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Synopsis for Magical Thinking (Paranormal Romance): will return critique!

Fantasy Romance Offbeat/Quirky

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#1 Kat_A_Turner

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 12:27 PM

HELEN SCHRADER’s had a mental poltergeist—a voice in her head—ever since she attended a shaman ceremony that was supposed to show her the meaning of life. Painful poltergeist intrusions and epic dating fails frustrate Helen, and she turns to the occult to solve her problems.

 

She visits a magic store, learns she’s a mystic, and casts a spell to purge the poltergeist and deliver her soul mate.

           

Helen has a transcendental experience. Spirit entities inform Helen that she has a type of magic called object empathy: she can bond with select objects. Helen sees a vision of someone slitting a man’s throat, which disturbs and confuses her.

           

Helen blogs about her mystical experience. The post goes viral; added publicity brings success to the yoga studio she owns. To celebrate, she and her friend attend a concert. Helen meets BRIAN SHEPHERD, the band’s guitarist and her celebrity crush. She’s awestruck, then disappointed. He’s arrogant. His pick-up lines are spawns from hell. His artistic insights earn her respect, though, and he walks her home. A mutual attraction blooms. They plan to reconnect on one of his tour stops, and he leaves. The entities inform Helen that Brian is in danger and she has a spiritual quest to save him. While visiting Brian, she has a mystical experience involving her object empathy and his favorite guitar. This, along with a growing affection between her and Brian, commits Helen to her quest.

 

Brian reads the blog post and rejects Helen—he distrusts the occult. His manager, Joe, practices dark arts and blackmailed Brian into participating in rituals where the word sacrifice is spoken. He’s concerned Joe sent Helen as part of the occult scheme. Brian is devastated. He’s suffering from blocked creativity, and Helen’s presence unlocks his music. He overcomes his misgivings, begs forgiveness, and wins Helen back.

 

Another transcendental experience delivers Helen crucial information. Her spell brought forth unintended dark energy. Joe and his sinister cult sensed it. They believe sacrificing Brian—whom they mistakenly think is the magic source—will make them immortal. She relocates to Brian’s city and moves her studio there. A man tricks Helen into thinking that Brian’s unfaithful and gives her an object for extracting revenge. Helen learns the man lied, and she must keep her energy loving to save Brian. An encounter with her poltergeist shows her she must deliver the object to the cult. The object, if used properly, will distract them. Helen attends a concert with Brian and brings the object, hoping to gain access to the cult and stop the sacrifice. She goes incognito and infiltrates a dark ritual in the concert hall, where she learns the cult will commence the sacrifice that night. She produces the object and projects love into it. The cult calls off the sacrifice. Helen uses her disguise to escape and Brian is saved.

 

Brian proposes to Helen, confessing she’s his true love and muse. She accepts, and realizes that the meaning of life is universal love. Her poltergeist arrives, explaining that now that she’s discovered her life’s meaning, he can finally leave



#2 JeffJustWrites

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 01:49 PM

Interesting story, it sounds extremely personal. It's concise, which is nice. I particularly liked the "pickup lines...spawns from hell," really shows your voice. Other than that, I'd probably edit a few lines here and there for the sake of flow, but overall I think this is a solid synopsis.

Give mine a look-see? :smile: please and thanks

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#3 Kat_A_Turner

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 03:00 PM

Thanks! Headed over to read yours now. 



#4 Beth Kerring

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 10:19 PM

Honestly, I think this works really well as-is! I'm able to follow the plot without getting confused, and I can see how the chain of events follows from beginning to end. The only things I would change are, as JeffJustWrites suggested, smoothing out the flow a bit. I've marked some suggestions below. Nice work!

 

 

HELEN SCHRADER’s had a mental poltergeist—a voice in her head—ever since she attended a shaman ceremony that was supposed to show her the meaning of life. Painful poltergeist intrusions and epic dating fails frustrate Helen, and she turns to the occult to solve her problems.

 

(Maybe add this to the first paragraph?) She visits a magic store, learns she’s a mystic, and casts a spell to purge the poltergeist and deliver her soul mate.

           

Helen has a transcendental experience. Spirit entities inform Helen that she has a type of magic called object empathy: she can bond with select objects. Helen sees a vision of someone slitting a man’s throat, which disturbs and confuses her. (I feel like the name "Helen" is used a lot in this paragraph and the next. Maybe replace with just "she" in places?)

