Friday, May 10, 2013

Synopsis 37

Dear Evil Editor,

Here is my synopsis for the novel, I first did a chapter by chapter synopsis then this synopsis here it is.

"got another one tonight baby." He said softly.
"That makes three, listen! Do you hear the sirens?"
"Do you hear the screaming?" 
Her smile seemed to grow again and he imagined that her tinted lips,
Impulsively he bent  his head to kiss her lips.
From A Kiss before Strangling

The novel " A Kiss before Strangling" was written to add to the crime fiction book list; it is set in the fictional City and County of 1952 Tillman, Illinois; the point of view is told from the killer and Sgt. Younger. We introduce Sgt. Peter Younger and his girlfriend Sally Painter who was murdered. Sgt. Younger gets involved in the investigation to catch the killer. The two suspects are Tommy Davis who is the local theatre director who sleeps with Judy Walker, who is in the play while he has the hots for Sally Painter who is also in the play; the second suspect is Bob Green, a local newspaperman. The police Chief Jim Carter is summoned by the Mayor David Berk to talk about the Walker murder which he is catching hell about and to put pressure on the chief to solve the crime. It is revealed that Sally Painter had her lipstick smeared and later on it is tied to other murders. The killer does not rape or rob his victims. The date of the 25th of each month is the date the killer kills.

The newspaperman Bob Green is introduced as is the police identification officer at the Painter crime scene, it is later revealed that Green or Davis removed and switched the original prints from the Miller case because it had his name in them. The rift between the county sheriff and Chief Carter is revealed because the Sheriff is a political hack and the Chief has experience; the sheriff starts his investigation as all homicides are handled by the county sheriff, but the chief does not intend to share the case. Lieutenant Samuels and Jim Carter believe that the Helen Walker and Sally Painter murders are related. Sgt. Younger starts to go through the death records for the past six years to find related deaths. Sgt. Younger pulls in Joseph Zellinger an important man in the county cause his daughters death is suspicious, he throws Sgt. Younger out and the Chief issues an arrest warrant. It it revealed that the death which was the first actual murder of the killer was covered up by Inspector Allen Liebermann who was married and having an affair with Zellinger's daughter without Mr. Zellinger knowing, The Lieutenant, Chief and Sgt, younger now have three related murders. Zellinger threatens them with expulsion from the county if they say a thing.

It is learned that the first three victims all dated police officers and Lt. Samuels compiles a list of cops who have women. Officer Ben Saunders who is going out with Shirley Petrizza are being tailed by the killer who has chosen his next victim, Saunders was crossed off the list because he lied about having a women. The sheriff tried to frame an innocent man but is later foiled by the Chief. The Mayor, Chief, Lt. Samuels hash it out till the mayor reluctantly agrees with them on the methods of the killer. It is learned that the killer had a girl named Jenny Miller that lived in Tillman and died there six years ago; when her boyfriend gets released from prison he sees the crime scene prints and sees her in bra and panties laid out on the floor with what looks like bruises on her throat and he learns that a cop was there. He believes she was strangled and he wants the cops to suffer as he does; but the bruises are revealed to be grease that was on the hands of the cop who attempted CPR, (the killer does not know this) she committed suicide.

The sheriff in order to steal the glory from the Chief declares that March 25th a declaration of a state of emergency which is the next time the killer kills, since he will be top cop he gets the credit behind the chiefs back. Sgt. Younger finds the miller crime scene prints missing and that they were replaced. The police reveal what is being done to solve the murders. On Sunday March 23rd Lt. Samuels gives all the women dating cops special lipstick that will stain the lips of the killer. On the day of the murder police are assigned to all the women except Shirley. Sgt. Younger learns that Officer Ben Saunders has a women and yells at him while she is picked up by the killer who she knows because he eats at the soda shop she works at. The killer is revealed and as he flees the police he confesses to his last victim he is killed during the car chase and dies and the women lives.

This is the synopsis and the form I got out of a writers magazine I hope this does a better job that the query.



Sorry, but it's tough love time, my friend. This isn't cutting it. Your writing ability hasn't reached the point at which you should be working on a query letter or a synopsis. You need to be working on what a sentence is. You need to learn the basic conventions of writing, This synopsis is filled with run-on sentences, comma splices, poor punctuation, grammatical errors, misspelled words...

Even when you master the fundamentals you'll be one of thousands of aspiring authors who've also mastered them, so the odds are against you if your goal is to make a living writing books. If your goal is simply to hold a copy of your book in your hand, it's not that expensive these days to have a few copies printed (by a book printer, not a publisher). You don't even need a query or synopsis if you self-publish.

Either way, you need to focus on shaping up your writing skills and then shaping up your book. After that you can worry about a query and a synopsis. Good luck.


AlaskaRavenclaw said...


IMHO said...

"Lt. Samuels compiles a list of cops who have women."

"Sgt. Younger learns that Officer Ben Saunders has a women."

Men don't "have" women. They have relationships with women. They have sex with women. But they don't "have" women.

The writing in a synopsis (or query) reflects the writing in the book -- and the repeated references to men 'having' women indicates a lack of skill in portraying emotions, characters and motivation. IMHO.

Dave Fragments said...

Gee, I almost don't know how to begin a comment about this synopsis.

