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Avak (fantasy) - newest version in post #14


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#21 JeffJustWrites

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 12:05 PM

This is a really compelling synopsis. Is it historical fiction or low fantasy?

The only edits (read 'suggestions') I've made are [in brackets]. Mostly for flow, but overall I'd say you've got this.

JJW

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 [of] 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.
 
[Devastated by the betrayal, Nasira demands an explanation. Her sister confesses to faking] her own kidnapping to distract Nasira, and [framing] Nasira for the attacks on Durga to distract the gangster. 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.


My Perpetually Metamorphosing Query

 

At vahrai u ihlókéon. At u Atavithion. 


#22 Monks

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 01:28 PM

Thanks for giving it a read, and glad you like it! I've been querying it as low fantasy, as it's an entirely fictional universe, but there are no supernatural or typical fantastical elements in the story. You could make a case for historical fiction though. The island of Avak and its history are loosely based on the history of 19th century Singapore and the impact of colonialism on that country.


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#23 JeffJustWrites

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 03:04 PM

No no, I was hoping it was fantasy :) makes me want to learn about the world (hope you included a map or two!)

I like this, a wider world in which a very personal story unfolds. I wasn't able to do that. Bravo :)

My Perpetually Metamorphosing Query

 

At vahrai u ihlókéon. At u Atavithion. 


#24 Monks

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 06:05 PM

No no, I was hoping it was fantasy :) makes me want to learn about the world (hope you included a map or two!)

I like this, a wider world in which a very personal story unfolds. I wasn't able to do that. Bravo :)

 

Thanks! Yeah, a more personal story within a larger political backdrop was exactly what I was going for. Hopefully some agent out there feels the same way!


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!




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