Saturday, September 17, 2016

Synopsis 54

Lauren Haywood is an optimistic worrier. [Meaning what? She's optimistic that none of the horrible things she worries about will actually happen?] Ever since she saw monsters barging into her house and her parents being mauled in the blink of an eye, [she's become a pessimistic worrier. Can you blame her?] she took [has taken] it upon herself to find food so that the same thing wouldn’t happen to Dustin, her brother, [If she finds food, monsters won't maul her brother? Why not?] even with the beratement she received. [What was she berated for, and by whom?] So that they could live to reach an evacuation centre. [Which is a place you go when you've evacuated another place?] 

But in the middle of their traverse, a mountain lion disrupted their path and turned on them. [It's pretty standard to use present tense when summarizing a plot.] Dustin barely surviving with lethal cuts, and then ambushed by Unawakened, she exerted herself beyond the limits to save themselves. [Terrible sentence. Easier to delete it than to try salvaging it.] When she manages to come [comes] to, a stranger is with her and with some hesitation, they accepted his help to guide them to the nearest evacuation [centre]. [That sentence starts in present tense and ends in past.]

After Dustin and Lauren were successfully admitted, everything went back to an almost daily-like life. [I assume a daily-like life is a life that passes one day at a time. But what is an almost daily-like life?] Just with some exception of fighting and learning how to combat and protect, while blending in as a human, [Are they human?] courtesy of her parents’ instruction. When Dustin was conscripted into the patrol, some residents took advantage of his absence and threatened Lauren. For the price of revealing her elemental power in self-defense, she was thrown into jail to be executed. 

Storming [Brainstorming?] for ways to escape, Cory, the stranger, told her her brother wasn’t one of the three survivors from the patrol. Lauren broke herself out with assist [help] from Cory and went to find him. Discovering him with a three-day-old bite mark, Cory explained that he knew someone who could help. A biologist. Unknowingly, she stepped into the trap. He disclosed that her father, James Haywood, was an instigator of wars between Mages and humans. That Cory’s father was killed by him. That he anticipated the day he could have his revenge.

Kept and experimented [Imprisoned and tortured,] she tried to escape and succeeded [escaped], but [was] caught when she searched for Dustin. Tied in front of the residents, the crowd riled up [This says that the crowd is tied in front of the residents. Also, people can get riled up or rile up other people, but they don't just rile up. ] at the notion of the instigator’s daughter at their mercy. [Seems more likely they'd be thirsting for blood than getting riled up.]

Day after day passed agonizingly by when [until] help came in the form of a boy. As they broke out with a kidnapped Cory, they headed to their destination to rescue Dustin : Twin Falls. The place where their parents died.


There's no point to working on a query and synopsis until you improve your writing skills by doing lots of reading and writing and studying, paying special attention to word meanings and grammar. Sorry to sound so evil, but when you submit to Evil Editor, you know what to expect.


Mister Furkles said...

no point to working on a query and synopsis until you improve your writing skills

That's the bad new. The good news is that English Grammar is craft and you can master it. It's not easy. Grammar school used to teach grammar but these days they call it primary school and maybe that's because they quit teaching grammar and now teach primary, whatever that is.

(I think primary is: "Class, sit down and shut up! I have headache.")

Websites that teach something about English grammar:

http://public . wsu . edu/~brians/errors/errors.html

http://grammartips . homestead . com/

http://conjugator . reverso . net/conjugation-english.html

http://www . dailywritingtips . com/

http://extension . missouri . edu/p/CM201

(remove the spaces around the dots)

There are others but these are some my favorites.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...


Anonymous said...

I agree with the other comments that you need to learn more about writing and using words correctly.

That being said, I do advise writing more stories if that's your passion. Practice the grammar principles you learn. Keep in mind your stories won't be publishable at first, but that you will get better. Also, if it's a story that truly matters to you, you can go back and revise once you can see what needs to be fixed.

Read a lot of professionally published material (it usually has better quality control). Pay attention to the use of language in what you read.

