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SF/Fantasy synopsis help! onpinions? REVISION BELOW!!

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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auntiebebo22

Down into the swirling abyss of the storm-ravaged sea Craig sank. Mercifully unconcious, he has no concept of time and space as unknown forces transport him to a new reality. Destined to battle evil, his time has not yet come.
He awakes to find himself stuffed into the back of a covered wagon with no clear memory of how he got there. He soon discovers he is no longer in his own world, but one of strange beauty and unknown perils. It is not until he discovers new and wonderous abilities does he start to adjust to this new world.
Meanwhile, in the grand hall of the king of Marnock, the royal princess argues fruitlessly with her father before slipping away to begin a dangerous trek that will take her hundreds of miles through enemy territory.
On the outskirts of the Tor desert, lies the city of Thogar, heart of the religious order known as the Priests of Gar. Here, a quiet, solemn priest interupts midnight mass with a vision of hope and dread.
That same evening, Baaran, dark lord, and head of the Shul(sect of black sorcerers) also has a vision. One he has waited a lifetime for.
Completely unaware that his recent retirement will not last until spring, Boork, former Castellean of the Clave of Meest, walks the battlements of an ancient castle reliving his bloody past.
Within a few weeks those who come to be known as the saviors of Murrk; discover themselves, battle the evil minions of of the Shul known as the Dark Riders, fend off common thugs, and survive attacks by fierce timberlions.
The saviors, with a little help, triumph over lord Baaran. However, they realize their quest has only begun. For they have less than two years to discover how to stop the Nameless One, the embodiment of evil worshipped by the Shul, from coming and enslaving all of Murrk.


Thank you for your time.
 

Nyki27

Re: SF/Fantasy synopsis help! onpinions needed pleeeeaaase!

First of all, it's quite short and generalised for a synopsis, if it's of a novel. Different publishers/agents want different amounts, but most say 3-4 pages. It's generally as well to write it in more "matter-of-fact" language, too - not completely soulless, but your sample chapters will be where you sell your style. And it's not clear whether the ending of your synopsis is the end of volume one, but you should always go right up to the end of your novel - a lot of publisher's guidelines specify quite forcefully that you shouldn't try to tease them by leaving out information.

Perhaps the best way of writing a synopsis is, firstly, try to sum up in a sentence or two what the novel is about. Eg This is a fantasy novel set in a world that is x, y & z, about [insert your main themes here]. Then decide who are the principal characters (no more than three or four) and write a sentence or two about each - who they are, chief characteristics, motivations. Also indicate who is the main POV character.

Then write a matter-of-fact account of all the main events chapter by chapter. Don't worry at this stage about how long it is. Then start editing it down to the appropriate length, deciding which events are central and which can be ignored, and linking together related events that may appear in different chapters (eg dealing with the whole of a subplot in one go). Then go through it again, to make sure it reads smoothly and logically.

This is all something most of learn by painful experience, so good luck with it.
 

Terra Aeterna

Re: SF/Fantasy synopsis help! onpinions needed pleeeeaaase!

Synopses are evil. I recommend "Your Novel Proposal" by Camenson and Cook. There's some great links somewhere around here, maybe in the Novels thread? (Sorry, I'm feeling a bit lazy at the moment or I'd dig them out for you!)

Here is the book on Amazon:

www.amazon.com/exec/obido...s&n=507846
 

HConn

Re: SF/Fantasy synopsis help! onpinions needed pleeeeaaase!

I didn't read past the first sentence.

I suggest you simplify.
 

veingloree

Re: SF/Fantasy synopsis help! onpinions needed pleeeeaaase!

It feel more like a blurb than a synopisis. A short synopsis should probably be in a single paraghraph, dry language and outlining the major twists in the plot including describing the ending. It depends on exactly what your publisher has asked for.
 

auntiebebo22

Re: SF/Fantasy synopsis help! onpinions needed pleeeeaaase!

Thank you all for your time and advice. This was a cut down of my original, which was 4 pages long and i felt too detailed... sigh... will try again.:grin
 

auntiebebo22

Re: SF/Fantasy synopsis help! onpinions needed pleeeeaaase!