           

Helen blogs about her mystical experience. The post goes viral; added publicity brings success to the yoga studio she owns. To celebrate, she and her friend attend a concert. Helen meets BRIAN SHEPHERD, the band’s guitarist and her celebrity crush. She’s awestruck, then disappointed. He’s arrogant. His pick-up lines are spawns from hell. His artistic insights earn her respect, though, and he walks her home. A mutual attraction blooms. They plan to reconnect on one of his tour stops, and he leaves. The entities inform Helen that Brian is in danger and she has a spiritual quest to save him. While visiting Brian, she has a mystical experience involving her object empathy and his favorite guitar. This, along with a growing affection between her and Brian, commits Helen to her quest.

 

Brian reads the blog post and rejects Helen—he distrusts the occult. His manager, Joe, practices dark arts and blackmailed Brian into participating in rituals where the word sacrifice is spoken. He’s concerned Joe sent Helen as part of the occult scheme. (It seems like something should be here to bridge the before and after.) Brian is devastated. He’s suffering from blocked creativity, and Helen’s presence unlocks his music. He overcomes his misgivings, begs forgiveness, and wins Helen back.

 

Another transcendental experience delivers Helen crucial information. Her spell brought forth unintended dark energy. Joe and his sinister cult sensed it. They believe sacrificing Brian—whom they mistakenly think is the magic source—will make them immortal. She relocates to Brian’s city and moves her studio there. A man tricks Helen into thinking that Brian’s unfaithful and gives her an object for extracting revenge. Helen learns the man lied, and she must keep her energy loving to save Brian. An encounter with her poltergeist shows her she must deliver the object to the cult. The object, if used properly, will distract them. Helen attends a concert with Brian and brings the object, hoping to gain access to the cult and stop the sacrifice. She goes incognito and infiltrates a dark ritual in the concert hall, where she learns the cult will commence the sacrifice that night. She produces the object and projects love into it. The cult calls off the sacrifice. Helen uses her disguise to escape and Brian is saved.

 

Brian proposes to Helen, confessing she’s his true love and muse. She accepts, and realizes that the meaning of life is universal love. Her poltergeist arrives, explaining that now that she’s discovered her life’s meaning, he can finally leave



#5 thexman30

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 11:36 AM

Painful poltergeist intrusions and epic dating fails frustrate Helen, and she turns to the occult to solve her problems. She attends a shaman ceremony that was supposed to show her the meaning of life but ends up with a voice in her head - a mental poltergeist. Frustrated she visits a magic store, learns she’s a mystic. Spirit entities inform Helen that she has a type of magic called object empathy: she can bond with select objects.  She casts a spell to purge the poltergeist and deliver her soul mate. The entities also reveals a vision - she sees herself slitting a man's throat. Helen will kill. 



#6 thexman30

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 11:39 AM

Hi, I started editing your synopsis before I read it all. I had to stop where I did. It is not bad but there are some parts that need tying up. First question I have is 'what so the vision of her slitting a man's throat have to do with the rest of the story? I was hoping to see  that she killed someone to save her loved one. 



#7 Kat_A_Turner

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 01:30 PM

Got it. The vision is a glimpse into the future of him getting killed-what will happen if she doesn't stop it. I'll tinker with that part for maximum clarity and connection to the rest. Thanks!



#8 Monks

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 11:11 AM

This sounds like a really interesting story! The synopsis flows well and is pretty well written, in my opinion, but there are quite a few places where I feel like you just don't give enough information, so a lot of different plot points and character motivations feel disjointed. I can see where the connections might fit together, but a lot of it is too vague for me to know for sure, so it ends up feeling a bit confusing. I think you're close though. Just expanding on a few key points will bring everything you already have together, and I think this will be in really good shape then. Nice work! If you have a chance, I'd love if you could take a look at my synopsis as well!

 

HELEN SCHRADER’s had a mental poltergeist—a voice in her head—ever since she attended a shaman ceremony that was supposed to show her the meaning of life. Painful poltergeist intrusions and epic dating fails frustrate Helen, and she turns to the occult to solve her problems. This clause feels a bit too vague, not to mention unnecessary. The following sentence, where she visits the magic store, shows us in a much more vivid way that she's turning to the occult, so I think you can cut this clause entirely and probably combine the first and second paragraph.

 

She visits a magic store, learns she’s a mystic, and casts a spell to purge the poltergeist and deliver her soul mate. 

