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#1 Monks

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 02:40 PM

Edit: newest version in post #14.

 

Been working on this for a while now, and I think it's ready to get some outside criticism. It's a touch longer than I'd like, but the novel itself has two POV protagonists, so following both of them added somewhat to the synopsis. Still, if there's anything that just seems flat out unnecessary, that'd be great to know. Thanks to anyone willing to read and critique, and of course, I'll return the favor!

 

AVAK SYNOPSIS:

 

Two foreign superpowers have occupied the island city-state Avak for the past twenty years, exporting Avak's unique tea, a pillar of the island’s history and culture. These superpowers are kept in check only by each other and DURGA, an Avakian gangster who owns most of Avak's tea farms.
 
NASIRA, desperate to save her home and its heritage, leads an underground resistance. Nasira believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she has a plan to usurp him and use his monopoly to free Avak. Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, an occupying soldier disgusted by his government's actions and ignorant of his wife's double life.
 
Nasira’s plans are interrupted when Hakan’s best friend, one of Durga’s lieutenants, is publicly executed by masked revolutionaries. Hakan wants revenge, and Nasira wants to help him. Until Hakan shows her the murder weapon: her own gun. She's being set up.
 
Hakan tracks down the fence who sold the gun. But before he can question her, he is attacked, and the fence is abducted. He turns to his boss for aid, but she orders him to bury the investigation.
 
Hakan has no intention of quitting. With no other options, he goes to Durga. Hakan might see the gangster as an opportunistic parasite, but they share a goal: discovering who killed Hakan's friend.
 
With the help of Durga's terrifying enforcer, Hakan learns that his own government attacked him and abducted the fence. Hakan and Durga's enforcer sneak the fence out of her prison. She reveals that the gun belongs to Nasira. Hakan panics. To keep this information from Durga, Hakan attacks his enforcer, but he escapes. Moments later, Hakan's boss arrives and learns of Nasira's involvement. To protect his wife’s secrets, Hakan kills his boss, betraying his country.
 
Meanwhile, Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her. But as soon as she begins, unknown assailants kidnap her sister. Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her. Convinced that Durga is responsible, she spies on him and learns that he and Hakan's government have been cooperating for months. Using propaganda and false-flag attacks, they have been channeling Avak's anger towards the other superpower. They intend to spark open rebellion with a massive bombing, turning Avak's citizens into an unwitting army to drive out the other superpower. Then Hakan's government and Durga can rule Avak as allies. Nasira is forced to put her personal battles aside to protect Avak from Durga's plans. Even if it means losing her sister.
 
Before Nasira can make her next move, however, Hakan confronts her, furious and demanding answers for years of lies. She confesses everything: her involvement in Avak's underworld, her fight to free her country, and how she was framed for the murder. She kept these secrets so Hakan wasn’t forced to choose between his homeland and Avak. Hakan, married eight years, is undone.
 
Then Nasira tells him about Durga’s plan, and they both agree that their personal demons will have to wait. They need to save Avak.
 
Now united, they first must discover who really killed Hakan's friend and why they’re pushing Avak into a gang war. Nasira reveals a lead she uncovered before her sister’s abduction: someone's been buying enormous quantities of salt. Following this lead, they capture the person responsible for manipulating all of them from the shadows: Nasira's own sister.
 
Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Her sister claims that no one was willing to go far enough to drive the foreigners from Avak. She framed Nasira for the attacks on Durga to divert the gangster’s attention, then faked her own kidnapping to distract Nasira. She planned to salt Avak's farms, burn the trees, and turn the soil barren. She would destroy Avak's tea, its economy, and a key piece of its history. She was willing to bring Avak to the brink of ruin and starvation in order to save it.
 
Nasira is crushed, but her duty to Avak comes first. With Durga hunting her, and Hakan chased by his own government, they have no choice but to seek Nasira's sister's help. They destroy her stockpiled salt. The only way she can save Avak now is to cooperate with them. She reluctantly agrees, and together, they formulate a plan.
 
While making preparations, however, Durga captures Hakan, using him as bait to lure out Nasira. Nasira is crushed, but she cannot abandon her home. She can only push forward and hope she can save Hakan in the process.
 
During the night, Nasira and her sister post notices throughout the city, calling on Avak's citizens to meet the following morning. At this meeting, Nasira unveils the truth about Durga and the foreign government seeking to control them. The anger that has been burning within Avak’s people for twenty years explodes. Riots break out across the city, as the mob surges towards the foreign embassies.
 
Before Durga can flee, Nasira, her sister, and their crew assault his compound. But Durga’s soldiers are waiting and slaughter many of their people in an ambush. In the chaos, Nasira sneaks past the fighting to confront Durga alone.
 
She reaches Durga's office. There she finds his enforcer, holding a gun to Hakan's head. He offers her a sadistic choice. She may confront Durga unopposed, but he will kill Hakan. Or he will release Hakan and fight them both himself. Nasira knows this man's reputation. He will likely kill both of them in a fight. But there are limits to how much she can sacrifice for duty. She cannot let this man execute Hakan. Nasira fights, with Hakan at her side. They both receive injuries they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, but they succeed. Together, they confront Durga and kill him for what he has done to their home.
 
Avak lost much in the riots. Nasira had always wanted to spare her home this violence, and she struggles to see what they have accomplished as a victory. But the occupation is over. Hakan and Nasira do not know how they will begin to rebuild their city and their lives. But they both have a home once again, and Avak is finally free.

Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#2 Aightball

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 09:38 PM

 

Been working on this for a while now, and I think it's ready to get some outside criticism. It's a touch longer than I'd like, but the novel itself has two POV protagonists, so following both of them added somewhat to the synopsis. Still, if there's anything that just seems flat out unnecessary, that'd be great to know. Thanks to anyone willing to read and critique, and of course, I'll return the favor!

 

AVAK SYNOPSIS:

 

Two foreign superpowers have occupied the island city-state Avak for the past twenty years, exporting Avak's unique tea, a pillar of the island’s history and culture. These superpowers are kept in check only by each other and DURGA, an Avakian gangster who owns most of Avak's tea farms.  Interesting...don't think I've heard of a fantasy with this plot before, so that's a great start!
 
NASIRA, desperate to save her home and its heritage, leads an underground resistance. Nasira believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she has a plan to usurp him and use his monopoly to free Avak. Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, an occupying soldier disgusted by his government's actions and ignorant of his wife's double life.  Nasira’s plans are interrupted when Hakan’s best friend, one of Durga’s lieutenants, is publicly executed by masked revolutionaries. Hakan wants revenge, and Nasira wants to help him. Until Hakan shows her the murder weapon: her own gun. She's being set up. 
 
Hakan tracks down the fence (what is a fence?) who sold the gun. But before he can question her, he is attacked, and the fence is abducted. He turns to his boss for aid, but she orders him to bury the investigation.  Hakan has no intention of quitting. With no other options, he goes to Durga. Hakan might see the gangster as an opportunistic parasite, but they share a goal: discovering who killed Hakan's friend.
 
With the help of Durga's terrifying enforcer, Hakan learns that his own government attacked him and abducted the fence. Hakan and Durga's enforcer sneak the fence out of her prison. She reveals that the gun belongs to Nasira. Hakan panics. To keep this information from Durga, Hakan attacks his enforcer, but he escapes. Moments later, Hakan's boss arrives and learns of Nasira's involvement. To protect his wife’s secrets, Hakan kills his boss, betraying his country.
 
Meanwhile, Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her. But as soon as she begins, unknown assailants kidnap her sister. Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her. Convinced that Durga is responsible, she spies on him and learns that he and Hakan's government have been cooperating for months. Using propaganda and false-flag attacks, they have been channeling Avak's anger towards the other superpower. They intend to spark open rebellion with a massive bombing, turning Avak's citizens into an unwitting army to drive out the other superpower. Then Hakan's government and Durga can rule Avak as allies. Nasira is forced to put her personal battles aside to protect Avak from Durga's plans. Even if it means losing her sister.
 
Before Nasira can make her next move, however, Hakan confronts her, furious and demanding answers for years of lies. She confesses everything: her involvement in Avak's underworld, her fight to free her country, and how she was framed for the murder. She kept these secrets so Hakan wasn’t forced to choose between his homeland and Avak. Hakan, married eight years, is undone.
 
Then Nasira tells him about Durga’s plan, and they both agree that their personal demons will have to wait. They need to save Avak.
 
Now united, they first must discover who really killed Hakan's friend and why they’re pushing Avak into a gang war. Nasira reveals a lead she uncovered before her sister’s abduction: someone's been buying enormous quantities of salt. Following this lead, they capture the person responsible for manipulating all of them from the shadows: Nasira's own sister.
 
Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Her sister claims that no one was willing to go far enough to drive the foreigners from Avak. She framed Nasira for the attacks on Durga to divert the gangster’s attention, then faked her own kidnapping to distract Nasira. She planned to salt Avak's farms, burn the trees, and turn the soil barren. She would destroy Avak's tea, its economy, and a key piece of its history. She was willing to bring Avak to the brink of ruin and starvation in order to save it.
 
Nasira is crushed, but her duty to Avak comes first. With Durga hunting her, and Hakan chased by his own government, they have no choice but to seek Nasira's sister's help. They destroy her stockpiled salt. The only way she can save Avak now is to cooperate with them. She reluctantly agrees, and together, they formulate a plan.
 
While making preparations, however, Durga captures Hakan, using him as bait to lure out Nasira. Nasira is crushed, but she cannot abandon her home. She can only push forward and hope she can save Hakan in the process.
 
During the night, Nasira and her sister post notices throughout the city, calling on Avak's citizens to meet the following morning. At this meeting, Nasira unveils the truth about Durga and the foreign government seeking to control them. The anger that has been burning within Avak’s people for twenty years explodes. Riots break out across the city, as the mob surges towards the foreign embassies.
 
Before Durga can flee, Nasira, her sister, and their crew assault his compound. But Durga’s soldiers are waiting and slaughter many of their people in an ambush. In the chaos, Nasira sneaks past the fighting to confront Durga alone.
 
She reaches Durga's office. There she finds his enforcer, holding a gun to Hakan's head. He offers her a sadistic choice. She may confront Durga unopposed, but he will kill Hakan. Or he will release Hakan and fight them both himself. Nasira knows this man's reputation. He will likely kill both of them in a fight. But there are limits to how much she can sacrifice for duty. She cannot let this man execute Hakan. Nasira fights, with Hakan at her side. They both receive injuries they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, but they succeed. Together, they confront Durga and kill him for what he has done to their home.
 
