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Saint's Rising (YA Historical Fiction) Draft #2


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#1 annallyson

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 09:39 PM

Update #2 (thanks ah_522):

 

Seventeen-year-old JEANNE D’ARC lives in  Domrémy, France. The year is 1429 and for nearly 100 years, France has been at war with England. On her birthday, angels appear to Jeanne. The angels tell her that the war is coming to an end, and unless she reaches the Dauphin of France in Chinon by summertime, France will fall. 

Shaken by the news, Jeanne returns to her family farm. Jeanne’s spirits are lifted when she gets a letter from her cousin DURAND. Durand is going home to Vaucouleurs. Jeanne realizes the commander of the army garrison in Vaucouleurs could give her permission to visit the royal court in Chinon.

    Jeanne runs away from home and meets Durand before he rides to Vaucouleurs. Durand agrees to take her with him but doesn’t know that Jeanne ran away, or that she plans on speaking to the garrison commander.

   Together, Jeanne and Durand reach Vaucouleurs. Jeanne realizes that in order to meet the garrison commander, she needs to have an escort. Jeanne tells Durand her true motives in coming Vaucouleurs. Durand agrees to go with Jeanne to meet the garrison commander. Jeanne and Durand meet COMMANDER BAUDRICOURT. Baudricourt instantly dismisses Jeanne’s visions as girlish fantasies.

    Jeanne is struck by a vision as she picks berries in the nearby woods. The angel Margret tells Jeanne that two lives hang in the balance and that Jeanne will know them as, “sunrise and burnished gold.” 

    Jeanne ponders this message as she walks through the woods. About a mile from town, Jeanne hears two soldiers arguing at the edge of a cliff. Jeanne realizes they one man has golden brown hair and one is a redhead, the color of burnished gold and the sunrise. Jeanne remembers the angel’s message and believes these two are the lives she must save.

    Jeanne shouts at the soldiers to get away from the ledge just as the cliff beneath them crumbles away. They are narrowly saved from death by Jeanne’s warning.

    The soldiers are BERTRAND DE POULENGY and JEAN DE METZ. Since Jeanne was able to predict that the cliff they were standing on would fall, Jean and Bertrand believe that Jeanne’s visions are true. 

    While riding with Durand and Bertrand, Jeanne falls from her horse. Jeanne hits her head and has a vision of a battle unfolding in Orléans. She watches as French and Scottish troops attack a small English brigade. Though the English are greatly outnumbered, they pull off an upset victory. 

Jeanne tells Durand and Bertrand about the battle she witnessed. Bertrand confirms that the details Jeanne told him match the description of a similar battle that is being waged in Orléans. Bertrand and Jean decide that Jeanne must tell Commander Baudricourt about her vision. There may still be time to prevent the magnificent loss. 

     Jeanne tells Commander Baudricourt about her vision. With no other rational explanation, Baudricourt assumes that his squire, Jean, told Jeanne the details of the battle in order to trick him. The commander tells Jeanne that if she tells anyone else the details of the battle she will be thrown in the stocks and Jean will be charged with treason. 

    A few days later the garrison receives word from Orléans. The battle unfolded just as Jeanne said it would. Baudricourt has to accept that Jeanne’s visions are true, since nobody could have guessed the specifics of the battle before it happened. He agrees to escort her to Chinon.

    The journey to Chinon is eleven days of hard riding through hostile Burgundian territory. Jeanne is immediately harassed by a man named ANATOLE. Anatole resents Jeanne’s presence in the garrison as she is a woman, and he thinks Jean and Bertrand received their positions due to family privilege rather than their skill as soldiers. 

    As the army moves towards Chinon, injured soldiers in Jeanne’s presence heal remarkably quickly. Rumor sweeps the army that Jeanne is a healer, and her already burgeoning fame grows. Right before they reach Chinon, the garrison is attacked by what appears to be bandits. In the midst of battle, Jeanne is kidnapped by two unknown men.

    Jeanne learns that the bandits weren’t in fact bandits, but officers in the English army. Anatole made a deal with their general. In trade for giving them Jeanne and turning over the French’s battle plans, Anatole will receive lands and generous compensation in England.

    That night, Jeanne attempts to escape from her captors. She manages to break free from her ties and retrieves the knife hidden in her boot. However, as she sneaks away from camp she encounters Anatole who was keeping guard in the woods nearby. Anatole grabs Jeanne and she stabs him. Anatole dies and Jeanne makes a break for it.

As she wanders through the woods, Jeanne encounters Bertrand and Jean, who have come to rescue her. Jeanne tells them that Anatole was a traitor, and they agree they must kill Jeanne’s remaining kidnappers to keep the English from learning French plans. 

    Jeanne, Bertrand, and Jean make a plan to ambush their enemies. However, Bertrand is gravely injured in the battle. Jean and Jeanne rush Bertrand to a nearby town. Miraculously, Bertrand survives.

