Friday, December 29, 2017

Synopsis 60

ROWAN of the Sindari warrior clan has been wandering in self-imposed exile, his guilt at a failed attempt to save his sister’s life throwing him into self-destructive behavior. Rowan returns to his home realm six years away [Six years away? Meaning it will take him six years to get there? Change "six years" to a measure of distance. Or say "six years after leaving," if that's correct.] to find that the realm is holding trials and an election for the next king. [Why is he returning home if he didn't already know about the trials?] As a possible claimant to the crown, Rowan’s father entreats him to journey to the capital [This reads like Rowan's father is the possible claimant. Rowan is urged by his father.] and take the trials. [I would go with "enter" the trials or "compete in" the trials. "Take" doesn't seem like the right word.] Seeing a chance to redeem himself of his failures, Rowan agrees.

To cross the desert wasteland, [He returned to his home realm in the previous paragraph. Why is he crossing a desert now? Is this part of the trials?] Rowan enlists the help of his unknown cousin, BRYND, a young thief buried in debt to a crooked magistrate. [His cousin is unknown? What does that mean?] During [a] skirmish [with ?] , a bearded stranger aids the company. Wary of letting any strangers join them, Rowan reluctantly agrees to let him join - only to later discover the stranger is a young woman KIVRIN desperate for help crossing the mountains. Furious at her duplicity, it is only by [at] his men’s insistence that he allows her to remain. 

Being the only strangers in a company of men who have known each other for years, Brynd and Kivrin become instant friendship. [They become friendship? Either English isn't your 1st language, or you didn't read this very carefully.] Kivrin’s quick-thinking saves Rowan’s life, [Why was his life in danger?] and Rowan agrees to help her learn how to handle a sword as well as she handles knives and a bow. Brynd joins them and the three form a fierce bond. 

The company is attacked by the skcree, lizard-like humanoids, and are taken before the skcree overlord, where the company is shocked to discover Kivrin had been held prisoner there before. In an attempt to free her friends, Kivrin pushes the overlord over the edge of a ravine but falls with him. The company flees only to be trapped on the mountain’s edge. Kivrin survives her fall and races toward her companions. She sees the SANGUIS, the demon who killed Rowan’s sister and later imprisoned Kivrin. Rowan attacks the Sanguis but is defeated. Kivrin unwittingly summons dragons to save him. [If you do something unwittingly, you don't even realize you're doing it. Thus you don't have a reason for doing it.  So either delete "unwittingly" or "to save him."] The dragons bear the company away, not knowing Kivrin survived. [This reads like the dragons don't know Kivrin survived. They must know she survived, as she summoned them. Do you mean the company don't know she survived?] She awakens alone and speaks with a dragon who returned. Before Kivrin can escape, [From what?] she’s shot with a poisoned arrow. The dragon takes her to find the company, not knowing they had already moved on. 

The Sanguis reports to his master, THE PALE PRINCE, that his prize has fled. The Pale Prince orders the skcree to find her, with the words “I want my witch back.” 

[That's the end?]


Presumably this trip across the desert is Rowan's trip home. So start with his decision to cross the desert and go home, not with his arrival at his home.

 If your world has talking dragons and lizard-like humanoids and a demon, that probably gets mentioned early on, and should also be mentioned earlier than paragraph 4 in the synopsis.

You spend a lot of time on that long paragraph, but it comes across as a list of events without much elaboration on any of them. You don't have room to get that specific about one or two chapters. 

I would change the word skcree to either Skree or Scree.


Anonymous said...

About the synopsis:
Synopses are difficult. What you want isn't a list of plot points but to show the logical cause and effect of the story. A leads to B which leads to C interrupted by D and B' which leads to E sort of thing.

I get that this is supposed to be book one of a series, but (assuming you don't want to self publish, and if you do, why are you here?) this book needs to be and sound like a complete story that works by itself. You probably shouldn't be introducing an ALL CAPS significant character in the last paragraph or the next-to-last paragraph, with the possible exception of them being a shadowy figure we just haven't know the true identity of until then.

I was a bit surprised in para three to discover Rowan is traveling with a company of men who have known each other for years since the only other person previously mentioned was Brynd who it specifically states he didn't know. Or did he know him but not that they were cousins? Maybe a statement about Rowan and a small group of men he's known for years cross the desert together etc?

If Rowan is your main character, why is Kivrin doing all the saving at the end? It sounds like you switch focus part way through. If Kivrin is the hero for this book, the book, query, and synopsis should probably focus on her even if Rowan is the hero for the overall series.

Also, if you didn't/don't see the wording/grammar problems in this synopsis, you might want to ask someone who does see them to look at your book and point out problems.

Chicory said...

This synopsis sounds as if the book switches main characters halfway through. Also, it doesn't seem to have an ending. It is an interesting premise for a story.

KareBaer said...

Well I ran it through ProWritingAid but that clearly wasn't enough. "Friendship", ugh, I can't believe I missed that.

Rowan has to cross the wasteland to go from his house to the capital, and he hadn't known he had a cousin named Brynd until his father tells him. I've reworked that and added that he traveled with allies.

The summoning was unwitting as Kivrin didn't know what she was doing. I've added that she grew up in a foster home and didn't know her heritage, which was that she's part of the clan of summoners.

Yes it is a series and those are the final words of book 1. Not sure how to make it a full story when it ends up with the company separated. How would you summarize Fellowship of the Ring into a complete story? I'm not trying to be snarky, I just don't know how to make it a complete story in the summary.

The shadowy character was unknown up to that point. Kivrin knew who he was, but she wasn't telling anyone about why she knew. She gives the reader hints but her full story is not known until the next book.

Rowan and Kivrin are both main characters. Though Kivrin arrives later in the story, her role is significant.

Thanks for the feedback! I'm not sure when/if I'll ever get this right.

St0n3henge said...

This reads like a list of happenstances rather than a story. This happens, then that happens. You need more "because."
"Because he freed her from the ogre, she was able to use her powers to summon something-or-other that rescues all of them."
"Because the king of the dragons has been awakened, one of them will have to stay behind to keep him at bay while the others escape."

I don't like Rowan enlisting the help of his unreliable cousin. Why? Does his cousin have some secret connections that can get their group to the capital?
If KIVRIN can seriously help a group of young men fight, she doesn't sound too desperate for help herself.

There are really no plot twists here. Except for the stranger being a woman, which has been done many times including Disney movies, I can't see anything that would really take me by surprise.
For instance, if one of Rowan's company turned out to be disloyal, and it was not the sketchy cousin but somebody he really trusts, that would be something.

The company is shocked to find Kivrin has been held prisoner by the lizards before, but I'm not, since they seem the type that don't take to outsiders. (Come to think about it, why are they taken captive by the lizards? Nobody's allowed on their property? Typical reptiles and their "Don't tread on me" mentality.)

Why do they run into the demon on the mountain? Is that where it just happens to live?

Why did one dragon return?

Start over. Things need reasons for happening. If they don't happen for a reason, they shouldn't be in here.