Avak lost much in the riots. Nasira had always wanted to spare her home this violence, and she struggles to see what they have accomplished as a victory. But the occupation is over. Hakan and Nasira do not know how they will begin to rebuild their city and their lives. But they both have a home once again, and Avak is finally free.

 

 

I didn't make a ton of comments in the document...but I feel like the synopsis is too busy.  There's a lot going on in your story, which is good for the reader, because it keeps them interested and reading.  But see if you can streamline what you give us in the synopsis.  How much of the action do you need to detail in here?  Are there pieces of the action that can be read in the book but aren't important to impart to us?  I was a little lost by the end with who was chasing whom, who was working with whom, and who came from where, etc.  Even if you keep this level of detail but condense it and make it make a little more sense, that would help.  I look forward to your revision! =)


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#3 kailam

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 05:00 AM

Hey Monks,
 

First of all, I love the sound of this world, concept and the complicated relationships! Definitely the kind of thing that intrigues me as a reader.

However, I would second Aightball in that there’s a lot going on here – characters, plot twists – that feels disorientating. There’s some great sounding stuff in there but it’s getting lost in the back and forth.

 

The first two paragraphs work just fine for the world set up, although I would clarify whether Hakan recognises the gun as Nasira’s at this point, or that she alone knows it’s true ownership, and therefore that she’s being framed. I took it to be the former, and it wasn’t until I got onto the later paragraphs that I realized it was the latter, if that makes sense?

 

Once we get into Nasira’s framing for murder and tracing the gun’s origin, there’s a bucket load of info, which could be streamlined. For example, if paras 3 and 4 were condensed into one, I think it would make it easier to follow. The line ‘Meanwhile, Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her’ also confused me as in the previous paragraph Hakan has already discovered that the gun is hers?

 

Overall, from taking a look, there appears to be 7 main chunks of detail that you’re trying to get across:

 

Initial world set up, Nasira’s framing for murder, Nasira’s search for her sister which reveals government secrets, discovery of sister’s betrayal, capture of Hakan, compound assault, and conclusion.

 

Focusing more tightly on each of these sections should help lead the reader through the synopsis so they don’t get lost.

Good luck. I’ll keep an eye out for any revisions you post!



#4 Monks

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 02:48 PM

Edit: newest version in post #14.

 

Thanks for the suggestions, Aightball and kailam. I've reworked the synopsis to try and cut down the extraneous info and make it flow a bit better. I essentially removed the couple paragraphs that talked about Hakan's plot and incorporated the necessary information about what he'd done in the paragraphs concerning Nasira's plot. It didn't actually cut the word count down that much, but the synopsis is now more centered around Nasira's journey, so there's less back and forth between the two characters. Hopefully that makes it easier to follow. It does reduce the impact of Hakan's development, in my opinion, but maybe that's all right for the synopsis. Anyway, here's the revised version, and thanks so much for the help!

 

Two foreign superpowers have occupied the island city-state Avak for the past twenty years, exporting Avak's unique tea, a pillar of the island’s history and culture. These superpowers are kept in check by each other and DURGA, an Avakian gangster who owns most of Avak's tea farms.
 
NASIRA leads an underground resistance fighting to save her home and its heritage. Nasira believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she has a plan to usurp him and use his monopoly to free Avak. Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, a foreign soldier disgusted by his country’s exploitation of Avak, but ignorant of his wife's double life.
 
Nasira’s plans are interrupted when Hakan’s best friend, one of Durga’s lieutenants, is publicly executed by masked revolutionaries. Hakan wants revenge, and Nasira wants to help him. Until Hakan shows her the murder weapon: her own gun. She's being set up. Hakan doesn’t know the gun is hers, but it’s only a matter of time before he finds out. Denied aid by his own government, Hakan turns to Durga. Hakan might see the gangster as an opportunistic parasite, but they share a goal: discovering who killed Hakan's friend.
 
Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her. But as soon as she begins, unknown assailants kidnap her sister. Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her. Convinced that Durga is responsible, she spies on him and learns that he and Hakan's government have been cooperating for months. Using propaganda and false-flag attacks, they have been channeling Avak's anger towards the other superpower. They intend to spark open rebellion with a massive bombing, turning Avak's citizens into an unwitting army to drive out the other superpower. Then Hakan's government and Durga can rule Avak as allies. Nasira is forced to put her personal battles aside to protect Avak from Durga's plans. Even if it means losing her sister.
 
Before Nasira can make her next move, however, Hakan confronts her. He and Durga have learned that the gun is hers. Durga is now hunting her, and Hakan, who has been forced to betray his own country to protect her secrets, demands answers for years of lies. Nasira confesses everything: her involvement in Avak's underworld, her fight to free her country, and how she was framed for the murder. She kept these secrets so Hakan wasn’t forced to choose between his homeland and Avak. Hakan, married eight years, is heartbroken.
 
Then Nasira tells him about Durga’s plan, and they both agree that their personal demons will have to wait. They need to save Avak.
 
Now united, they first must discover who really killed Hakan's friend and why they’re pushing Avak into a gang war. Nasira has learned that someone has been buying enormous quantities of salt. Following this lead, they capture the person responsible for manipulating all of them from the shadows: Nasira's own sister.
 
Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Her sister claims that no one was willing to go far enough to drive the foreigners from Avak. She framed Nasira for the attacks on Durga to divert the gangster’s attention, then she faked her own kidnapping to distract Nasira. She planned to salt Avak's farms, burn the trees, and turn the soil barren. She would destroy Avak's tea, its economy, and a key piece of its history. She was willing to bring Avak to the brink of ruin and starvation in order to free it from foreign control.
 
Nasira is crushed, but her duty to Avak comes first. She and Hakan need Nasira's sister's help. They destroy her stockpiled salt. The only way she can save Avak now is to cooperate with them. She reluctantly agrees, and together, they formulate a plan.
 
While making preparations, however, Durga captures Hakan, using him as bait to lure out Nasira. But Nasira cannot abandon her home to save him. She can only push forward and hope she can rescue Hakan in the process.
 
During the night, Nasira and her sister post notices throughout the city, calling on Avak's citizens to meet the following morning. At this meeting, Nasira unveils the truth about Durga and the foreign government seeking to control them. The anger that has been burning within Avak’s people for twenty years explodes. Riots break out across the city, as the mob surges towards the foreign embassies.
 
Before Durga can flee, Nasira, her sister, and their crew assault his compound. But Durga’s soldiers are waiting and slaughter many of their people in an ambush. In the chaos, Nasira sneaks past the fighting to confront Durga alone.
 
She reaches Durga's office. There she finds his enforcer, holding a gun to Hakan's head. He offers her a sadistic choice. She may confront Durga unopposed, but he will kill Hakan. Or he will release Hakan and fight them both himself. Nasira knows this man's reputation. He will likely kill both of them in a fight. But there are limits to how much she can sacrifice for duty. She cannot let this man execute Hakan. Nasira fights, with Hakan at her side. They both receive injuries they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, but they succeed. Together, they confront Durga and kill him for what he has done to their home.
 
Avak lost much in the riots. Nasira had always wanted to spare her home this violence, and she struggles to see what they have accomplished as a victory. But the occupation is over. Hakan and Nasira do not know how they will begin to rebuild their city and their lives. But they both have a home once again, and Avak is finally free.

Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#5 Kat_A_Turner

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 10:32 AM

Two foreign superpowers have occupied the island city-state Avak for the past twenty years, exporting Avak's unique tea, a pillar of the island’s history and culture. Since you are thinking about cutting/editing, I'd suggest cutting the dependent clause in the first sentence to tighten.These superpowers are kept in check only by each other and DURGA, an Avakian gangster who owns most of Avak's tea farms.Good. 
 
NASIRA, desperate to save her home and its heritage, leads an underground resistance. Nasira believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she has a plan to usurp him and use his monopoly to free Avak. Can you briefly clarify how she'd use the monopoly? Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, an occupying soldier disgusted by his government's actions and ignorant of his wife's double life.I wonder if stating that she's married would suffice. I've heard that a synopsis should stick to 2 MCs. 
 
Nasira’s plans are interrupted when Hakan’s best friend, one of Durga’s lieutenants, is publicly executed by masked revolutionaries. Hakan wants revenge, and Nasira wants to help him. Until Hakan shows her the murder weapon: her own gun. She's being set up.
 
Hakan tracks down the fence who sold the gun. But before he can question her, he is attacked, and the fence is abducted. He turns to his boss for aid, but she orders him to bury the investigation.
 
Hakan has no intention of quitting. With no other options, he goes to Durga. Hakan might see the gangster as an opportunistic parasite, but they share a goal: discovering who killed Hakan's friend.You may be bordering on too many characters for a synopsis. I wonder if you could condense the subplot for maximum clarity and flow: e.g.: "Nasira's plans are complicated when she's set up for murdering her husband's associate" might work. 
 
With the help of Durga's terrifying enforcer, Hakan learns I'd put Hakan's name and POV sooner; he seems more important and central than Durga.  that his own government attacked him and abducted the fence. Hakan and Durga's enforcer sneak the fence out of her prison. She reveals that the gun belongs to Nasira. Hakan panics. To keep this information from Durga, Hakan attacks his enforcer, but he escapes. Moments later, Hakan's boss arrives and learns of Nasira's involvement. To protect his wife’s secrets, Hakan kills his boss, betraying his country.
 
Meanwhile, Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her. But as soon as she begins, unknown assailants kidnap her sister. Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her. I've lost the main plot (as I saw it in the first paragraph): the resistance. Can you tie these sub plots into the plot thread introduced 1st, for optimal flow? Convinced that Durga is responsible, she spies on him and learns that he and Hakan's government have been cooperating for months. Using propaganda and false-flag attacks, they have been channeling Avak's anger towards the other superpower. Love the intrigue!They intend to spark open rebellion with a massive bombing, turning Avak's citizens into an unwitting army to drive out the other superpower. Then Hakan's government and Durga can rule Avak as allies. Nasira is forced to put her personal battles aside to protect Avak from Durga's plans. Even if it means losing her sister.
 
Before Nasira can make her next move, however, Hakan confronts her, furious and demanding answers for years of lies. She confesses everything: her involvement in Avak's underworld, her fight to free her country, and how she was framed for the murder. She kept these secrets so Hakan wasn’t forced to choose between his homeland and Avak. Hakan, married eight years, is undone.
 