           

Helen has a transcendental experience. Spirit entities inform Helen that she has a type of magic called object empathy: she can bond with select objects. Helen sees a vision of someone slitting a man’s throat, which disturbs and confuses her. I'm starting to get a little lost here. The previous two paragraphs have felt a bit disjointed. First, she learns she's a mystic and casts a spell to purge the poltergeist. With you so far. Does the spell work or not? Still not sure. And then the spell is also supposed to deliver her soul mate, which kind of feels tacked on, but her "dating fails" are established in the previous paragraph, so I can still roll with it. But then the next paragraph is where it gets messy, in my opinion. First off, I think you can cut the first sentence. We see that she has a transcendental experience when you mention spirit entities, so no need to tell us about it first. So then we learn that she has this object empathy magic, but it's not really clear what that is. She can bond with select objects. What does bond mean here, and which "select" objects? Also, does this relate to the spell she used to purge the poltergeist, and if so, how? Or is this just another type of magic that she has? And then finally, she sees the vision, which also seems unrelated to her object empathy. There's just a lot going on in these two paragraphs, and I don't get a sense of how it all connects.

           

Helen blogs about her mystical experience. The post goes viral; added publicity brings success to the yoga studio she owns. To celebrate, she and her friend attend a concert. Helen meets BRIAN SHEPHERD, the band’s guitarist and her celebrity crush. She’s awestruck, then disappointed. He’s arrogant. His pick-up lines are spawns from hell. His artistic insights earn her respect, though, and he walks her home. A mutual attraction blooms. They plan to reconnect on one of his tour stops, and he leaves. The entities inform Helen that Brian is in danger and she has a spiritual quest to save him. While visiting Brian, she has a mystical experience involving her object empathy and his favorite guitar. This, along with a growing affection between her and Brian, commits Helen to her quest. Now I'm starting to get a sense of the story unfolding. Though I think you could expand just a little on her "mystical experience" involving Brian's guitar. At this point, I still don't have any good idea how her object empathy magic works, and it seems pretty central to the story.

 

Brian reads the blog post and rejects Helen—he distrusts the occult. His manager, Joe, practices dark arts and blackmailed Brian into participating in rituals where the word sacrifice is spoken. He’s concerned Joe sent Helen as part of the occult scheme. Brian is devastated. He’s suffering from blocked creativity, and Helen’s presence unlocks his music. He overcomes his misgivings, begs forgiveness, and wins Helen back. A good sense of plot progress here, but the motivations behind Brian's character development are unclear. I see two ways of looking at it. In the first case, you've simply said he "overcomes his misgivings." That's tantamount to saying "character development happens." I think you need to give a bit more detail here and show us what causes Brian's change of heart. The second way of looking at this is perhaps more cynical. It almost reads as if Brian realized that Helen was essentially a font of creativity for him, and so he tries to get her back for the selfish reason that she makes his music better, and he doesn't actually care about her. I doubt this is actually the case (though if it is, I would make it more explicit, because that's a huge turning point). But that is how it could be read, and it's actually the only motivation for Brian's change of heart that I can see in this paragraph.

 

Another transcendental experience delivers Helen crucial information. Again, just a little more specificity here. Is it the spirit entities from paragraph three? Or her own mental poltergeist? Reminder: at this point in the synopsis, I still don't know if she succeeded in purging the poltergeist. Her spell brought forth unintended dark energy. Joe and his sinister cult sensed it. They believe sacrificing Brian—whom they mistakenly think is the magic source—will make them immortal. She relocates to Brian’s city and moves her studio there. A man Just a random man? How does he connect to the rest of the story? What are his motivations for tricking Helen? This feels like it comes out of nowhere. tricks Helen into thinking that Brian’s unfaithful and gives her an object for extracting revenge. Helen learns the man lied, and she must keep her energy loving to save Brian. An encounter with her poltergeist shows her she must deliver the object to the cult. The object, if used properly, will distract them. Helen attends a concert with Brian and brings the object, hoping to gain access to the cult and stop the sacrifice. She goes incognito and infiltrates a dark ritual in the concert hall, where she learns the cult will commence the sacrifice that night. She produces the object and projects love into it. The cult calls off the sacrifice. Helen uses her disguise to escape and Brian is saved.

 

Brian proposes to Helen, confessing she’s his true love and muse. She accepts, and realizes that the meaning of life is universal love. Her poltergeist arrives, explaining that now that she’s discovered her life’s meaning, he can finally leave


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#9 dmsimone

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 12:38 PM

Hello I'm jumping in! I'd appreciate a look at my own synopsis. My comments are in blue, below.

