Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Synopsis 61

Sixteen-year-old SAMANTHA works as a nurses’ aide in a psychiatric hospital where voices whisper through the walls. After a man attacks her, then dies and evaporates, she's not sure whether she needs a psychiatrist or a psychic. [I don't see why a psychic would be useful. I'd say a psychiatrist or a new vocation. Better yet, she's not sure she isn't the one who needs psychiatric care.] In school, she's assigned to work with AIDEN, the son of a police sergeant, on a death and dying project. He tells her the guy was one of the undead and takes [her] to see his AUNT CINDA, a medium that gives her magic objects to use to help the guy who attacked her. [If, for some reason you want to help a guy who attacked you, the time to do so is before he evaporates.] 

Samantha's father talks her into seeing a psychiatrist. [Advice for Samantha: If, at your first session, you're planning to tell the psychiatrist about the whispering walls, evaporating man, or undead, bring a suitcase. You may not be going home for a while.] She doesn't think he's helping and she stops seeing him when one of the undead comes to her session and jumps out the window. [You know you're in trouble when even the undead can't bear to listen to your problems.] [What floor was that office on?]

Her younger sister, SYLVIE, confides to Samantha that she sees their dead mother who comes to sing her a lullaby at night. [Sylvie is thrilled to learn she's not the only nut job in the family.] When Sylvie gets sick and is brought to the hospital, their mother appears. This time, Samantha can see her mom who tells Samantha to forget about her wrongful death and help her father start his life again or she'll never be able to cross over. [Lot of pronouns in that sentence. I shouldn't have to work to figure out who each her and she refers to.] Samantha agrees to try.

When more undead come to Samantha for help, she realizes Aiden is right. Together they read The Book of the Dead and decode the mysterious and scary messages the undead are giving her. After Samantha and her mother visit the Underworld, she's able to help the last of the undead cross over. Samantha gets happy tears in her eyes when she sees new constellations in the sky, markers for where the undead, including her mother, crossed over.


This summary is closer to what should be in the query letter than what was actually in the query letter (see previous post). It's still all over the place for something so short. If someone wants a synopsis, they probably want more elaboration on the main plot and fewer mentions of stuff like the medium with her magic objects and the visit to the Underworld (If those are important to the main plot, they deserve more than one sentence).

I've said it before, plenty of agents don't even ask for synopses, possibly because reading one is sure to turn you off from even the best of books.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Author, it might help for you to look at your story backwards and build your summary from there. Example:

Happy End because-> The dead cross over.
The dead cross over because -> MC visits the underworld.
MC visits the underworld because-> She read from the book of the dead.
She read from the book of the dead because -> ... etc etc etc
(not exactly your plot but I hope you can tell what I mean)

Once you have the sequence of events that gets you to the beginning of your story, reverse it and clean it up. Wikipedia has an article on writing plot summaries for its info pages that also might be helpful.

Good Luck