Then Nasira tells him about Durga’s plan, and they both agree that their personal demons will have to wait. They need to save Avak.Good tie in. 
 
Now united, they first must discover who really killed Hakan's friend and why they’re pushing Avak into a gang war. Nasira reveals a lead she uncovered before her sister’s abduction: someone's been buying enormous quantities of salt. Following this lead, they capture the person responsible for manipulating all of them from the shadows: Nasira's own sister.
 
Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Her sister claims that no one was willing to go far enough to drive the foreigners from Avak. She framed Nasira for the attacks on Durga to divert the gangster’s attention, then faked her own kidnapping to distract Nasira. She planned to salt Avak's farms, burn the trees, and turn the soil barren. She would destroy Avak's tea, its economy, and a key piece of its history. She was willing to bring Avak to the brink of ruin and starvation in order to save it.I'm not sure I have the strongest hold on the sister's logic here. How would the destruction ultimately save Avak? I'm also wondering how she was able to fake her own kidnapping. Who's she mixed up with? I'd also think that sister would need to have a big beef with Nasira to set her up like she did. What's sister's problem with Nasira? Just that she's not active enough in the resistance? I'd think the stakes would need to be higher to justify sister's behavior. 
 
Nasira is crushed, but her duty to Avak comes first. With Durga hunting her, and Hakan chased by his own government, they have no choice but to seek Nasira's sister's help.Why do they have no choice but to cooperate? They destroy her stockpiled salt. The only way she can save Avak now is to cooperate with them. Who is "them?" The people her sister is in cahoots with?She reluctantly agrees, and together, they formulate a plan.
 
While making preparations, however, Durga captures Hakan, using him as bait to lure out Nasira. Nasira is crushed, but she cannot abandon her home. She can only push forward and hope she can save Hakan in the process.
 
During the night, Nasira and her sister post notices throughout the city, calling on Avak's citizens to meet the following morning. At this meeting, Nasira unveils the truth about Durga and the foreign government seeking to control them. The anger that has been burning within Avak’s people for twenty years explodes. Riots break out across the city, as the mob surges towards the foreign embassies.
 
Before Durga can flee, Nasira, her sister, and their crew assault his compound. But Durga’s soldiers are waiting and slaughter many of their people in an ambush. In the chaos, Nasira sneaks past the fighting to confront Durga alone.
 
She reaches Durga's office. There she finds his enforcer, holding a gun to Hakan's head. He offers her a sadistic choice. She may confront Durga unopposed, but he will kill Hakan. Or he will release Hakan and fight them both himself. Nasira knows this man's reputation. He will likely kill both of them in a fight. But there are limits to how much she can sacrifice for duty. She cannot let this man execute Hakan. Nasira fights, with Hakan at her side. They both receive injuries they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, but they succeed. Together, they confront Durga and kill him for what he has done to their home.Good paragraph here. Clear stakes, conflict, tension, and resolution. 
 
Avak lost much in the riots. Nasira had always wanted to spare her home this violence, and she struggles to see what they have accomplished as a victory. But the occupation is over. Hakan and Nasira do not know how they will begin to rebuild their city and their lives. But they both have a home once again, and Avak is finally free.
 
Sounds like an interesting story with many twists and turns! I love the intrigue and political resistance/occupied territory angle. One thing that I think would benefit your synopsis is streamlining. There are a lot of character motivations/goals/stakes to keep track of, and at times it was confusing sorting out how everyone's agendas were connected. Same with the plots and sub plots. The part about the sister got a little shaky for me: I got confused about the sister's motivations, and why Nasira forgave and collaborated with her so quickly. I might cut down on the other sub plots and build in more development of the twist about Nasira's sister faking her kidnapping and setting Nasira up. These two plotlines (resistance movement and sister twist) alone, with everything else painted in broad strokes and woven in as needed, might make for a sufficient synopsis. 


#6 Aightball

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Posted 11 June 2017 - 05:47 PM

 

Thanks for the suggestions, Aightball and kailam. I've reworked the synopsis to try and cut down the extraneous info and make it flow a bit better. I essentially removed the couple paragraphs that talked about Hakan's plot and incorporated the necessary information about what he'd done in the paragraphs concerning Nasira's plot. It didn't actually cut the word count down that much, but the synopsis is now more centered around Nasira's journey, so there's less back and forth between the two characters. Hopefully that makes it easier to follow. It does reduce the impact of Hakan's development, in my opinion, but maybe that's all right for the synopsis. Anyway, here's the revised version, and thanks so much for the help!

 

Two foreign superpowers have occupied the island city-state Avak for the past twenty years, exporting Avak's unique tea, a pillar of the island’s history and culture. I feel like I want to kow what's so unique about this tea...why does it deserve a story? These superpowers are kept in check by each other and DURGA, an Avakian gangster who owns most of Avak's tea farms.
 
NASIRA leads an underground resistance fighting to save her home and its heritage. Nasira believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she has a plan to usurp him and use his monopoly to free Avak. Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, a foreign soldier disgusted by his country’s exploitation of Avak, but ignorant of his wife's double life.
 
Nasira’s plans are interrupted when Hakan’s best friend, one of Durga’s lieutenants, is publicly executed by masked revolutionaries. Hakan wants revenge, and Nasira wants to help him. Until Hakan shows her the murder weapon: her own gun. She's being set up. Hakan doesn’t know the gun is hers, but it’s only a matter of time before he finds out. Denied aid by his own government, Hakan turns to Durga. Hakan might see the gangster as an opportunistic parasite, but they share a goal: discovering who killed Hakan's friend.
 
Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her. But as soon as she begins, unknown assailants kidnap her sister. Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her. Convinced that Durga is responsible, she spies on him and learns that he and Hakan's government have been cooperating for months. I thought Hakan was a soldier? Using propaganda and false-flag attacks, they have been channeling Avak's anger towards the other superpower. They intend to spark open rebellion with a massive bombing, turning Avak's citizens into an unwitting army to drive out the other superpower. Then Hakan's government and Durga can rule Avak as allies. Nasira is forced to put her personal battles aside to protect Avak from Durga's plans. Even if it means losing her sister.
 
Before Nasira can make her next move, however, Hakan confronts her. He and Durga have learned that the gun is hers. Durga is now hunting her, and Hakan, who has been forced to betray his own country to protect her secrets, demands answers for years of lies. Nasira confesses everything: her involvement in Avak's underworld, her fight to free her country, and how she was framed for the murder. She kept these secrets so Hakan wasn’t forced to choose between his homeland and Avak. Hakan, married eight years, is heartbroken.
 
Then Nasira tells him about Durga’s plan, and they both agree that their personal demons will have to wait. They need to save Avak.
 
Now united, they first must discover who really killed Hakan's friend and why they’re pushing Avak into a gang war. Nasira has learned that someone has been buying enormous quantities of salt. Following this lead, they capture the person responsible for manipulating all of them from the shadows: Nasira's own sister.
 
Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Her sister claims that no one was willing to go far enough to drive the foreigners from Avak. She framed Nasira for the attacks on Durga to divert the gangster’s attention, then she faked her own kidnapping to distract Nasira. She planned to salt Avak's farms, burn the trees, and turn the soil barren. She would destroy Avak's tea, its economy, and a key piece of its history. She was willing to bring Avak to the brink of ruin and starvation in order to free it from foreign control.
 
Nasira is crushed, but her duty to Avak comes first. She and Hakan need Nasira's sister's help. They destroy her stockpiled salt. The only way she can save Avak now is to cooperate with them. She reluctantly agrees, and together, they formulate a plan.
 
While making preparations, however, Durga captures Hakan, using him as bait to lure out Nasira. But Nasira cannot abandon her home to save him. She can only push forward and hope she can rescue Hakan in the process.
 
During the night, Nasira and her sister post notices throughout the city, calling on Avak's citizens to meet the following morning. At this meeting, Nasira unveils the truth about Durga and the foreign government seeking to control them. The anger that has been burning within Avak’s people for twenty years explodes. Riots break out across the city, as the mob surges towards the foreign embassies.
 
Before Durga can flee, Nasira, her sister, and their crew assault his compound. But Durga’s soldiers are waiting and slaughter many of their people in an ambush. In the chaos, Nasira sneaks past the fighting to confront Durga alone.
 
She reaches Durga's office. There she finds his enforcer, holding a gun to Hakan's head. He offers her a sadistic choice. She may confront Durga unopposed, but he will kill Hakan. Or he will release Hakan and fight them both himself. Nasira knows this man's reputation. He will likely kill both of them in a fight. But there are limits to how much she can sacrifice for duty. She cannot let this man execute Hakan. Nasira fights, with Hakan at her side. They both receive injuries they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, but they succeed. Together, they confront Durga and kill him for what he has done to their home.  Both sentences say the same ting but I think the second one is stronger.
 
Avak lost much in the riots. Nasira had always wanted to spare her home this violence, and she struggles to see what they have accomplished as a victory. But the occupation is over. Hakan and Nasira do not know how they will begin to rebuild their city and their lives. But they both have a home once again, and Avak is finally free.

 

 

I think this has improved a LOT!  I think it's tighter and you improved the flow for sure.  I can follow the story now, which I struggled with before.  I made a few suggestions again, but great revision!


Most girls are made of
sugar and spice and everything nice; they
screwed up the recipe for me: I'm made of
bat wings and broken things.

Query: http://agentquerycon...rescue-me-lgbt/

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Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

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#7 CM_Fick

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 12:41 PM

 

NASIRA, desperate to save her home and its heritage, leads an underground resistance. Nasira believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she has a plan to usurp him and use his monopoly to free Avak. Can you briefly clarify how she'd use the monopoly? Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, an occupying soldier disgusted by his government's actions and ignorant of his wife's double life.I wonder if stating that she's married would suffice. I've heard that a synopsis should stick to 2 MCs. 
 

 

 

Hello 

 

I have a question for Kat_A_Turner. Do you have reference material for this? I've heard about no more than 2 named characters in a query, but never in a synopsis. I'd be interested to read the source material :)

 

Thanks

CM



#8 Monks

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 10:57 AM

Edit: newest version in post #14.

 

Thanks for the critiques, Kat_A_Turner and Aightball. Much appreciated.

 

Aightball, I'll address your comments first. I tweaked things somewhat based on the minor edits you suggested. Just a few points of clarification.