1. Quite a bit of wordiness here and there. I made a number of suggestions - use whatever you like.

2. Be sure to stay in present tense.

3. Some things were not clear - I indicated those below.

4. I made some comments around theme and character arc.

 

 

HELEN SCHRADER’s had a mental poltergeist—a voice in her head—ever since she attended a shaman ceremony that was supposed to show her the meaning of life. Something about this opening sentence doesn't sound active. I think it's because you start in past tense, and then move to part perfect tense, and then go back to past tense. It is more confusing than compelling and I suggest you reword. Painful poltergeist intrusions and epic dating fails frustrate Helen, and she turns to the occult to solve her problems. OK, "Painful poltergeist intrusions and epic dating fails" would be an awesome opening line! It's voicey, it's short, and it hooks. Is this your QL opening? Totally move this up! Then put everything else after it - though, honestly, I don't know that you need to explain about the shaman ceremony, but will keep reading.

 

She visits a magic store, learns she’s a mystic, and casts a spell to purge the poltergeist and deliver her soul mate. Purge the poltergeist from what? Her mind? Her house? Her locker at school? Her IPhone?

           

Helen has a transcendental experience. Spirit entities inform Helen that she has a type of magic called object empathy: she can bond with select objects (and do what? and so what?). Helen sees a vision of someone slitting a man’s throat, which disturbs and confuses her (this sentence does not flow naturally from the comments about bonding with objects. I was expecting her to bond with an object to show how she uses her new power. It sounds like her vision might stem from that - but you need to show it)The first sentence here is like a thesis statement. You are telling me what you show me in the following sentences. Suggest you delete this and instead show in the follow on words. 

           

Helen blogs (plural) about her mystical experience. The posts goes viral; added publicity brings success to the yoga studio she owns. To celebrate, she and her friend attend a concert. Helen meets BRIAN SHEPHERD, the band’s guitarist and her celebrity crush. She’s awestruck, then disappointed. He’s arrogant. His pick-up lines are spawns from hell. His artistic insights earn her respect, though, and he walks her home. A mutual attraction blooms. They plan to reconnect on one of his tour stops, and then he leaves. The entities (I thought it was one poltergeist. Does she have one ghost haunting her or are there multiple, as insinuated here?) inform Helen that Brian is in danger and she has a spiritual quest to save him (not worded well / not polished. Suggest to rewrite this bit).  While visiting Brian, she has a mystical experience involving her object empathy and his favorite guitar. This, along with a growing affection between her and Brian, commits Helen to her quest.

 

Brian reads the Helen's blog post and rejects Helen her because he distrusts the  anything occult. His manager, Joe, practices dark arts and once blackmailed Brian into participating in rituals where the word sacrifice is spoken (also unpolished/awkward writing). He’s concerned Joe sent Helen as part of the occult scheme. Brian is devastated. He’s suffering from blocked creativity, and Helen’s presence unlocks his music. Feel like we are missing something here. Need a short transition from Brian being devastated and creatively challenged to accepting Helen for who she is. He overcomes his misgivings, begs forgiveness, and wins Helen back.

 

Another transcendental experience delivers Helen crucial information. Her spell brought  brings forth unintended dark energy. Joe and his sinister cult sensed it. They believe sacrificing Brian—whom they mistakenly think is the magic source—will make them immortal. She relocates to Brian’s city and moves her studio there (are you talking about the yoga studio? seems like unimportant information here and distracts from the flow. Actually, I don't even think you need to tell us she relocates.). A man (sounds a little random - who is this man?) tricks Helen into thinking that Brian’s unfaithful and gives her an object for extracting revenge. Helen learns the man lied, and she must keep her energy loving (what is this?) to save Brian. An encounter with h Helen's poltergeist shows her she must deliver the object to the cult to . The object, if used properly, will distract them. Helen attends a concert with Brian and brings the object, hoping to gain access to the cult and stop the sacrifice. She goes incognito and infiltrates a dark ritual in the concert hall, where she learns the cult will commence  perform the sacrifice that night. She produces the object and projects love into it. The cult calls off the sacrifice. Why? Need a transition to show this, I think. Helen uses her disguise to escape and Brian is saved.

 

Brian proposes to Helen, confessing she’s his true love and muse. She accepts, and realizes that the meaning of life is universal love. Her poltergeist arrives, explaining that now that she’s discovered her life’s meaning, he can finally leave. OK I am getting the hint of a theme here - can you inject it somewhere early in the synopsis? Also, if this is the culmination of her character arc, then you need to show her starting point more explicitly in the opening paragraph.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Fantasy, Romance, Offbeat/Quirky

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