Synopsis - Mayhem

Discussion in 'Critiques' started by AnyaKimlin, Dec 7, 2011.

  1.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    Once my flu is over I'll get round to looking at work and critiquing. Been a bit intimidated. You guys are the best on the web for it :) - Decided to bite the bullet and this is my synopsis. Any feedback welcome - I am aware my punctuation is a work in progress. (After 13 years between university and writing, I'd forgotten what a full stop was).

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    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Mayhem is a young-adult, high fantasy set on the fictional planet of Litae at the heart of the universe, and follows the story of a seventeen-year-old boy, named Angus, who inherits the throne of Covesea Island. The book is set in a time period roughly contemporary to 2011, but with some different constraints placed on the planet by its location, history, resources and peoples.
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    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Prince Angus Lorenzo has inherited his father's and grandfather's genius intelligence, but he prefers to think with his fists. A fight at school lands him in serious trouble, and the headmaster wants him expelled. His dreams of becoming an astronaut are over. With a troubled mind he meditates for the first time in years. While he is in a trance the Abbot of the Order of the Sea appears in his bedroom. He tells Angus that his life has just changed, and hands him a book detailing the traditional education of princes of the island. A way of life Angus\' father, being a man of science had rejected. Angus is woken in the middle of the night to be told that his father is dead, and his older brother is missing. The clueless, rebellious teen is the king of Covesea Island with millions of people in his care.[/FONT]
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    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif] The Universal Father has indigestion. Litae the planet that forms his heart has seen the vital mind-link between the elemental abbots and kings flat-line. The Lukas Combination is a society formed by Angus\' grandfather in order to gain control over the Universal Father and thus have power over all living things. When he died his granddaughter, Princess Evelyn, took over as head of the organisation. Evelyn killed her father, and tried to kill her brother Angus, but the attempted poisoning was unsuccessful. The combination need Angus dead, so that Evelyn can become queen, and she recruits her teenage son, Qing, a trained Combination assassin to do the job.[/FONT]
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    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif] The people close to Angus open his eyes to the problems he will face as king, and he discovers they have kept secrets about their lives and ability to use the islands energy streams for \'magical\' purposes, because various laws would condemn them to death if discovered. The Abbot is living with Uncle Tom, and is the real father of Angus\' girlfriend, Beatrice. Angus feels he doesn\'t know who he is anymore, and not one person he thought he was close to is the same. Any confidence the teen had before is gone.
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    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Once introduced to the traditional learning of Princes there is no holding Angus back who becomes the first monarch in a very long time to establish the universe\'s balancing mind link with the Abbot. He also achieves the birdform of the monarch of Covesea Island, the Great White Falcon. Angus nicknames the falcon, Mayhem.[/FONT]
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    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif] The beautiful Beatrice bullies Angus into marrying her, and together with the Abbot they go into battle to bring the military back under control of the crown. With new found confidence in himself , Angus goes against advice to order the kidnap of their president\'s daughter and mother. The gamble pays off, and the President offers to maintain peace between the two countries, if Angus will protect his daughter from the Lukas Combination. The President is unable to escape from their grasp and worries about the effect his new wife, Princess Evelyn, will have on the two people he cares most about.[/FONT]
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    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif] The hard work is paying off, and life for the royal couple, Angus and Beatrice, and the island is starting to look more positive and hopeful. A countrywide street celebration greets the glorious coronation of King Angus and Queen Beatrice, but it is slightly marred by the young assassin trying once more; he is arrested. A few months later the royal couple welcome Baby Oren into the world.[/FONT]
  2.  
    Hex

    Hex Mod in tooth and claw Staff Member

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    Right. I got lots of excellent comments on the last thing I posted in critiques (including an indepth discussion of the meaning of 'crevasse') so I feel I owe the system. Sorry!

    As a disclaimer -- I know vey little about synopses. Teresa has a good post on them in her blog, if that helps?

    I read this quite quickly because I should be doing othr things, and got a bit confused. I've written down where I got confused hoping it might be useful for you to know. I like the sound of the story, though. Unlike other people I rather like the sound of Angus (but then I like heroes who might be described as 'sensitive').

    I don't really like this as a beginning. I wonder if the defining stuff ('Mayhem' is a young adult....') should go in the query letter rather than the synopsis? I didn't understand what the relevance or accuracy of 'at the heart of the universe' was -- do they think they are? are they really? why does it matter?

    I didn't like 'The book is set...' sentence at all.

    (sorry, I'm aware I'm being a bit negative. I promise I'm trying to be helpful -- and these were things that worried me).

    I thought the story really started with the next paragraph:


    I don't much like the last paragraph. I think it comes over as 'happily ever after' at length. That could well just be me being odd, though.
  3.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    Please be honest :) It's only when I don't understand comments I struggle.

    You are right and I can see ways to make it clearer. They are actually the heart of the universe - I wasn't sure how to get it into the synopsis. Basically the universe is the body of the Universal Father and the planet forms like an internal organ function. All the energy flows to it to be cleansed and then flows out the rest of the universe. It's sort of the heart, kidneys and womb.

    Maybe need to drop all that and bring out Evelyn more. Thanks.
  4.  
    alchemist

    alchemist Not on holidays

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    I know less about synopses than Hex (far less) so take anything I say with a bucket of salt.