 

For your comment about wanting to know what makes the tea unique, I agree with you. I've just struggled with a way to fit it in because it's somewhat complicated. The reason the tea is desired abroad (and therefore, the reason the foreign empires are occupying Avak in the first place) is because the tea is slightly hallucinogenic, thanks to a compound in the Avakian soil. It's become a bit of a fad in the two foreign empires, and it can't be grown anywhere but on Avak, because it's not actually the tea that's unique but the soil. Hence the occupation. But the hallucinogenic properties of the tea are not plot relevant beyond that. They don't really play into why the tea is so important to Avakians themselves (that has to do with their cultural and religious history). But more importantly, the hallucinogenic effects don't have an impact on the plot in any way. I worry that if I brought that aspect up in the synopsis without explaining it more thoroughly, it would give the impression that the hallucinogenic effects were a major plot piece. Hence I've left it out. Not certain that's the correct choice, of course, but I just can't think of any way to cleanly work it in, and the word count is long already.

 

Also, for the fourth paragraph, you said "I thought Hakan was a soldier." He is, but I'm not certain what aspect of that paragraph is causing confusion. Can you clarify at all?

 

Finally, in the second to last paragraph, you said both of the last two sentences say the same thing. They're actually referring to two different people. The first sentence is about their overcoming Durga's enforcer, and the final sentence is about confronting Durga himself. But I can see how that could be glossed over easily. I've tweaked the beginning of that paragraph to hopefully make it more clear that Durga's enforcer is the primary subject of that paragraph. Your other tweaks, I agreed with and implemented as suggested. Thanks again!

 

Kat_A_Turner, thanks so much for your thorough breakdown. Unfortunately, you were looking at an older version. I forgot to strikethrough the old version in the first post, so I've done that now to avoid confusing anyone else! But a lot of your critique still applies to the newer version, so I've made some pretty substantial edits based on your comments.

 

First, concerning overall flow and confusion when switching from Hakan to Nasira and back. That was the chief problem I addressed in the earlier rewrite, so hopefully that has already resolved the issues you had there. Personally, I think that section flows much better, and I think it helps with the potential confusion of having three named characters. I've tried cutting it down to two. It's just too messy for my tastes.

 

Your comments about Nasira's sister were spot on, and I've reworked the paragraph revealing her twist significantly. I think her motivation is much clearer now, and the passion that leads her to betray Nasira is examined a little more closely. This also serves as a contrast to Nasira's own character, so I think the character development has gotten better in both directions. Thanks for your insight. It was very helpful.

 

So here's the updated version. Thanks again to everyone who's helped!

 

###########################

 

Two foreign empires have occupied the island city-state Avak for the past twenty years, exporting Avak's unique tea, a pillar of the island’s history and culture. These empires are kept in check by each other and DURGA, an Avakian gangster who owns most of Avak's tea farms.

 

NASIRA leads an underground resistance fighting to save her home and its heritage. Nasira believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she has a plan to usurp him and use his monopoly to fight back against the foreign empires. Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, a foreign soldier disgusted by his country’s exploitation of Avak, but ignorant of his wife's double life.

 

Nasira’s plans are interrupted when Hakan’s best friend, one of Durga’s lieutenants, is publicly executed by masked revolutionaries. Hakan wants revenge, and Nasira wants to help him. Until Hakan shows her the murder weapon: her own gun. She's being set up. Hakan doesn’t know the gun is hers, but it’s only a matter of time before he finds out. Denied aid by his own government, Hakan turns to Durga. Hakan might see the gangster as an opportunistic parasite, but they share a goal: discovering who killed Hakan's friend.

 

Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her. But as soon as she begins, unknown assailants kidnap her sister. Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her, ignoring her duties to the resistance. Convinced that Durga is responsible, she spies on him and learns that Durga is not opposing the occupation, as he has always claimed. He has been cooperating with officials from Hakan’s homeland for months. Using propaganda and false-flag attacks, they have been channeling Avak's anger towards the other empire. They intend to spark open rebellion with a massive bombing, turning Avak's citizens into an unwitting army to drive out the other empire. Then the leaders of Hakan's homeland and Durga can rule Avak unopposed. Nasira is forced to put her personal battles aside to finish what she started: freeing Avak from Durga and the foreign empires. Even if it means losing her sister.

 

Before Nasira can make her next move, however, Hakan confronts her. He and Durga have learned that the gun is hers. Durga is now hunting her, and Hakan, who has been forced to betray his own country to protect her secrets, demands answers for years of lies. Nasira confesses everything: her involvement in Avak's underworld, her fight to free her country, and how she was framed for the murder. She kept these secrets so Hakan wasn’t forced to choose between his homeland and Avak. Hakan is heartbroken.

 

Then Nasira tells him about Durga’s plan, and they both agree that their personal demons will have to wait. They need to save Avak.

 

Now united, they first must discover who really killed Hakan's friend and why they’re pushing Avak into a gang war. Nasira has learned that someone has been buying enormous quantities of salt. Following this lead, they capture the person responsible for manipulating all of them from the shadows: Nasira's own sister.

 

Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Nasira’s sister claims that she and Nasira live in different worlds. Unlike Nasira, her sister is too young to remember Avak as it was before the foreigners arrived. She has no fond memories of their past, knows no heritage worth saving. All she knows is the occupation — and a burning desire to end it, no matter the cost. She framed Nasira for the attacks on Durga to distract the gangster, then she faked her own kidnapping to distract Nasira. She planned to salt Avak's farms, burn the trees, and turn the soil barren. She would destroy Avak's tea, its economy, and a key piece of its history. She was willing to bring Avak to the brink of ruin and starvation in order to save it.

 

Nasira is crushed. While she cannot forgive her sister, her duty to Avak comes first. Her own crew is being hunted by Durga. She needs her sister's crew and her resources. Nasira destroys her sister’s stockpiled salt. The only way her sister can save Avak now is to cooperate with Nasira and Hakan. Her sister reluctantly agrees, and together, they formulate a plan.

 

Before they can make their move, Durga captures Hakan, using him as bait to lure out Nasira. But Nasira cannot abandon her home to save him. She can only push forward and hope she can rescue Hakan in the process.

 

During the night, Nasira and her sister post notices throughout the city, calling on Avak's citizens to meet the following morning. At this meeting, Nasira unveils the truth about Durga and the foreign government seeking to control them. The anger that has been burning within Avak’s people for twenty years explodes. Riots break out across the city, as the mob surges towards the foreign embassies.

 

Before Durga can flee, Nasira, her sister, and their crew assault his compound. But Durga’s soldiers are waiting and slaughter many of their people in an ambush. In the chaos, Nasira sneaks past the fighting to confront Durga alone.

 

She reaches Durga's office. There she finds Durga’s terrifying enforcer, holding a gun to Hakan's head. Durga’s enforcer offers her a sadistic choice. She may confront Durga unopposed, but he will kill Hakan. Or he will release Hakan and fight them both himself. Nasira knows this man's reputation. He will likely kill both of them in a fight. But there are limits to how much she can sacrifice for duty. She cannot let this man execute Hakan. Nasira fights, with Hakan at her side. They both receive injuries they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, but they succeed. Together, they confront Durga and kill him for what he has done to their home.

 

Avak lost much in the riots. Nasira had always wanted to spare her home this violence, and she struggles to see what they have accomplished as a victory. But the occupation is over. Hakan and Nasira do not know how they will begin to rebuild their city and their lives. But they both have a home once again, and Avak is finally free.


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#9 Aightball

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 11:46 AM

Thanks for the critiques, Kat_A_Turner and Aightball. Much appreciated.

 

Aightball, I'll address your comments first. I tweaked things somewhat based on the minor edits you suggested. Just a few points of clarification.

 

For your comment about wanting to know what makes the tea unique, I agree with you. I've just struggled with a way to fit it in because it's somewhat complicated. The reason the tea is desired abroad (and therefore, the reason the foreign empires are occupying Avak in the first place) is because the tea is slightly hallucinogenic, thanks to a compound in the Avakian soil. It's become a bit of a fad in the two foreign empires, and it can't be grown anywhere but on Avak, because it's not actually the tea that's unique but the soil. Hence the occupation. But the hallucinogenic properties of the tea are not plot relevant beyond that. They don't really play into why the tea is so important to Avakians themselves (that has to do with their cultural and religious history). But more importantly, the hallucinogenic effects don't have an impact on the plot in any way. I worry that if I brought that aspect up in the synopsis without explaining it more thoroughly, it would give the impression that the hallucinogenic effects were a major plot piece. Hence I've left it out. Not certain that's the correct choice, of course, but I just can't think of any way to cleanly work it in, and the word count is long already.

 

Also, for the fourth paragraph, you said "I thought Hakan was a soldier." He is, but I'm not certain what aspect of that paragraph is causing confusion. Can you clarify at all?

 

Finally, in the second to last paragraph, you said both of the last two sentences say the same thing. They're actually referring to two different people. The first sentence is about their overcoming Durga's enforcer, and the final sentence is about confronting Durga himself. But I can see how that could be glossed over easily. I've tweaked the beginning of that paragraph to hopefully make it more clear that Durga's enforcer is the primary subject of that paragraph. Your other tweaks, I agreed with and implemented as suggested. Thanks again!

 

 

I will be sure to give your revision a look today, but it will probably be this evening =). 

 

This was where I got turned around on the fourth paragraph:

 

"Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her. Convinced that Durga is responsible, she spies on him and learns that he and Hakan's government have been cooperating for months"  I think what confused me was when you said Hakan's government...is is part of the government or is that the government he fights for?  I'm not clear on that aspect.  I think a simple wording tweak will fix the confusion there, just to make it clear if it's the government he fights for or not.

 

I'm looking forward to your revisions!


Most girls are made of
sugar and spice and everything nice; they
screwed up the recipe for me: I'm made of
bat wings and broken things.

Query: http://agentquerycon...rescue-me-lgbt/

Blog: http://aightball.wordpress.com

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...rescue-me-lgbt/

Twitter Hook(s): http://agentquerycon...rescue-me-lgbt/

Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

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#10 Monks

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 01:17 PM

I will be sure to give your revision a look today, but it will probably be this evening =). 

 

This was where I got turned around on the fourth paragraph:

 

"Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her. Convinced that Durga is responsible, she spies on him and learns that he and Hakan's government have been cooperating for months"  I think what confused me was when you said Hakan's government...is is part of the government or is that the government he fights for?  I'm not clear on that aspect.  I think a simple wording tweak will fix the confusion there, just to make it clear if it's the government he fights for or not.

