Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Synopsis 48

This is a story of a young, seemingly perfect, but often turbulent love. Told in first person from the female heroine’s perspective, it takes you deep inside a young girl’s heart, into her challenging quest to be with the boy she loves so desperately. The story begins in the present and goes back in time from 1977 to 1990, concluding with a dramatic turn. [A synopsis tells the story. You're not telling the story, you're describing the book. Dump that and get to the plot.]

In 1977 Cassidy is an awkward teen who meets Danny when her family moves to a new house. Infatuated from the first moment she lays eyes on him, her whole world changes in what feels like a minute. Cassidy tries to understand a moody, young Danny, who seems to love her deeply, wildly and passionately. Yet, at times, his feelings seemed [seem] to change to an almost crushing indifference. Still she believes in her heart that they both love each other because somehow, they continually return to needing each other desperately.

When they are older they decide to try again, even planning for marriage and a future together. Cassidy finally believes they will get their “happily ever after” and that their troublesome journey to be together will end. Then Danny shatters her world when he admits that he has gotten another girl pregnant. Cassidy also thinks she might be pregnant and deep down, she hopes that maybe it will be a way to hold on to him. When she finds out she is not pregnant, she must face a harsh reality as Danny decides to do the honorable thing and marry this new girl. [He was getting someone else pregnant while discussing marriage with Cassidy, shattering her world, and she wants to hold onto him? Does he have any redeeming qualities?]

Cassidy finally moves on, yet deep down she still hangs on to her only true love, her destiny, her dream. Even while married, Danny calls her off and on, tells her how much he still loves her, and misses her. [He's the psychological equivalent of the dungeon master in a medieval torture chamber.] This tears her apart and leaves her deliriously happy at the same time; her conscience tells her this is wrong but she finds she cannot refuse Danny or resist her own desires. Her deep and all consuming love for him motivates her decisions and actions, despite the eventual repercussions. [What decisions and actions are you talking about? What are the repercussions?]

I invite you to come along on this journey of tumultuous, irresistible love and the heartbreaking struggles that come with it. The story of Cassidy and Danny will have you experiencing the entire gambit of emotions. Even some that will make you shout at the heroine to leave it be and forget Danny once and for all. You will feel hope and frustration for her, along with admiration and even sympathy, as she tenaciously hangs on and fights for her dream of achieving true love.

By the end, you may feel changed by this story. You may stop and wonder if Cassidy is truly naïve and entirely too submissive. Or, is it that she is stronger and smarter than you realized? What could happen in your life, if you never gave up, fought the odds, and faced all the hardships head on? Would you finally achieve the happiness you deserved? Maybe even win the battle for that first love that all of us most likely lost at one time in our lives, when we were too young and just didn’t know any better. [These last two paragraphs don't belong in a synopsis. Or anywhere. Just tell the story. Your three plot paragraphs at least have some specific information, unlike the plot summary in the query letter (previous post), but you could provide the same info in half the words, leaving room for a lot more about what happens. Tell the story.]

Thank you for your help!


If she kills him, say so. If she doesn't kill him, why not? It's fiction. Even if it's based on a true story, you can change it in fiction and have her kill him. Do you want readers to throw the book against the wall or burn it and vow not to buy your next book, or do you want them to set the book down after finishing it and sigh with satisfaction, looking forward to your next book? Kill him.


IMHO said...

Have you read Endless Love? It's about seemingly perfect teen love that devolves into obsession. It's a good read, despite having been made into a forgettable movie with Brooke Shields decades ago.

I'm not biased against less-than-perfect love stories. They can work.

BUT -- if you want Cassidy to be a heroine, your reader has to understand WHY she continues to believe in Danny. As written now, she appears irrational and weak. Can you explain WHY Danny treats her badly (was he abused? does he think he's no good for her?) Make it compelling. Pitching this as a triumphant love-conquers-all story means you've got to set up something to triumph over (not just 'Danny is a douche who finally returns to Cassidy when he is middle-aged, paying multiple child support, and out of other options.)

Patricia Bennett Fine Art Painter said...

It is very enlightening to read the synopsis.

There must be something positive about Danny for Cassidy to think he's worth all of this energy. Maybe he's a fabulous cook and he mentors her... And some reason why Danny doesn't want to be with Cassidy, maybe she is too possessive. If that were explained, the storyline would make more sense.