    It sounds complex and very interesting. Hopefully you'll get it out there soon.
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    chrispenycate

    chrispenycate resident pedantissimo Staff Member

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    Since this is fantasy I will not go into the fact that, given the relatively standard 'big bang' theory, any point in space time can be taken (accurately) as the centre of expansion of the universe; you should not imagine it expanding from just one geographical location. Given that, to stop some truly extraordinary geometric manipulations, only a planet with its sun orbiting round it, and the stars on a crystal dome surrounding it, can work as an adequate epicentre.
    Comma
    Possibly "which" rather than "and"?
    try to avoid the two "set in"s this close.
    Comma
    Comma
    Comma
    Comma
    Comma
    Is this "they" the same people who are opening his eyes?
    Island's? Islands'? Anyway, you need a possessive apostrophe.
    this was?
    I don't know why every time there should be a ' apostrophe it is joined by a \ backslash. Ho hum. I'm sure it's not like that in your original.
    had had
    if you put this "back" before the "Angus" the "who" works; otherwise, not.
    put this comma after the "and"
    Comma
    no comma
    whose
    As punctuated, Angus and Beatrice are different from "the royal couple".
  6.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    Thanks for the commas and other catches. The backslash isn't my doing beyond not checking it after pasting. I sometimes end up with // in my main works from a chatroom I work in (if we paste work in there it shows paragraph changes)- those things have proved to be like christmas tree pine needles to remove.

    There's a reason it's fantasy - however the sun does rotate round it (the whole universe does) and it is encased in a dome, but of a material only found on that world :) The dome is beyond the scope of this story and not yet understood though. (I do have part of an astronomy degree however based the science more on He-Man. It was not deliberate, but my kids were watching the 1980s series incessantly when I wrote it and He-Man influences are quite strong, hence the falcon and wimpy blonde haired prince).
  7.  
    Hex

    Hex Mod in tooth and claw Staff Member

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    [/FONT]

    Not to go on and on, but this worried me. I think it's the relationship of the heart and the indigestion.

    I wondered about something along the lines of:

    Litae is the heart of the Universal Father, and it's causing him problems. X generations of scientifically-minded kings have severed the vital mind-link to the elemental abbots. [and this matters because:]
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    odangutan

    odangutan New Member

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    Why is the assassin called Qing when everyone else seems to have fairly Western names?
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    chrispenycate

    chrispenycate resident pedantissimo Staff Member

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    Oh, I wasn't worried about the star rotating round the planet, I'm sure that happens on lots of fantasy worlds (probably with lots of underground tunnels and a giant, fireproof dung beetle to get it back to "go" for the next day's traverse. Nor, however it may read, was I being condescending. I was just worried about the different physical laws this indicates, and the adaptation of people from contemporary Earth.

    Oh, and while I'm here; alliteration. Beauteous Beatrice's brutal bullying. Possibly find a synonym to break it up?
  10.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    I'm in the process of the rewrite taking out all of the things I realise make sense over 97K but in 700 words cannot be explained lol. Like Qing is an assassin which is a race of it's own - exactly how the whole us being god's body works etc
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    SJAB

    SJAB The storyteller

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    I would suggest you do a 250 word synopsis, a 500, and a 1000. Then, depending on the agents/publishers' requirements for their submission package you have all the bases covered. I would also prepare a 100, and 250 word pitch for those agents that state they only want a query letter.

    They have a section on http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/ which deals with crits for such. Always best to get as many opinions as possible before attempting a re-write.
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    odangutan

    odangutan New Member

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    If that's the case then I'm confused by this bit...
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    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    He has a father ;) and his father is an assassin, who named and raised him. Each race has their own naming system which became intermingled as people interbred.

    It was less odd when I had the Abbot and Beatrice's full names up.
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    Peter Graham

    Peter Graham New Member

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    Hi AK,

    Like Chesterton's rolling English road, I'm afraid that it rambles around too much.

    I think you could cut it by half and significantly improve it in the process.

    The point of the synopsis is to tell the plot. It's irrelevant to the plot that he is expelled, thinks with his fists or lives on a planet at the centre of the Universe.

    What is important is that a scrotty, ill-prepared teenager suddenly becomes king, that there are those who are seeking to kill him and that he is able to overcome those obstacles to navigate us all safely to the happy ending.

    With this in minnd, put nothing in the synopsis which doesn't directly answer one of the following questions:-

    1. Whose story is it?
    2. What does the hero(ine) want?
    3. What obstacles lie in his/her way?
    4. How does he/she overcome them?

    Regards,

    Peter
  15.  
    odangutan

    odangutan New Member

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    So Qing is a hybrid assassin?
  16.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    He's a half breed but it tends to be a dominant trait.
  17.  
    Tecdavid

    Tecdavid Verdentia's Gardener

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    Is this an official synopsis? The sort you would submit to an agent or publisher? If so, I think you'll need to sum things up a littler quicker and neater; a lot of concepts and ideas are introduced one after another quite hastily, so perhaps it'd be best to simply outline the main story, rather than every plot-point. Of course, I'm no expert on synopses either, so this is merely an opinion.
    The story itself, from what you've mentioned, does sound very interesting.

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