 

I'm looking forward to your revisions!

I see what you're saying. Yeah, all I meant there is the government for the country for which he is a soldier. Which is obviously a mouthful, so I just called it Hakan's government, to differentiate it from the other empire that is occupying the island. The actual political structure is a bit more complex, involving a conglomerate of trade companies and government embassies, but that's way too much detail for the synopsis, so I've just lumped it all together as one monolithic "government" entity. I'll try to think of a way to reword that sentence though. Thanks for clarifying.

 

Edit: tweaked the wording in that paragraph to hopefully be more clear. Not reposting the synopsis, since it's just a minor tweak, but I edited the paragraph in post #8.


Edited by Monks, 13 June 2017 - 01:57 PM.

Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#11 CM_Fick

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 10:43 AM

 

Two foreign empires have occupied the island city-state Avak for the past twenty years, exporting Avak's unique tea, a pillar of the island’s history and culture. These empires are kept in check by each other and DURGA, an Avakian gangster who owns most of Avak's tea farms.

 

NASIRA leads an underground resistance fighting to save her home and its heritage. Nasira (She -- is there a specific reason you used her name again here?) believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she has a plan (plans) to usurp him and  (in order to) use his monopoly to (and) fight back against the foreign empires. Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, a foreign soldier disgusted by his country’s exploitation of Avak, but ignorant of his wife's double life. (Just a few minor tweaks here to clean up the flow.)

 

Nasira’s plans are interrupted when Hakan’s best friend, one of Durga’s lieutenants, is publicly executed by masked revolutionaries. Hakan wants revenge, and Nasira wants to help him. Until Hakan shows her the murder weapon: her own gun. She's being set up. Hakan doesn’t know the gun is hers, but it’s only a matter of time before he finds out. Denied aid by his own government, Hakan turns to Durga. Hakan might (may) see the gangster as an opportunistic parasite, but they share a goal: discovering who killed Hakan's friend.

 

Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her. But as soon as she (her hunt) begins, unknown assailants kidnap her sister. Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her, ignoring her duties to the resistance. Convinced that Durga is responsible, she spies on him and learns that Durga is not opposing the occupation, as he has always claimed.(I think this sentence is out of order. something along the lines of: Spying on Durga, convinced that he is responsible for the abduction, she learns that he does not oppose the occupation despite his claims.) He has been cooperating with officials from Hakan’s homeland for months. Using propaganda and false-flag attacks, they have been channeleding Avak's anger towards the other empire. They intend to spark open rebellion with a massive bombing, turning Avak's citizens into an unwitting army to drive out the other empire. Then the leaders of Hakan's homeland and Durga can rule Avak unopposed. Nasira is forced to put her personal battles aside to finish what she started: freeing Avak from Durga and the foreign empires. Even if it means losing her sister.

 

Before Nasira can make her next move, however, Hakan confronts her. He and Durga have learned that the gun is hers. Durga is now hunting her, and Hakan, who has been forced to betray his own country to protect her secrets, demands answers for years of lies. Nasira confesses everything: her involvement in Avak's underworld, her fight to free her country, and how she was framed for the murder. She kept these secrets so Hakan wasn’t forced to choose between his homeland and Avak. Hakan is heartbroken.

 

Then Nasira tells him about Durga’s plan, and they both agree that their personal demons will have to wait. They need to save Avak.

 

Now united, they first must discover who really killed Hakan's friend and why they’re pushing Avak into a gang war. Nasira has learned that someone has been buying enormous quantities of salt (and) following this lead, they capture the person responsible for manipulating all of them from the shadows: Nasira's own sister.

 

Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Nasira’s sister claims that she and Nasira live in different worlds. Unlike Nasira, her sister is too young to remember Avak as it was before the foreigners arrived. She has no fond memories of their past, knows no heritage worth saving. All she knows is the occupation — and a burning desire to end it, no matter the cost. She framed Nasira for the attacks on Durga to distract the gangster, then she faked her own kidnapping to distract Nasira. She planned to salt Avak's farms, burn the trees, and turn the soil barren. She would destroy Avak's tea, its economy, and a key piece of its history. She's was willing to bring Avak to the brink of ruin and starvation in order to save it.

 

Nasira is crushed. While she cannot forgive her sister, her duty to Avak comes first. Her own crew is being hunted by Durga. She needs her sister's crew and her resources. Nasira destroys her sister’s stockpiled salt. The only way her sister can save Avak now is to cooperate with Nasira and Hakan. Her sister reluctantly agrees, and together, they formulate a plan. (This is a bunch of short sentences that, right now, don't really connect -- duty first. crew being hunted. needs sister's resources. destroys stockpile. sister must cooperate. -- If you tie a few of these sentences together, it may help the flow feel more organic.)

 

Before they can make their move, Durga captures Hakan, using him as bait to lure out Nasira. But Nasira cannot abandon her home to save him(her husband). She can only push forward and hope she can rescue Hakan in the process. 

 

During the night, Nasira and her sister post notices throughout the city, calling on Avak's citizens to meet the following morning. At this meeting, Nasira unveils the truth about Durga and the foreign government seeking to control them. The anger that has been burning within Avak’s people for twenty years explodes. Riots break out across the city, as the mob surges towards the foreign embassies.

 

Before Durga can flee, Nasira, her sister, and their crew assault his compound. But Durga’s soldiers are waiting and slaughter many of their people in an ambush. In the chaos, Nasira sneaks past the fighting to confront Durga alone.

 

She reaches Durga's office and. There she finds Durga’s terrifying enforcer, holding a gun to Hakan's head. Durga’s enforcer offers her a sadistic choice. She may confront Durga unopposed, but he will kill Hakan. Or he will release Hakan and fight them both himself. Nasira knows this man's reputation. He will likely kill both of them in a fight. But there are limits to how much she can sacrifice for duty. She cannot let this man execute Hakan. Nasira fights, with Hakan at her side. They both receive injuries they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, but they succeed. Together, they confront Durga and kill him for what he has done to their home.

 

Avak lost much in the riots. Nasira had always wanted to spare her home this violence, and she struggles to see what they have accomplished as a victory. But the occupation is over. Hakan and Nasira do not know how they will begin to rebuild their city and their lives. But they both have a home once again, and Avak is finally free.

 

Hey Monks, 

 

This is coming together. Just a few nit picks, mostly for flow, but overall, I like it. 

 

CM



#12 Monks

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 12:55 PM

Thanks for the critique, as always, CM_Fick. Not going to do another full revision just yet, but I agree with all the tweaks you pointed out. Barring bigger rewrites, I'll definitely incorporate them into the next version. Thanks again!


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#13 Aightball

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 07:21 PM

Two foreign empires have occupied the island city-state Avak for the past twenty years, exporting Avak's unique tea, a pillar of the island’s history and culture. These empires are kept in check by each other and DURGA, an Avakian gangster who owns most of Avak's tea farms.  Thanks for explaining the deal with the tea...I understand now why you don't go into more detail.  Knowing that, I think this works!

 

NASIRA leads an underground resistance fighting to save her home and its heritage. Nasira believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she has a plan to usurp him and use his monopoly to fight back against the foreign empires. Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, a foreign soldier disgusted by his country’s exploitation of Avak, but ignorant of his wife's double life.

 

Nasira’s plans are interrupted when Hakan’s best friend, one of Durga’s lieutenants, is publicly executed by masked revolutionaries. Hakan wants revenge, and Nasira wants to help him. Until Hakan shows her the murder weapon: her own gun. She's being set up. Hakan doesn’t know the gun is hers, but it’s only a matter of time before he finds out. Denied aid by his own government, Hakan turns to Durga. Hakan might see the gangster as an opportunistic parasite, but they share a goal: discovering who killed Hakan's friend.

 

Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her. But as soon as she begins, unknown assailants kidnap her sister. Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her, ignoring her duties to the resistance. Convinced that Durga is responsible, she spies on him and learns that Durga is not opposing the occupation, as he has always claimed. He has been cooperating with officials from Hakan’s homeland for months. Using propaganda and false-flag attacks, they have been channeling Avak's anger towards the other empire. They intend to spark open rebellion with a massive bombing, turning Avak's citizens into an unwitting army to drive out the other empire. Then the leaders of Hakan's homeland and Durga can rule Avak unopposed. Nasira is forced to put her personal battles aside to finish what she started: freeing Avak from Durga and the foreign empires. Even if it means losing her sister.  I like this!  It's easy to follow the story and things make more sense this time.  Well done!

 

Before Nasira can make her next move, however, Hakan confronts her. He and Durga have learned that the gun is hers. Durga is now hunting her, and Hakan, who has been forced to betray his own country to protect her secrets, demands answers for years of lies. Nasira confesses everything: her involvement in Avak's underworld, her fight to free her country, and how she was framed for the murder. She kept these secrets so Hakan wasn’t forced to choose between his homeland and Avak. Hakan is heartbroken.  Great revision!  It makes a lot more sense now and I can follow things more easily

 

Then Nasira tells him about Durga’s plan, and they both agree that their personal demons will have to wait. They need to save Avak.

 

Now united, they first must discover who really killed Hakan's friend and why they’re pushing Avak into a gang war. Nasira has learned that someone has been buying enormous quantities of salt. Following this lead, they capture the person responsible for manipulating all of them from the shadows: Nasira's own sister.

 

Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Nasira’s sister claims that she and Nasira live in different worlds. Unlike Nasira, her sister is too young to remember Avak as it was before the foreigners arrived. She has no fond memories of their past, knows no heritage worth saving. All she knows is the occupation — and a burning desire to end it, no matter the cost. She framed Nasira for the attacks on Durga to distract the gangster, then she faked her own kidnapping to distract Nasira. She planned to salt Avak's farms, burn the trees, and turn the soil barren. She would destroy Avak's tea, its economy, and a key piece of its history. She was willing to bring Avak to the brink of ruin and starvation in order to save it.

 

Nasira is crushed. While she cannot forgive her sister, her duty to Avak comes first. Her own crew is being hunted by Durga. She needs her sister's crew and her resources. Nasira destroys her sister’s stockpiled salt. The only way her sister can save Avak now is to cooperate with Nasira and Hakan. Her sister reluctantly agrees, and together, they formulate a plan.