:bang REVISION :bang

This story begins on a luxury yacht caught in a tropical storm. While struggling to aid the crew Craig Thurman is swept overboard.
He awakes in a strange new world... the country of Ohr, on the planet Murrk. A world ruled by sword and sorcerery, where horse-like "whynn" are not only intelligent, but have peacock-like tails with retractable razor sharp talons capable of beheading an enemy in battle. Although incapable of human speech they are telepathic with their own kind, and many are known to convey a rather dry sense of humor.
Craig soon makes two startling discoveries, first, his coming was foretold over 500 years earlier, by a powerful sorcerer known as "Corrik the Red"... a prophecy filled with hope and dread. And secondly, he begins to display abilities he never would could have dreamed of.
Soon he is joined by Boork, a battle scarred hero of past wars, who comes out of his recent retirement to become Craig's mentor and the second of four named in the prophecy. Together they set off to find the others who turn out to be a princess from Ohr's enemy kingdom of Marnock, and a quiet and solemn priest.
Once together the four convince the two kings to set aside their past grievences and join forces to battle the army of the Sakka ( a sect of black sorcerers), who had been gaining strength since their last defeat (by Corrik the Red) 500 years earlier. Lead by the evil Lord Baaran and his high council members, the Sakka are to prepare the way for the coming of their evil god "The Nameless One", who they have worshipped since the dawn of time.
As the story unfolds you find many twists... Is Master "Q" really a high council member of the Sakka? Baaran thinks so... and discovers too late that "Q" is his own master.
Is Craig the first and only traveler from earth? We come to find out that "Corrik the Red" is Craig's great, great, great... grandfather, and Craig notices many earthly "marks" upon this world as he travels through it.
What role could a young love struck thief have in saving Murrk? We find out in the end.
As you near the end of the story, the saviors find they must sneak into a city controlled by the Sakka, into the very manor of Lord Baaran and retrieve the mythical robe of Corrik the Red. However before they have fought their way through the entrance hall, a servant finds Baaran and warns him. Baraan heads off Craig, and seperated from the other saviors, He finds himself battling for his life. Finally when Craig fears all is lost the love struck little theif shows up with the robe, having followed the saviors without their knowledge. Donning the robe, Craig is infused with power and is finally able to defeat Baaran.
The victory celebration, however, is brief. As our story concludes, the saviors find they have less then two years to find away to stop "The Nameless One" from coming and enslaving all of Murrk. :head
 

Ravenlocks01

I got to the third sentence of the revised synop...

We don't need all those details. Just tell us what happens. Craig lands in a mysterious new world where he has to achieve such and such goal or else such and such terrible thing will happen, and he achieves such and such goal by doing such and such. I mean, tell us more than that, but leave out the stormy ship and the crew and the whynns and blah blah blah. Just the facts, ma'am. Facts and main characters (who should be a manageable number like four or so).

And don't be coy. No questions for your readers, no "we find out at the end" (okay, so I did skim a little after I quit reading). Tell us what we find out.

The goal of this thing is to prove you can write a compelling story and the agent/editor should be interested in the book. So prove it.
 

maestrowork

Re: SF/Fantasy synopsis help! onpinions needed pleeeeaaase!

Also cut out verbiage such as "The story begins... " or "As the story unfolds..."

Use precise words: strong verbs and nouns. Cut out any unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. And yes, don't be coy about your plot twist or ending. That's your "selling point." So sell it.

Some suggestions:

This story begins on a luxury yacht caught in a tropical storm.
Just cut to the chase: "During a tropical storm..."

While struggling to aid the [yacht] crew, Craig Thurman is swept overboard.
Tell us who Craig Thurman is in the real life. Judging from the luxury yacht, he could be the owner, or the captain. We don't know. Give us a little description: a billionaire?


He awakes in a strange new world... the country of Ohr, on the planet Murrk.

Can be shortened: "He awakes in the country of Ohr, on the planet Murrk -- a strange new world of sword and sorcerery."


A world ruled by sword and sorcerery, where horse-like "whynn" are not only intelligent, but have peacock-like tails with retractable razor sharp talons capable of beheading an enemy in battle. Although incapable of human speech they are telepathic with their own kind, and many are known to convey a rather dry sense of humor.

Too much details here that is not relevant to the plot. We want to read how the plot. Leave the settings to your actual story.

Craig soon makes two startling discoveries, first, his coming was foretold over 500 years earlier, by a powerful sorcerer known as "Corrik the Red"... a prophecy filled with hope and dread. And secondly, he begins to display abilities he never would could have dreamed of.

Again, shorten: Craig discovers his coming has been a prophecy, foretold by the powerful sorcerer "Corrik the Red." He also begins to display magical abilities he never dreamed of. (tell us what kind of abilities, please)

Soon he is joined by Boork, a battle scarred hero of past wars, who comes out of his recent retirement to become Craig's mentor and the second of four named in the prophecy.

Again, shorten this.


Once together the four convince the two kings to set aside their past grievences and join forces to battle the army of the Sakka ( a sect of black sorcerers), who had been gaining strength since their last defeat (by Corrik the Red) 500 years earlier. Lead by the evil Lord Baaran and his high council members, the Sakka are to prepare the way for the coming of their evil god "The Nameless One", who they have worshipped since the dawn of time.


You can do better than this. The whole paragraph is convoluted.


As the story unfolds you find many twists... Is Master "Q" really a high council member of the Sakka? Baaran thinks so... and discovers too late that "Q" is his own master. Is Craig the first and only traveler from earth?

Never be coy in your synopsis. Of course there will be many plot twists -- that's what set your story apart from all the other "save the world" fantasies. But tell us what those twists are. And DO NOT use questions. Just tell us.


We come to find out that "Corrik the Red" is Craig's great, great, great... grandfather, and Craig notices many earthly "marks" upon this world as he travels through it.
What role could a young love struck thief have in saving Murrk? We find out in the end.


Of course we find out... and what's with all the ellipses? Do you not know how many generations? Say it, like 13th generation. And NEVER say things like "we will find out in the end." Tell us precisely.

The rest is more of the same. Shorten. Make it concise. Cut out the "as we near the end" or "We soon find out," etc.
 

auntiebebo22

Re: SF/Fantasy synopsis help! onpinions needed pleeeeaaase!

I want to thank everyone for their wonderful advice! I will post the second re-write soon!
 
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