    Jeanne, Bertrand, and Jean return to the French garrison as heroes. The next day the garrison arrives at Chinon. As Jeanne looks up at the royal palace, she cannot believe she has made it so far. She began her seventeenth year as a delusional girl and finally she is vindicated.  

 

 

Version #1:

 

Seventeen-year-old JEANNE D’ARC lives in  Domrémy, France. The year is 1429 and for nearly 100 years, France has been at war with England. On her birthday, angels appear to Jeanne. The angels tell her that the war is coming to an end, and unless she reaches the Dauphin of France in Chinon by summertime, France will fall. 
   
Shaken by the news, Jeanne returns to her family farm. Jeanne’s spirits are lifted when she gets a letter from her cousin DURAND. Durand is going home to Vaucouleurs. Jeanne realizes there is an army garrison in Vaucouleurs. The commander of the garrison could give Jeanne permission to visit the royal court in Chinon.
 
Jeanne makes a plan to run away from home and meet Durand before he rides to Vaucouleurs. Durand agrees to take her with him but doesn’t know that Jeanne’s real intentions are to convince the garrison commander to take her to Chinon. 
 
Together, Jeanne and Durand reach Vaucouleurs. Jeanne realizes that in order to meet the garrison commander, she needs to have an escort. Jeanne decides to tell Durand her true motives in coming Vaucouleurs. Durand agrees to go with Jeanne to meet the garrison commander. 
   
Jeanne and Durand meet COMMANDER BAUDRICOURT. Baudricourt is instantly put off by Jeanne. He thinks she is too outspoken for a woman and dismisses her visions as girlish fantasies.
   
Jeanne is struck by a vision as she picks berries in the nearby woods. The angel Margret tells Jeanne that two lives, “dangle over the edge of death” and that Jeanne will know them as, “sunrise and burnished gold.” 
 
Jeanne ponders this message as she walks through the woods. About a mile from town, Jeanne hears two soldiers arguing at the edge of a cliff. Jeanne realizes they one man has golden brown hair and one is a redhead, the color of burnished gold and the sunrise. Jeanne remembers the angel’s message and believes these two are the lives she must save.
   
Jeanne shouts at the soldiers to get away from the ledge just as the cliff beneath them crumbles away. They are narrowly saved from death by Jeanne’s warning.
   
The soldiers are BERTRAND DE POULENGY and JEAN DE METZ. Jean is Commander Baudricourt’s squire and heard his master call Jeanne crazy. Jeanne is offended, and runs back to the manor, accidentally forgetting her berry basket in her haste. 
   
When Durand returns to the manor that night, Bertrand and Jean are with him. The soldiers believe that Jeanne’s visions are true since she was able to predict that the cliff they were standing on would fall. Jeanne is shocked that someone finally believes her, and the soldiers become common supper guests at the manor.  
   
While they are riding with Durand and Bertrand, Jeanne falls from her horse. Jeanne hits her head, and when she wakes up she is in Orléans. Nobody can see or hear Jeanne, but she is able to watch a battle unfold. She watches as French and Scottish troops attack a small English brigade. Though the English are greatly outnumbered, they pull off an upset victory. 
   
Jeanne wakes up for the second time, and she is back in Vaucouleurs. Jeanne tells Durand and Bertrand about the battle she witnessed. Bertrand confirms that the details Jeanne told him matches the description of a similar battle that is being waged in Orléans. Bertrand and Jean decide that Jeanne must tell Commander Baudricourt about her vision. There may still be time to prevent the magnificent loss. 
     
Jeanne tells Commander Baudricourt about her vision. With no other rational explanation, Baudricourt assumes that his squire, Jean, told Jeanne the details of the battle in order to trick him. The commander tells Jeanne that if she tells anyone else the details of the battle she will be thrown in the stocks and Jean will be charged with treason. 
   
A few days later the garrison receives word from Orléans. The battle unfolded just as Jeanne said it would. Baudricourt has to accept that Jeanne’s visions are true since nobody could have guessed the specifics of the battle. He agrees to escort her to Chinon.
   
The journey to Chinon is eleven days of hard riding through hostile Burgundian territory. Jeanne is immediately harassed by a man named ANATOLE. Anatole resents Jeanne’s presence in the garrison and thinks Jean and Bertrand received their position due to family privilege rather than their skill as soldiers. 
   
As the army moves towards Chinon, injured soldiers in Jeanne’s presence heal remarkably quickly. Rumor sweeps the army that Jeanne is a healer, and her already burgeoning fame grows. Right before they reach Chinon, the garrison is attacked by what appears to be bandits. In the midst of battle, Jeanne is kidnapped by two unknown men.
   