 

Before they can make their move, Durga captures Hakan, using him as bait to lure out Nasira. But Nasira cannot abandon her home to save him. She can only push forward and hope she can rescue Hakan in the process.

 

During the night, Nasira and her sister post notices throughout the city, calling on Avak's citizens to meet the following morning. At this meeting, Nasira unveils the truth about Durga and the foreign government seeking to control them. The anger that has been burning within Avak’s people for twenty years explodes. Riots break out across the city, as the mob surges towards the foreign embassies.

 

Before Durga can flee, Nasira, her sister, and their crew assault his compound. But Durga’s soldiers are waiting and slaughter many of their people in an ambush. In the chaos, Nasira sneaks past the fighting to confront Durga alone.

 

She reaches Durga's office. There she finds Durga’s terrifying enforcer, holding a gun to Hakan's head. Durga’s enforcer offers her a sadistic choice. She may confront Durga unopposed, but he will kill Hakan. Or he will release Hakan and fight them both himself. Nasira knows this man's reputation. He will likely kill both of them in a fight. But there are limits to how much she can sacrifice for duty. She cannot let this man execute Hakan. Nasira fights, with Hakan at her side. They both receive injuries they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, but they succeed. Together, they confront Durga and kill him for what he has done to their home.  I like the changes here!  It's clear now what's going on and who's who.

 

Avak lost much in the riots. Nasira had always wanted to spare her home this violence, and she struggles to see what they have accomplished as a victory. But the occupation is over. Hakan and Nasira do not know how they will begin to rebuild their city and their lives. But they both have a home once again, and Avak is finally free.

(Sorry for the delay!!)

 

I think this revision is excellent!  It all makes more sense and I think you gave us the story more clearly.  I was able to follow it this time and I didn't have the confusion I had earlier =).  Well done!


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#14 Monks

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 11:46 AM

Thanks for the critiques, everyone. Here's the updated version. A few structural changes based on CM_Fick's suggestions, and a few more from suggestions from a RL friend. Mostly just for flow. Hopefully I'm done with major edits at this point (though if any fresh eyes have sweeping issues, I'm all ears). Also, Aightball, you think you'll have another revision up for your synopsis soon? I definitely want to take another look at it once you do. Thanks again to everyone!

 

##################

 

Two foreign empires have occupied the island city-state Avak for the past twenty years, exporting Avak's unique tea, a pillar of the island’s history and culture. These empires are kept in check by each other and DURGA, an Avakian gangster who owns most of Avak's tea farms.
 
NASIRA leads an underground resistance fighting to save her home and its heritage. She believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she plans to usurp him and use his monopoly to fight back against the foreign empires. Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, a foreign soldier disgusted by his country’s exploitation of Avak, but ignorant of his wife's double life.
 
Nasira’s plans are interrupted when Hakan’s best friend, one of Durga’s lieutenants, is publicly executed by masked revolutionaries. Hakan wants revenge, and Nasira wants to help him. Until Hakan shows her the murder weapon: her own gun. She's being set up. Hakan doesn’t know the gun is hers, but it’s only a matter of time before he finds out. Denied aid by his own government, Hakan turns to Durga. Hakan sees the gangster as an opportunistic parasite, but they share a goal: discovering who killed Hakan's friend.
 
Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her. But as soon as her hunt begins, unknown assailants kidnap her sister. Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her, ignoring her duties to the resistance. She is convinced that Durga is responsible for the abduction. But while spying on him, she learns that Durga is not opposing the occupation, as he has always claimed. He has been cooperating with officials from Hakan’s homeland for months. Using propaganda and false-flag attacks, they have channeled Avak's anger towards the other empire. They intend to spark open rebellion with a massive bombing, turning Avak's citizens into an unwitting army to drive out the other empire. Then the leaders of Hakan's homeland and Durga can rule Avak unopposed. Nasira is forced to put her personal battles aside to finish what she started: freeing Avak from Durga and the foreign empires. Even if it means losing her sister.
 
Before Nasira can make her next move, however, Hakan confronts her. He and Durga have learned that the gun is hers. Durga is now hunting her, and Hakan, who has betrayed his own country to protect her secrets, demands answers for years of lies. Nasira confesses everything: her involvement in Avak's underworld, her fight to free her country, and how she was framed for the murder. She kept these secrets so Hakan wasn’t forced to choose between his homeland and Avak. Hakan, feeling like he no longer belongs anywhere, is heartbroken.
 
Then Nasira tells him about Durga’s plan, and they both agree that their personal demons will have to wait. They need to save Avak.
 
Now united, they first must discover who really killed Hakan's friend and why they’re pushing Avak into a gang war. Nasira learns that someone has been buying enormous quantities of salt. Following this lead, they capture the person responsible for manipulating all of them from the shadows: Nasira's own sister.
 
She faked her own kidnapping to distract Nasira and framed Nasira for the attacks on Durga to distract the gangster. Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Nasira’s sister claims that she and Nasira live in different worlds. Unlike Nasira, her sister is too young to remember Avak as it was before the foreigners arrived. She has no fond memories of their past, knows no heritage worth saving. All she knows is the occupation — and a burning desire to end it, no matter the cost. She planned to salt Avak's farms, burn the trees, and turn the soil barren. She would destroy Avak's tea, its economy, and a key piece of its history. She was willing to bring Avak to the brink of ruin and starvation in order to save it.
 
Nasira is crushed by this treachery. But with her own crew hunted by Durga, she needs her sister’s crew and resources. She cannot forgive her sister, but her duty to Avak comes first. She destroys her sister’s stockpiled salt, so the only way her sister can save Avak now is to cooperate with Nasira and Hakan. Her sister reluctantly agrees, and together, they formulate a plan.
 
Before they can make their move, Durga captures Hakan, using him as bait to lure out Nasira. But Nasira cannot abandon her home to save her husband. She can only push forward and hope she can rescue Hakan in the process.
 
During the night, Nasira and her sister post notices throughout the city, calling on Avak's citizens to meet the following morning. At this meeting, Nasira unveils the truth about Durga and the foreign government seeking to control them. The anger that has been burning within Avak’s people for twenty years explodes. Riots break out across the city, as the mob surges towards the foreign embassies.
 
Before Durga can flee, Nasira, her sister, and their crew assault his compound. But Durga’s soldiers are waiting and slaughter many of their people in an ambush. In the chaos, Nasira sneaks past the fighting to confront Durga alone.
 
She reaches Durga's office and finds Durga’s terrifying enforcer, holding a gun to Hakan's head. Durga’s enforcer offers her a sadistic choice. She may confront Durga unopposed, but he will kill Hakan. Or he will release Hakan and fight them both himself. Nasira knows this man's reputation. He will likely kill both of them in a fight. But there are limits to how much she can sacrifice for duty. She cannot let this man execute Hakan. Nasira fights, with Hakan at her side. They both receive injuries they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, but they succeed. Together, they confront Durga and kill him for what he has done to their home.
 
Avak lost much in the riots. Nasira had always wanted to spare her home this violence, and she struggles to see what they have accomplished as a victory. But the occupation is over. Hakan and Nasira do not know how they will begin to rebuild their city and their lives. But they both have a home once again, and Avak is finally free.

Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#15 Aightball

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 07:50 PM

 

Thanks for the critiques, everyone. Here's the updated version. A few structural changes based on CM_Fick's suggestions, and a few more from suggestions from a RL friend. Mostly just for flow. Hopefully I'm done with major edits at this point (though if any fresh eyes have sweeping issues, I'm all ears). Also, Aightball, you think you'll have another revision up for your synopsis soon? I definitely want to take another look at it once you do. Thanks again to everyone!

 

##################

 

Two foreign empires have occupied the island city-state Avak for the past twenty years, exporting Avak's unique tea, a pillar of the island’s history and culture. These empires are kept in check by each other and DURGA, an Avakian gangster who owns most of Avak's tea farms.
 
NASIRA leads an underground resistance fighting to save her home and its heritage. She believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she plans to usurp him and use his monopoly to fight back against the foreign empires. Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, a foreign soldier disgusted by his country’s exploitation of Avak, but ignorant of his wife's double life.
 
Nasira’s plans are interrupted when Hakan’s best friend, one of Durga’s lieutenants, is publicly executed by masked revolutionaries. Hakan wants revenge, and Nasira wants to help him. Until Hakan shows her the murder weapon: her own gun. She's being set up. Hakan doesn’t know the gun is hers, but it’s only a matter of time before he finds out. Denied aid by his own government, Hakan turns to Durga. Hakan sees the gangster as an opportunistic parasite, but they share a goal: discovering who killed Hakan's friend.
 
Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her. But as soon as her hunt begins, unknown assailants kidnap her sister. Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her, ignoring her duties to the resistance. She is convinced that Durga is responsible for the abduction. But while spying on him, she learns that Durga is not opposing the occupation, as he has always claimed. He has been cooperating with officials from Hakan’s homeland for months. Using propaganda and false-flag attacks, they have channeled Avak's anger towards the other empire. They intend to spark open rebellion with a massive bombing, turning Avak's citizens into an unwitting army to drive out the other empire. Then the leaders of Hakan's homeland and Durga can rule Avak unopposed. Nasira is forced to put her personal battles aside to finish what she started: freeing Avak from Durga and the foreign empires. Even if it means losing her sister.
 
Before Nasira can make her next move, however, Hakan confronts her. He and Durga have learned that the gun is hers. Durga is now hunting her, and Hakan, who has betrayed his own country to protect her secrets, demands answers for years of lies. Nasira confesses everything: her involvement in Avak's underworld, her fight to free her country, and how she was framed for the murder. She kept these secrets so Hakan wasn’t forced to choose between his homeland and Avak. Hakan, feeling like he no longer belongs anywhere, is heartbroken.
 
Then Nasira tells him about Durga’s plan, and they both agree that their personal demons will have to wait. They need to save Avak.
 
Now united, they first must discover who really killed Hakan's friend and why they’re pushing Avak into a gang war. Nasira learns that someone has been buying enormous quantities of salt. Following this lead, they capture the person responsible for manipulating all of them from the shadows: Nasira's own sister.
 
She faked her own kidnapping to distract Nasira and framed Nasira for the attacks on Durga to distract the gangster. Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Nasira’s sister claims that she and Nasira live in different worlds. Unlike Nasira, her sister is too young to remember Avak as it was before the foreigners arrived. She has no fond memories of their past, knows no heritage worth saving. All she knows is the occupation — and a burning desire to end it, no matter the cost. She planned to salt Avak's farms, burn the trees, and turn the soil barren. She would destroy Avak's tea, its economy, and a key piece of its history. She was willing to bring Avak to the brink of ruin and starvation in order to save it.
 