As for the query, things that might help:

How old are Lauren and her brother?
What are the Unawakened?
What do you mean by elemental powers?
Why are there evacuation centers and how are they run?

Be specific. Example: When you say "she exerts herself" what does she do to exert herself? Throw rocks? Run away?

Middle to end of the story sounds like Lauren keeps being saved by other people. Most agents/editors prefer for the main character of your story to be the one who saves themselves and those around them.

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

As for the *query*

As for the synopsis


AA said...

Yeah, I have to agree with everyone here. There are some real train wrecks in this synopsis. If you can't tell what's wrong with "Dustin barely surviving with lethal cuts, and then ambushed by Unawakened, she exerted herself beyond the limits to save themselves," or "Kept and experimented she tried to escape and succeeded, but caught when she searched for Dustin," then you're just not "there" yet.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that the author is a child (in which case keep going and good luck) or from another country where English is not the first language (in which case keep going and good luck).

Jeanne DuBois said...

Mister Furkles, I have to object. From my own experience as both teacher and parent, the "sit down and shut up" is an ineffective behavior management technique. Having taught many classes of thirty ten-year-olds, I can tell you absolutely that no adult using that as a technique will last in a primary classroom more than one week. I have heard substitutes control children like that, but they don't usually return. Grammar is learned not only be reading, but by listening to people. In the olden days, television was a good stand-in for parents who didn't speak fluent English. Not so anymore. Stop blaming teachers! *argh*

AA said...

I don't see how he's blaming teachers. Teachers teach the curriculum. And it seems obvious that the "I have a headache" thing was a joke.

I was taught in the 80's experimental dumbed-down phase of public school. The parts of speech were mentioned, but I don't remember much grammar teaching. However, I had two native English speaking parents who didn't "talk down" to me. I was encouraged to watch educational television and taught to read before I got into school. As a result I'm probably above average when it comes to understanding grammar. Most of my school friends weren't so lucky, especially since many of them had parents that used words wrong frequently ("prostrate" for "prostate," for instance), and said "ain't" and "y'all" a lot.

So I think being fortunate enough to have parents that speak English properly is helpful, and some educational tv can be helpful as well. I do think, though, that public school needs to shoulder its share.

Noel (tell me now) said...

My phone autocorrects perfectly spelled words into emoji. It's a 📱 conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with "ain't" and "y'all" in and of themselves.

I think parents/family are most responsible for teaching a kid decent grammar, by using it themselves. If that's not happening, there's probably little even the most dedicated teacher can do (except with kids who are highly studious and interested in learning).

Anonymous said...

There's a difference between prescriptive and descriptive grammar. Most modern Americans speak at least two dialects of English, one formal and one informal.

None of this addresses the basic issue here: the writer of the query still needs to work on his or her writing. If the query and the synopsis were written in dialect, but were perfectly coherent, most likely none of us would complain; we read lots of things like that.

It's quite possible the writer is not a native speaker of English; if so, he or she would really be much better off writing in his or her native language.

AA said...

There's nothing wrong with "ain't" or "y'all" as long as you live in a place where everyone talks that way and you never plan on moving anywhere else or getting a job that requires you to speak on the telephone. Otherwise, there most certainly is something wrong with it. You will be branded a hick and ignorant at least, an idiot at worst.

Evil Editor said...

Opinions expressed in the comment trail are not necessarily those of the blog administrator.

AA said...


"None of this addresses the basic issue here: the writer of the query still needs to work on his or her writing. If the query and the synopsis were written in dialect, but were perfectly coherent, most likely none of us would complain; we read lots of things like that."
We do write differently than we speak. Otherwise you'd be reading a lot of dialogue like this:
"Where's the thing?"
"What thing?"
"The thing. The- You know, the clicker."
"You had it last."
"Maybe it's...Oh, here it is. Nevermind, I found it."
"I FOUND IT. It was under the cushion."
"Why'nt'cha look there first?"

And so forth.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to name an ancient, abandoned fantasy city "Why'nt'cha."