Jeanne learns that the bandits weren’t in fact bandits, but officers in the English army. Anatole made a deal with their general. In trade for giving them Jeanne and turning over the French’s battle plans, Anatole will receive lands and generous compensation in England.
   
That night Jeanne escapes as her captors sleep. She wanders, hurt and lost through the woods until she encounters Bertrand and Jean, who have come to rescue her. Jeanne tells them that Anatole is a traitor, and they agree they must kill him and Jeanne’s kidnappers to keep the English from learning French plans. 
   
Jeanne, Bertrand, and Jean make a plan to ambush their enemies. However, Bertrand is gravely injured in the battle. Jean and Jeanne rush Bertrand to a nearby town. Miraculously, Bertrand survives.
   
Jeanne, Bertrand, and Jean return to the French garrison as heroes. They tell the story of how they stopped Anatole and the enemy soldiers. The next day the garrison arrives at Chinon, where they receive a welcome Jeanne never expected. As Jeanne looks up at the royal palace, she cannot believe she has made it so far. She began her seventeenth year as a delusional girl, and finally, she is vindicated.  

If anyone has a moment and wants to be very kind, take a look at my query or synopsis! 

 

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...orical-fiction/

Query: http://agentquerycon...-updated-52616/


#2 ah_522

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Posted 02 June 2016 - 07:43 PM

Hi annallyson,

 

Sorry for the late return crit!

 

 

This is my first stab at a synopsis. Any feedback is most appreciated. Of course, I would like to return the favor. 

 

_______________________________

 

Seventeen-year-old JEANNE D’ARC lives in  Domrémy, France. The year is 1429 and for nearly 100 years, France has been at war with England. On her birthday, angels appear to Jeanne. The angels tell her that the war is coming to an end, and unless she reaches the Dauphin of France in Chinon by summertime, France will fall. 
   
Shaken by the news, Jeanne returns to her family farm. Jeanne’s spirits are lifted when she gets a letter from her cousin DURAND. Durand is going home to Vaucouleurs, where (every word counts in a synopsis, so try to shorten and get to the point). Jeanne realizes there is an army garrison there in Vaucouleurs. The commander of the garrison could give Jeanne permission to visit the royal court in Chinon. (So here's what I don't get. Why doesn't she go straight to Chinon then? If this is so important, then why is she taking a detour? This seems like a HUGE question to me. Why should the reader remain invested in the story if she's taking so many detours along the way instead of going for the most important thing, which is ensuring France doesn't fall?)
 
Jeanne makes a plan to run away from home and meet Durand before he rides to Vaucouleurs. Durand agrees to take her Jeanne with him but doesn’t know that Jeanne’s real intentions are to convince the garrison commander to take her to Chinon. (You are allowed to be as bare bones as possible in a synopsis when it comes to providing details as long as the story/synopsis makes sense.)
 
Together, Jeanne and Durand reach Vaucouleurs. Jeanne realizes that in order to meet the garrison commander, she needs to have an escort. Jeanne decides to tell Durand her true motives in coming Vaucouleurs. Durand agrees to go with Jeanne to meet the garrison commander. (Honestly, the past two para can be combined into one short one. Durand agrees to take Jeanne to Vaucouleurs, and on the way, she reveals her motives. Durand agrees...etc)
   
Jeanne and Durand meet COMMANDER BAUDRICOURT. Baudricourt is instantly put off by Jeanne. He thinks she is too outspoken for a woman and dismisses her visions as girlish fantasies.
   
Jeanne is struck by a vision as she picks berries in the nearby woods. The angel Margret tells Jeanne that two lives, “dangle over the edge of death” and that Jeanne will know them as, “sunrise and burnished gold.” 
 
Jeanne ponders this message as she walks through the woods. About a mile from town, Jeanne hears two soldiers arguing at the edge of a cliff. Jeanne realizes they one man has golden brown hair and one is a redhead, the color of burnished gold and the sunrise. Jeanne remembers the angel’s message and believes these two are the lives she must save.
   
Jeanne shouts at the soldiers to get away from the ledge just as the cliff beneath them crumbles away. They are narrowly saved from death by Jeanne’s warning.
   
The soldiers are BERTRAND DE POULENGY and JEAN DE METZ. Jean is Commander Baudricourt’s squire and heard his master call Jeanne crazy. Jeanne is offended, and runs back to the manor, accidentally forgetting her berry basket in her haste. (I read through your whole synopsis before I started critiquing. I don't see the point of these two side characters or this sub-plot. Your synopsis is supposed to just be the main plot, and these two people don't have a big importance as it seems. It might just be better to sum them up as two people Jeanne save.
 
Remember, you shouldn't have more than 3-4 characters named in a synopsis. The general rules are the MC, the LI, and villain.)
   