Nasira is crushed by this treachery. But with her own crew hunted by Durga, she needs her sister’s crew and resources. She cannot forgive her sister, but her duty to Avak comes first. She destroys her sister’s stockpiled salt, so the only way her sister can save Avak now is to cooperate with Nasira and Hakan. Her sister reluctantly agrees, and together, they formulate a plan.
 
Before they can make their move, Durga captures Hakan, using him as bait to lure out Nasira. But Nasira cannot abandon her home to save her husband. She can only push forward and hope she can rescue Hakan in the process.
 
During the night, Nasira and her sister post notices throughout the city, calling on Avak's citizens to meet the following morning. At this meeting, Nasira unveils the truth about Durga and the foreign government seeking to control them. The anger that has been burning within Avak’s people for twenty years explodes. Riots break out across the city, as the mob surges towards the foreign embassies.
 
Before Durga can flee, Nasira, her sister, and their crew assault his compound. But Durga’s soldiers are waiting and slaughter many of their people in an ambush. In the chaos, Nasira sneaks past the fighting to confront Durga alone.
 
She reaches Durga's office and finds Durga’s terrifying enforcer, holding a gun to Hakan's head. Durga’s enforcer offers her a sadistic choice. She may confront Durga unopposed, but he will kill Hakan. Or he will release Hakan and fight them both himself. Nasira knows this man's reputation. He will likely kill both of them in a fight. But there are limits to how much she can sacrifice for duty. She cannot let this man execute Hakan. Nasira fights, with Hakan at her side. They both receive injuries they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, but they succeed. Together, they confront Durga and kill him for what he has done to their home.
 
Avak lost much in the riots. Nasira had always wanted to spare her home this violence, and she struggles to see what they have accomplished as a victory. But the occupation is over. Hakan and Nasira do not know how they will begin to rebuild their city and their lives. But they both have a home once again, and Avak is finally free.

 

 

I really can't find anything to note for you.  It flows well, it's easy to follow, and I'm invested in the story.  I think you've got it!!

 

I just updated mine =)


Most girls are made of
sugar and spice and everything nice; they
screwed up the recipe for me: I'm made of
bat wings and broken things.

Query: http://agentquerycon...rescue-me-lgbt/

Blog: http://aightball.wordpress.com

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...rescue-me-lgbt/

Twitter Hook(s): http://agentquerycon...rescue-me-lgbt/

Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

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#16 Paulsvault

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 12:52 AM

Looks good. I think it makes the point and you even clearly describe all of the deception and betrayal in a clear and concise way that is easy to follow. There are many twists and turns here (the sister, Durga cooperating with officials, and so on). That sort of mixture of betrayal can be difficult to portray clearly and you have done a good job of that. In my opinion you have a solid synopsis here. 

I only hope that my mess of a synopsis takes a clear and concise shape as quickly as yours did.

Congrats!


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#17 Monks

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 11:22 AM

Thanks, Aightball and Paulsvault. I just took a look at both your synopses, and they're looking good! Guess I'll send a few copies of this out and see what comes back. Thanks again, everyone, for your help. And as always, I'm open to last minute tweaks and suggestions.


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#18 dmsimone

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 12:03 PM

OK jumping in. Could you look at my synopsis when you have a chance? 

My comments below are in blue.

Couple of comments:

1. Stay in present tense POV.

2. Well written with strong, active words. No telling, all showing. However,you do start a lot of sentences with "But" so watch out for that. It was often enough for me to notice.

3. Two things I think are missing: theme and character arc. What is the theme of the story? What is Nasira's character arc? What about Hakan? The opening paragraph and the ending paragraph should show the changes in character situation and mindset. This is something I've struggled with.

4. Be mindful of word count - I felt like we were getting into nitty gritty details. Depending on length, you may want to up level some things.

 

 

 

Thanks for the critiques, everyone. Here's the updated version. A few structural changes based on CM_Fick's suggestions, and a few more from suggestions from a RL friend. Mostly just for flow. Hopefully I'm done with major edits at this point (though if any fresh eyes have sweeping issues, I'm all ears). Also, Aightball, you think you'll have another revision up for your synopsis soon? I definitely want to take another look at it once you do. Thanks again to everyone!

 

##################

 

Two foreign empires have occupied the island city-state Avak for the past twenty years, exporting Avak's unique tea, a pillar of the island’s history and culture. These empires are kept in check by each other and DURGA, an Avakian gangster who owns most of Avak's tea farms. These two empires occupy Avak to export tea - do they only export tea or do they control all production as well? Just curious because word choice might be important here depending on your story. Also, when you say they are kept in check by each other - what does that mean? From a marketing/pricing perspective? For simplicity, it might be clearer to say they are kept in check by DURGA....etc. 
 
NASIRA leads an underground resistance fighting to save her home and its heritage. She believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she plans to usurp him and use his monopoly to fight back against the foreign empires. Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, a foreign soldier disgusted by his country’s exploitation of Avak, but ignorant of his wife's double life. I would be specific here and explain what/where her home is, because I don't know if she is from Avak or one of the foreign empires. If she is from Avak, why does she feel the need to save her home? Is it in danger? Also, why do you say Durga "fights"? I thought he keeps the foreign empires in check. Love the conflict introduced with Hakan.
 
Nasira’s plans are interrupted when Hakan’s best friend, one of Durga’s lieutenants, is publicly executed by masked revolutionaries. Hakan wants revenge, and Nasira wants to help him. Until Hakan shows her the murder weapon: her own gun. She's being set up. Hakan doesn’t know the gun is hers, but it’s only a matter of time before he finds out. Denied aid by his own government, Hakan turns to Durga. Hakan sees the gangster as an opportunistic parasite, but they share a goal: discovering who killed Hakan's friend. This is excellent conflict. Question: what POVs are present in your story? Does Hakan have a POV? I ask because this paragraph is presented as if it is happening in Hakan's POV.
 
Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her. But as soon as her hunt begins, unknown assailants kidnap her sister. Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her, ignoring her duties to the resistance. Fabulous! She is convinced that Durga is responsible for the abduction. But While spying on him, she learns that Durga is does not opposeing the occupation, as he has always claimsed. He has been cooperating with officials from Hakan’s homeland for months. Using propaganda and false-flag attacks, they have channeled Avak's anger towards the other empire. They intend to spark open rebellion with a massive bombing, turning Avak's citizens into an unwitting army to drive out the other empire. Then the leaders of Hakan's homeland and Durga can rule Avak unopposed. Nasira is forced to put her personal battles (can you be specific? are you talking about her search for her sister? If so, I would state that) aside to finish what she started: freeing Avak from Durga and the foreign empires. Even if it means losing her sister. I don't know what you mean by "they have channeled Avak's anger towards the other empire." Can you clarify this? You also say "the other empire" 2x here, and I don't know which you mean because there are two.
 
Before Nasira can make her next move, however, Hakan confronts her. He and Durga have learned that the gun is hers. Durga is now hunting her, and Hakan, who has betrayed his own country to protect her secrets, demands answers for years of lies. Great conflict. Nasira confesses everything: her involvement in Avak's underworld, her fight to free her country, and how she was framed for the murder. She kept these secrets so Hakan wasn’t forced to choose between his homeland and Avak. Hakan, feeling like he no longer belongs anywhere, is heartbroken.
 
Then Nasira tells him about Durga’s plan, and they both agree that their personal demons will have to wait. They need to save Avak. What is Hakan's personal demon? The fact that he was looking for revenge against his murdered lieutenant?
 
Now united, they first must discover who really killed Hakan's friend and why they’re pushing Avak into a gang war. Nasira learns that someone has been buying enormous quantities of salt. Following this lead, they capture the person responsible for manipulating all of them from the shadows: Nasira's own sister. Love the twist!
 
She faked her own kidnapping to distract Nasira and framed Nasira for the attacks on Durga to distract the gangster. Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Nasira’s sister claims that she and Nasira live in different worlds. Unlike Nasira, her sister is too young to remember Avak as it was before the foreigners arrived. She has no fond memories of their past, knows no heritage worth saving. All she knows is the occupation — and a burning desire to end it, no matter the cost. She planned to salt Avak's farms, burn the trees, and turn the soil barren. She would destroy Avak's tea, its economy, and a key piece of its history. She was willing to bring Avak to the brink of ruin and starvation in order to save it. These are great reveals about the sister...however, at this point I am wondering what the theme of the story is.
 
Nasira is crushed by this treachery. But with her own crew hunted by Durga, she needs her sister’s crew and resources. She cannot forgive her sister, but  and puts her duty to Avak comes first. She destroys her sister’s stockpiled salt, so the only way her sister can save Avak now is to cooperate with Nasira and Hakan. Her sister reluctantly agrees, and together, they formulate a plan. Suggest a reword to avoid the "crew" repetition.
 
Before they can make their move, Durga captures Hakan, using him as bait to lure out Nasira. But Nasira cannot abandon her home to save her husband. She can only push forward and hope she can rescue Hakan in the process.
 
During the night, Nasira and her sister post notices throughout the city, calling on Avak's citizens to meet the following morning. At this meeting, Nasira unveils the truth about Durga and the foreign government seeking to control them. The anger that has been burning within Avak’s people for twenty years explodes. Riots break out across the city, as the mob surges towards the foreign embassies.
 
Before Durga can flee, Nasira, her sister, and their crew assault his compound. But Durga’s soldiers are waiting and slaughter many of their people in an ambush. In the chaos, Nasira sneaks past the fighting to confront Durga alone. The writing is clear and good - but you are getting into the weeds regarding scene by scene / plot point by plot point details. That is what it sounds like. How are you on word count? How long is this synopsis?
 
She reaches Durga's office and finds Durga’s his terrifying enforcer, holding a gun to Hakan's head. Durga’s enforcer offers her a sadistic choice. She may confront Durga unopposed, but he will kill Hakan. Or, he will release Hakan and fight them both himself. Nasira knows this man's reputation. He will likely kill both of them in a fight. But there are limits to how much she can sacrifice for duty. She cannot let this man execute Hakan. Nasira fights, with Hakan at her side. They both receive injuries they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, but they succeed. Together, they confront Durga and kill him for what he has done to their home.
 
