old home town. He and his associates open the place and, as they do, they inadvertently free the souls of people Jay knew as a child, people he thought were long ago dead.
But, the Old Ones begin to emerge on the front steps of the dilapidated building, chatting, laughing, complaining. [At least dump the red words. Better yet, dump the sentence. It isn't important information.] As Jay learns who deeded him the building and why, he runs headlong into a web of intrigue, deceit, and possibly murder. [Was there a murder or not? If so, no need to say "possibly," even if Jay doesn't know it yet. An actual murder is a major drawing card if you're calling this a mystery.] And he discovers he's coming back to Fairfield for a reason -- to help the Old Ones find peace. The Old Ones aren't much help. After all, they're dead, and only a few of them are vaguely aware of that. [I'd drop those last two sentences. You want the plot summary to end on something important, not a minor detail.]
Obligatory biography not included here. I see no need to evaluate that unless you really don't believe I am a hit man for the Aldruvian family from the Planet Verdi. [Biography is not obligatory.]
So, is the scammer still alive, or did this all go down a century ago?
If only a few of the Old Ones are vaguely aware they're dead, why are they waiting for the scammer to come back?
It's possible the fact (as mentioned in your comments on the synopsis) that this is based on something that happened to people you know would be worth mentioning after the summary, assuming you mean they were victims of a burial plot scam. If you mean they came back as ghosts, I wouldn't bring that up.
Normally you want to open with your protagonist. Everyone will assume he's the protagonist, and you won't have to call him the protagonist. I've rearranged your information below. You have room to add another sentence here or there, but it needs to be something that will help spur interest in reading the book, not some trivial fact that doesn't advance the plot.
Jay Hughes is mysteriously deeded an abandoned hotel in his old home town. He and his associates decide to renovate the place, and as they do they encounter people Jay knew as a child, people he thought were long dead.
The "Old Ones" are so friendly you’d hardly know that they are dead. They’re just hanging out, patiently waiting to be taken to their resting places in the graveyard. But the sign on the cemetery gate is clear: Sorry, full up.
The Old Ones were victims of a burial plot scam, and someone doesn't want the truth to come out. As Jay learns who deeded him the building and why, he gets caught in a web of intrigue, deceit, and murder. And he discovers he's come back to Fairfield for a reason -- to help the Old Ones find peace.
Fairfield is a completed _____-word paranormal mystery. I'd be delighted to send pages at your request. Thank you.