My first advice is whatever the magazine was that outlined this structure as a synopsis should be thrown away and the subscription cancelled. I would also suggest the Hitchhiker's Ravenous Blood Blatter Beast of Traal solution -- orders, signed in triplets, sent in, shredded, duplicated, sent back, lost, found, queried, subjected to public inquiry twice, and buried in a heap of fresh mud, recycled as fire lighters, and the ashes scattered to the far ends of the universe.

Personally, a dozen roses and a greeting card would do.

If you want to learn Synopses by example, look up books and movies on Wikipedia and IMDB and read their synopses. Some are long, others are short, and WIki also points out problems with some of them.

And to demystify the entire synopsis business, what those people did in WIki and IMDB is what is required of a synopsis. We do it everyday when we describe a book or a movie to each other. There's no wonderful, magic, special format.

Write out a short summary of your book, clean it, polish it, and make it the proper number of words.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

I can't sing.

I like to sing. There are songs I like, and I belt 'em out good and loud. But not on key. The local church choir wouldn't let me in.

Now imagine if my ambition was to give a solo vocal performance in Carnegie Hall.

Publishing is that competitive. You're aiming for the top, and the competition has talent and skill.

Some of the skills:

* grammar and punctuation
* a feel for the rhythm of language
* a large vocabulary and a feel for the mot juste
* pacing-- where to start, what to leave out
* an ability to build narrative tension
* character development, including the full, three-dimensional development of characters of the opposite sex

And I could go on. Point is, EE is right. He's seldom been more so. You have two choices here:

1. Have the book printed yourself, in which case anything goes and our criticisms are as naught.

(And do follow EE's advice there. Don't pay a bundle. Go carefully and research your options.)

2. Spend a lot of time working on craft. A lot. Right now, you're putting the cart before the horse.

Well, actually, there's a third choice:

3. Do something else. Maybe you're a much better singer than I am. (Most people are.) Maybe there's some other art form at which you excel. Go and do that.

Anonymous said...

One does not typically wrap one's greasy hands around a person's throat when administering CPR.

Jo Antareau said...

Author, I think that writing a synopsis can be harder than writing the actual novel. If your novel's full of twists and turns and wonderful characters and red herrings and action, it's difficult to judge what to omit when laying out the bare bones of the story.

But if you want your potnetial agent or editor to read the synopsis, it might be in your interest to look at the excerpt you used as a tease. An incomplete sentence aint a good sign "he imagined that her tinted lips..." did what?

james said...

A thing I've long suspected is that Evil Editor may be the nicest evil editor of any whose blog I look into. Oh, wait ... I don't look into any other blogs, of editors or otherwise. I am faithful, if nothing else. I might add that many of Evil's minions are not unnecessarily nasty, either, even when they could be. Okay, whoever wrote the thing about the occlusion in a phone booth might not agree, but there are exceptions to anything.

The point I want to make, author, is that these people are not trying to hurt you. In fact, it seems to me that they're trying pretty hard not to. Even so, the comments must seem discouraging. If it seems that way to you, allow me to relate to you something a wise and kind employer of mine once told me after I'd made a pretty big blunder on the job. His exact words were: "Anyone who never made a mistake never tried to do anything." That was decades ago, and I've never forgotten what he said. And I've never made that same mistake again, because I learned from it. If there is a moral to that story it is that the real reward in what we do is not always the achievement, but the attempt.

So, if writing is what you love to do, dear author, keep attempting. Just remember to heed the advice of nice evil editors and others who mean you well. In doing so, you just might find the achievement you're ultimately looking for.

Good luck, and goodwill regarding the writing. Truly.

AA said...

"got another one tonight baby." He said softly."That makes three, listen! Do you hear the sirens?""Do you hear the screaming?" Her smile seemed to grow again and he imagined that her tinted lips,Impulsively he bent his head to kiss her lips.
From A Kiss before Strangling

Should look like:

"Got another one tonight, baby," he said softly."That makes three. Listen! Do you hear the sirens? Do you hear the screaming?" Her smile seemed to grow again and he imagined that her tinted lips (?)Impulsively he bent his head to kiss her.

I fixed ten errors, and you still need to fill in the question mark. Nobody has time to do this to a whole manuscript.

First: work on punctuation grammar, etc. All the basic English stuff. If you still want to write, then go for the writerly stuff- believable characters and so forth. All most all this information can be found online, or you could take classes.

All in all, if you are willing to work hard for a long time, you will be able to write a story that people can read. Getting published is something that won't concern you until later.

Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

Mister Furkles said...


Continue writing. Even if you never write a novel that generates significant income, you’ll benefit from mastering written English. The ability to write well and persuasively will be beneficial at work, at school, and when dealing with government and businesses.

Here are some websites which we found helpful when teaching our daughter to write well. Her teachers could not do the job because few of them had mastered the basics of written English.

All websites start with http:// -- then I write ‘ DOT ‘ for ‘.’.

Usage Errors:
public DOT wsu DOT edu/~brians/errors/errors.html
(This site lists two or three thousand common word choice error.)

Grammar – not grandpa’s wife:
www DOT grammaruntied DOT com
conjugator DOT reverse DOT net < -- this one’s written by a didactic alligator, I think
grammartips DOT homestead DOT com
grammar DOT ccc DOT commnet DOT edu/grammar

extension DOT Missouri DOT edu/p/CMZOI
www DOT standards-schmandards DOT com/exhibits/rix/

Mastering written English is a skill which requires a great deal of time but not much talent. Story telling requires a great amount of talent and some time.

A rule for all writing: never use a sentence you cannot diagram. There are also sites that teach how to diagram sentences.

Now, get writing.