Avak lost much in the riots. Nasira had always wanted to spare her home this violence, and she struggles to see what they have accomplished as a victory. But the occupation is over. Hakan and Nasira do not know how they will begin to rebuild their city and their lives. But they both have a home once again, and Avak is finally free.

 



#19 Monks

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 07:58 PM

dmsimone, thank you for the critique! I'll certainly return the favor, though I'm heading to bed shortly, so it'll be tomorrow morning before I take a look at your synopsis. Just wanted to answer some of the questions you brought up. Marking my answers in red.

 

 

OK jumping in. Could you look at my synopsis when you have a chance? 

My comments below are in blue.

Couple of comments:

1. Stay in present tense POV.

2. Well written with strong, active words. No telling, all showing. However,you do start a lot of sentences with "But" so watch out for that. It was often enough for me to notice.

3. Two things I think are missing: theme and character arc. What is the theme of the story? What is Nasira's character arc? What about Hakan? The opening paragraph and the ending paragraph should show the changes in character situation and mindset. This is something I've struggled with.

4. Be mindful of word count - I felt like we were getting into nitty gritty details. Depending on length, you may want to up level some things.

 

 

 

Thanks for the critiques, everyone. Here's the updated version. A few structural changes based on CM_Fick's suggestions, and a few more from suggestions from a RL friend. Mostly just for flow. Hopefully I'm done with major edits at this point (though if any fresh eyes have sweeping issues, I'm all ears). Also, Aightball, you think you'll have another revision up for your synopsis soon? I definitely want to take another look at it once you do. Thanks again to everyone!

 

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Two foreign empires have occupied the island city-state Avak for the past twenty years, exporting Avak's unique tea, a pillar of the island’s history and culture. These empires are kept in check by each other and DURGA, an Avakian gangster who owns most of Avak's tea farms. These two empires occupy Avak to export tea - do they only export tea or do they control all production as well? Just curious because word choice might be important here depending on your story. Also, when you say they are kept in check by each other - what does that mean? From a marketing/pricing perspective? For simplicity, it might be clearer to say they are kept in check by DURGA....etc. The political situation on the island is complicated. Essentially, the two empires are rivals. They each have a small military presence on Avak (under the guise of a police force for peacekeeping), but much of their control of the island is economic. They don't control all of Avak's production, but they do control (along with Durga) most of the tea, and they have taken steps to basically shift all of Avak's production towards the tea. The reason they don't have a strong military presence on the island (and thus a more complete and overt occupation) is that they're worried about the diplomatic ramifications of escalation. If one of the empires brings a large military force to the island, the other empire will be forced to do the same. It would inevitably lead to war, and whoever threw the first stone (by bringing in an army) would suffer pretty severely, in terms of international diplomacy. Neither empire wants that. So they're attempting to control the island through more subtle, economic means. This is what has allowed Durga to come in and carve out his niche. He anticipated the complex politics surrounding the occupation when it first began and used that initiative to buy up much of Avak's tea production. His rise to power goes hand in hand with the occupation. This is also why, later on, when Nasira learns about one empire cooperating with Durga to oust the other, it's such a big deal. Because it would mean the remaining empire would finally be able to take full and overt control over Avak. Naturally, this political arrangement is hard to cram into a sentence or two in the synopsis. I agree with your critique that the description I give of it is somewhat vague, but I'm just at a loss how to condense it down any better.
 
NASIRA leads an underground resistance fighting to save her home and its heritage. She believes that Durga fights only for his own greed, and she plans to usurp him and use his monopoly to fight back against the foreign empires. Her work is complicated by her marriage to HAKAN, a foreign soldier disgusted by his country’s exploitation of Avak, but ignorant of his wife's double life. I would be specific here and explain what/where her home is, because I don't know if she is from Avak or one of the foreign empires. If she is from Avak, why does she feel the need to save her home? Is it in danger? Also, why do you say Durga "fights"? I thought he keeps the foreign empires in check. Love the conflict introduced with Hakan.
 
Nasira’s plans are interrupted when Hakan’s best friend, one of Durga’s lieutenants, is publicly executed by masked revolutionaries. Hakan wants revenge, and Nasira wants to help him. Until Hakan shows her the murder weapon: her own gun. She's being set up. Hakan doesn’t know the gun is hers, but it’s only a matter of time before he finds out. Denied aid by his own government, Hakan turns to Durga. Hakan sees the gangster as an opportunistic parasite, but they share a goal: discovering who killed Hakan's friend. This is excellent conflict. Question: what POVs are present in your story? Does Hakan have a POV? I ask because this paragraph is presented as if it is happening in Hakan's POV. Yes, Hakan is a POV character, and I mention this in my query, so the agent reading here will be aware of that. I just had the synopsis focus more on Nasira's plot arc because jumping back and forth was too confusing (as seen in my earlier versions of this synopsis).
 
Nasira races to find the real killer before Hakan and Durga trace the gun back to her. But as soon as her hunt begins, unknown assailants kidnap her sister. Nasira becomes obsessed with finding her, ignoring her duties to the resistance. Fabulous! She is convinced that Durga is responsible for the abduction. But While spying on him, she learns that Durga is does not opposeing the occupation, as he has always claimsed. He has been cooperating with officials from Hakan’s homeland for months. Using propaganda and false-flag attacks, they have channeled Avak's anger towards the other empire. They intend to spark open rebellion with a massive bombing, turning Avak's citizens into an unwitting army to drive out the other empire. Then the leaders of Hakan's homeland and Durga can rule Avak unopposed. Nasira is forced to put her personal battles (can you be specific? are you talking about her search for her sister? If so, I would state that) aside to finish what she started: freeing Avak from Durga and the foreign empires. Even if it means losing her sister. I don't know what you mean by "they have channeled Avak's anger towards the other empire." Can you clarify this? You also say "the other empire" 2x here, and I don't know which you mean because there are two.
 
Before Nasira can make her next move, however, Hakan confronts her. He and Durga have learned that the gun is hers. Durga is now hunting her, and Hakan, who has betrayed his own country to protect her secrets, demands answers for years of lies. Great conflict. Nasira confesses everything: her involvement in Avak's underworld, her fight to free her country, and how she was framed for the murder. She kept these secrets so Hakan wasn’t forced to choose between his homeland and Avak. Hakan, feeling like he no longer belongs anywhere, is heartbroken.
 
Then Nasira tells him about Durga’s plan, and they both agree that their personal demons will have to wait. They need to save Avak. What is Hakan's personal demon? The fact that he was looking for revenge against his murdered lieutenant? Yes, that, and the relationship conflict brought up by the discovery of Nasira's lies.
 
Now united, they first must discover who really killed Hakan's friend and why they’re pushing Avak into a gang war. Nasira learns that someone has been buying enormous quantities of salt. Following this lead, they capture the person responsible for manipulating all of them from the shadows: Nasira's own sister. Love the twist!
 
She faked her own kidnapping to distract Nasira and framed Nasira for the attacks on Durga to distract the gangster. Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Nasira’s sister claims that she and Nasira live in different worlds. Unlike Nasira, her sister is too young to remember Avak as it was before the foreigners arrived. She has no fond memories of their past, knows no heritage worth saving. All she knows is the occupation — and a burning desire to end it, no matter the cost. She planned to salt Avak's farms, burn the trees, and turn the soil barren. She would destroy Avak's tea, its economy, and a key piece of its history. She was willing to bring Avak to the brink of ruin and starvation in order to save it. These are great reveals about the sister...however, at this point I am wondering what the theme of the story is.
 
Nasira is crushed by this treachery. But with her own crew hunted by Durga, she needs her sister’s crew and resources. She cannot forgive her sister, but  and puts her duty to Avak comes first. She destroys her sister’s stockpiled salt, so the only way her sister can save Avak now is to cooperate with Nasira and Hakan. Her sister reluctantly agrees, and together, they formulate a plan. Suggest a reword to avoid the "crew" repetition.
 
Before they can make their move, Durga captures Hakan, using him as bait to lure out Nasira. But Nasira cannot abandon her home to save her husband. She can only push forward and hope she can rescue Hakan in the process.
 
During the night, Nasira and her sister post notices throughout the city, calling on Avak's citizens to meet the following morning. At this meeting, Nasira unveils the truth about Durga and the foreign government seeking to control them. The anger that has been burning within Avak’s people for twenty years explodes. Riots break out across the city, as the mob surges towards the foreign embassies.
 
Before Durga can flee, Nasira, her sister, and their crew assault his compound. But Durga’s soldiers are waiting and slaughter many of their people in an ambush. In the chaos, Nasira sneaks past the fighting to confront Durga alone. The writing is clear and good - but you are getting into the weeds regarding scene by scene / plot point by plot point details. That is what it sounds like. How are you on word count? How long is this synopsis? I'm just over 1000 words, after condensing this paragraph as you suggested. It's longer than I'd like, but I've pored over it trying to find big sections to cut, and I just can't find anything. I trim a word here or there with every editing pass, but that only adds up to so much. If there's anything in the synopsis that you think is just totally superfluous, I'd be happy to look at cutting it. I just can't find anything.
 
She reaches Durga's office and finds Durga’s his terrifying enforcer, holding a gun to Hakan's head. Durga’s enforcer offers her a sadistic choice. She may confront Durga unopposed, but he will kill Hakan. Or, he will release Hakan and fight them both himself. Nasira knows this man's reputation. He will likely kill both of them in a fight. But there are limits to how much she can sacrifice for duty. She cannot let this man execute Hakan. Nasira fights, with Hakan at her side. They both receive injuries they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, but they succeed. Together, they confront Durga and kill him for what he has done to their home.
 
Avak lost much in the riots. Nasira had always wanted to spare her home this violence, and she struggles to see what they have accomplished as a victory. But the occupation is over. Hakan and Nasira do not know how they will begin to rebuild their city and their lives. But they both have a home once again, and Avak is finally free.

 

 

 


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#20 dmsimone

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 10:13 PM

Thanks for answering my questions. That clears some things up!

 

I know what you mean about cutting things - the plot is so complex that if you cut one thing then the reader can't follow what happens next. I am in the same position...and I need to get my synopsis into 1 page - 600 words max. I think the key is to incorporate only the critical beats. If you follow a beat sheet you will know what I mean. If you don't - I highly recommend you look into it. They might help identify those critical, key plot points for your synopsis if you need to trim.






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