When Durand returns to the manor that night, Bertrand and Jean are with him. The soldiers believe that Jeanne’s visions are true since she was able to predict that the cliff they were standing on would fall. Jeanne is shocked that someone finally believes her, and the soldiers become common supper guests at the manor.  
   
While they are riding with Durand and Bertrand, Jeanne falls from her horse. Jeanne hits her head, and when she wakes up she is in Orléans. Nobody can see or hear Jeanne, but she is able to watch a battle unfold. She watches as French and Scottish troops attack a small English brigade. Though the English are greatly outnumbered, they pull off an upset victory. 
   
Jeanne wakes up for the second time, and she is back in Vaucouleurs. Jeanne tells Durand and Bertrand about the battle she witnessed. Bertrand confirms that the details Jeanne told him matches the description of a similar battle that is being waged in Orléans. Bertrand and Jean decide that Jeanne must tell Commander Baudricourt about her vision. There may still be time to prevent the magnificent loss. (Again, shorten your synopsis to the bare minimum. If this vision is important, just say that in one sentence. You don't want your synopsis to go over 2 pages, and it's kinda close to that. Most synopses agents ask for are on the short side, and this is way too long already.)
     
Jeanne tells Commander Baudricourt about her vision. With no other rational explanation, Baudricourt assumes that his squire, Jean, told Jeanne the details of the battle in order to trick him. The commander tells Jeanne that if she tells anyone else the details of the battle she will be thrown in the stocks and Jean will be charged with treason. 
   
A few days later the garrison receives word from Orléans. The battle unfolded just as Jeanne said it would. Baudricourt has to accept that Jeanne’s visions are true since nobody could have guessed the specifics of the battle. He agrees to escort her to Chinon.
   
The journey to Chinon is eleven days of hard riding through hostile Burgundian territory. On the journey to Chinon, Jeanne is immediately harassed by a man named ANATOLE. Anatole resents Jeanne’s presence in the garrison because of what? She's a woman? and thinks Jean and Bertrand received their position due to family privilege rather than their skill as soldiers
   
As the army moves towards Chinon, injured soldiers in Jeanne’s presence heal remarkably quickly. Rumor sweeps the army that Jeanne is a healer, and her already burgeoning fame grows. Right before they reach Chinon, the garrison is attacked by what appears to be bandits. In the midst of battle, Jeanne is kidnapped by two unknown men.
   
Jeanne learns that the bandits are weren’t in fact bandits, but officers in the English army. Anatole made a deal with their general. In trade for giving them Jeanne and turning over the French’s battle plans, Anatole will receive lands and generous compensation in England.
   
That night Jeanne escapes back to the garrison as her captors sleep. She wanders, hurt and lost through the woods until she encounters Bertrand and Jean, who have come to rescue her. Jeanne tells them that Anatole is a traitor, and they agree they must kill him and Jeanne’s kidnappers to keep the English from learning French plans. 
   
Jeanne, Bertrand, and Jean make a plan to ambush their enemies. However, Bertrand is gravely injured in the battle. Jean and Jeanne rush Bertrand to a nearby town. Miraculously, Bertrand survives. (Again, side plot. Not important to the main story.)
   
Jeanne, Bertrand, and Jean return to the French garrison as heroes. They tell the story of how they stopped Anatole and the enemy soldiers. The next day the garrison arrives at Chinon, where they receive a welcome Jeanne never expected. As Jeanne looks up at the royal palace, she cannot believe she has made it so far. She began her seventeenth year as a delusional girl, and finally, she is vindicated.  

 

 

I'm going to leave this here for you, because this is super important in writing a synopsis and a good piece of advice for how to write one:

 

http://www.publishin...-page-synopsis/

 

My other issue with this (and dogsbody touched upon this before) is that this really doesn't feel YA aside from the age. The traditional themes in YA aren't here, and this story feels...idk, dry? (I'm missing the right word here.)

 

I'm also going to be harsh with you a bit (and I apologise in advance), but what's my incentive to read this story? I grew up reading non-fiction about Jeanne d'Arc and learning about her in Bible study classes. She's an insanely popular figure to write about in plenty of literature (both fic and non fic). I've seen a lot of art with her in it in the Vatican, Louvre, and other musea. Although you're trying to revitalize and reinterpret a major character in history (major, major brownie points to you for doing this), this is all stuff that anyone can wiki or google and see.

 

I think you should ask yourself if you're writing a YA story with a hagiographical character EVERYONE knows about, how do you make your story unique in a way that will attract an agent's attention so they don't think "same old, same old."

 

Sorry for the harsh words. =(

 

Good luck with your story, and I hope I've helped in some way.



#3 annallyson

annallyson

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 05:05 PM

Harsh is fine! Thank for your comments. :) I've updated. 


If anyone has a moment and wants to be very kind, take a look at my query or synopsis! 

 

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...orical-fiction/

Query: http://agentquerycon...-updated-52616/





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