Monday, April 24, 2006

The Art of the Synopsis

In gathering excerpts from query letters (yes, Virginia, actual query letters) for today's entry, Evil Editor found he had sufficient material for two day's entertainment. Tomorrow, as yesterday, I'll present miscellaneous quotes; today I limit the piece to authors' attempts to summarize their novels in one paragraph, or even as little as one sentence.

Writing a brief synopsis can be a daunting endeavor, as those who've tried it will attest. So don't be too hard on the authors whose plots are described below. The novels may be spectacularly well-written. Evil Editor can't say, as he neglected to request them.

After Barry kills the cannibal, he roams the earth until 1998, when he meets Kate Dempsey. She is a reincarnation of his lost love but refuses to become a vampire again, even for the sake of love. With the help of Pyro (the world's first vampire), they travel to the Garden of Eden where Christ makes them human again. Meanwhile, the cannibal returns and drains Kate's blood, leaving Barry without his soul mate. Then, Bo kidnaps Barry, makes him a vampire again and uses a spell to permanently possess Barry's body. His spirit is banished to a cypress tree in Louisiana. Then Bo, masquerading as Barry, resurrects Kate, but once she realizes that it's really Bo, she flees and enlists the help of a gypsy witch to kill Bo and free Barry's spirit. Meanwhile, Pyro, the first vampire, has been cursed by the gypsy witch. His conscience no longer lets him feed on humans. He is destined to protect the innocent. Through a group called CEVA (Certified Vampire Association), Pyro finds the key to walking in the sun - werewolf blood. Bo attempts to get Kate one more time by possessing a male vampire, Tim Doogan, but Kate calls upon a demon to escort Bo to Hell. Inadvertently, Kate's soul is freed from her vampiric body, and in the year 2025, she is reincarnated and meets Barry in high school.

An astrological conjunction that has been calculated in the fashion of the Arabian ancient wise men marks the precise time when a woman must be murdered: it might be a English young scientist, or singer Madonna, or... The Mona Lisa. It might also be, in the end, an even better-known woman whose identity will not be known until the last page of the book is read. By means of short chapters as if it were the sequences of an action film, the author leads us with his easy-going, enjoyable style through a number of crazy, Rocambole-style events that never lack true, uneasy credibility.

Co-exiting with the horror plot the story is a subtly erotic, modernly romantic story where a provocative relationship develops in a way no one, including those involved, would ever expect or anticipate where what is left unspoken is as important as what is. It is a story of a man not only at war with the supernatural, but also the story a man at war with the reality of his true self and his notions of what the outside world expects of him. Underlying the entire text are parallels, recurring themes and analogies available to any reader who wants to look beneath the surface and see them.

With the help of another childhood friend, Quince, who, after selling his soul to a faceless and androgynous god, is now one of the many incarnations of Death, Chuck's girlfriend, who he saved from death by encoding her into software, and a Taoist drug dealer who trades under the moniker, "Wally Zero," Chuck makes a desperate play for survival.

Chosen into an elite group of guardsmen called Brughs, Gorel was privy to the kingdom’s greatest secrets and sword to protect them, but somehow, all that began to fall apart when he starts questioning his own motives and those of thepeople he was honor bound to serve. Driven by his desire to learn more about his land’s chaotic past, Gorel accidentally brings about its downfall when he refrains from notifying the proper authorities of his longtime friend’s increasingly erratic behavior, a behavior that has been brought about by the awakening of an ancient awareness at Gorel’s behest. Soon war breaks out across the kingdom as the Brughs revolt, egged onward by dreams of freedom and power brought about by this new awareness, causing the Brughs to forget for the moment that they owe theirentire existences to the people they were now destroying. Gorel realizes his mistake, but the deed has been done, and nothing may rectify it. A great battle ensues between the renegade Brughs and those few still loyal to the current regime, the result of which leaves Malanjia in ruins. Somehow, whether through blind luck, or his own growing desire for revenge, Gorel manages to escape his former companion’s onslaught, leaving only himself left to bear witness to the desecration that has been wrought. The book itself begins here.

It’s a "Sci-fan fusion" novel about a couple that meets in the 1700’s and is cursed to be reincarnated and meet through the centuries on some of the most horrific shipwrecks ever recorded. Except for the Titanic and the Andradoria, which have been done to death.

I have completed the first in a trilogy of novels that involve a man’s self destructive need to be dominated by a woman who uses her sexual cunning as the means to make him a pawn for her own malicious purposes of establishing Hitler’s Fourth Reich.

Tomorrow: Great Query Letters, Part 3


Tawny Taylor said...

Now these are awful.

A question: Will you eventually post commentary about the letters? Perhaps share what specifically made you decide to pass? I realize you're probably swamped, but since you've come this far, perhaps you'll consider posting some comments about a couple less obvious ones so that folks can learn from the other authors' mistakes.

Thanks for the interesting blog! It promises some great information and fun.

Crystal* said...

The mind boggles, and the head spins.
I've heard of excerts such as these, but it's something else entirely when they're right in front of you.
I'm speechless.

Fish Monkey said...

I liked the one with the Taoist drug dealer!

Stephanie said...

I love the one which ends "the actual book begins here."
ha. wow.