Otherwise, it's the sad familiar story of the obsessed woman and feckless man. Also, perhaps Cassidy's dreams could be grander than achieving true love, like becoming the first woman on the moon or owning her own bakery. And the part about Danny could be a subplot. And in the end he dies tragically, of course.

Anonymous said...

In the synopsis, you tell a mini version of the story in the book. Pretending it's a short story with the same plot as your book might help. The only thing that should be included is the plot. Remove any notes from the author to the reader of the synopsis.

At the moment, this looks like 58,000 words of a TSTL heroine pining over a boy the reader doesn't care about. Like EE said, kill him.

If you want your readers to root for your heroine, you need to show she has some qualities they care about or can identify with. If you want the reader to hope your heroine gets together with the boy she wants, you need to give reasons he's a good match for her and show how they can find happiness together. Specific details will help.

Intercostal Clavicle said...

Nothing about Cassidy says "stronger and smarter than I realized". What this sounds like is a horrific story of abuse dressed up as a love story. Kinda like Twilight.

SB said...

"At the moment, this looks like 58,000 words of a TSTL heroine pining over a boy the reader doesn't care about. Like EE said, kill him."


You seem to think making the reader want to throw the book down in frustration at your main character's stupidity is a good thing. It's not.

Minion 621 said...

I wouldn't go so far as to say "abuse", but yeah, this isn't exactly the kind of love story that gives people feels. The one good thing about Danny here -- that he's willing to marry the mother of his child rather than abandon them both -- is immediately canceled out by the fact that he continues to call Cassidy after he's married.

My suggestion is to take out all the parts describing the reader and replace them with specific details about what happens in the story. Do Cassidy and Danny plan to overthrow the French monarchy by building a barricade? Does Cassidy befriend Danny's wife? Is Danny's child tragically orphaned and sent to Cassidy because she's named as guardian in the wills? Etc. Give us a reason to root for Cassidy and Danny -- hopefully without making a scapegoat of the other girl.

Anonymous said...

EE, what happened to our comments on the query?

Evil Editor said...

They stepped out for a beer.

InkAndPixelClub said...

From what I can tell, this is the plot of your story:

- New in town teen Cassidy instantly falls in love with moody Danny.
- For some reason, he loves her back.
- For some reason, he acts indifferent towards her sometimes.
- For some reason, they break up (I think?)
- For some reason, they get back together years later.
- For some reason, Danny reveals that he got another woman is pregnant.
- Cassidy thinks she might be pregnant and hopes that having a baby will make Danny stay with her.
- She isn't and he doesn't. Danny instead marri s the mother of his child.
- For some reason, Danny periodically calls up Cassidy to tell her that he still loves her and misses her.

Author, hopefully you are realizing that it's not clear why most of the things that happen in your story are happening. There need to be reasons that the reader can understand for events happened no as they do. What is it that Cassidy is so drawn to about Danny? Why does he love her back? Why does he sometimes treat her with indifference? Why do they break up? Why do they get back together years later? When did Danny have sex with this other woman? What happens that forces him to tell Cassidy about it? What does Danny hope to gain by periodically calling Cassidy and reminding her that he still loves her?

Dump everything from the synopsis that isn't a description of what happens in your story. No descriptions of how the book is written, no invitations to come along on a journey, and definitely no claims about how the book will make readers feel. Use the remaining space to fully describe the major events of the book and answer most or all of my questions above. If the answers are in the story, then maybe the new synopsis will hold together as an understandable narrative. If there aren't any answers in the book, a revision of the manuscript may be in order.

It's fine to have a protagonist who makes decisions readers may not agree with. But the readers need to understand why the protagonist would make those decisions. "Because she's in love" is not a good enough explanation if I can't understand why these characters love each other. If the love between Cassidy and Danny is the center of the story and marrying Danny is Cassidy's ultimate goal, then I have to believe that this relationship might be worth fighting for. Right now, I don't.

khazar-khum said...

Does Cassidy break up Danny's marriage? If so, there'd better be a good reason, like she's cheating on Danny with the town's entire AAA baseball team or the kids' piano teacher. Otherwise she becomes hateful and obsessive.

Anonymous said...

wow, what are the odds? Author, I think someone beat you to the story:

Minion 621 said...

I think that *is* this story, Anon.

EE can decide whether offsite blurbs are fair game or if he'd rather we only comment on the submissions here.

Evil Editor said...

Actually, no, that story is about Cindy, not Cassidy.