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The Blood of Runes - YA Historical Fantasy


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#1 dmsimone

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 10:00 PM

Updated synopsis in post #4.

 

I need a one-page synopsis. Right now this is ~650 words, so there's zero room to add but plenty of room (I hope) to tighten. Please help me do this!

 

I have also tried to inject theme and character arc into this synopsis. Any and all feedback would be so helpful!

 

 

Sixteen-year-old PIPPA is an impulsive Viking girl who’s clever with daggers and enjoys gambling in mead halls. She dreams to be reunited with her father who vanished—whisked away by a malevolent cloud. Fearing the howling wind, Pippa hides her longing from her brother, who thinks it’s foolish to hope their father is alive. When the cloud returns and pursues Pippa, her brother sacrifices himself and is seized in her place.

 

Pippa’s uncle, a Celtic Bard who works elemental magic, surprises her with a runic message from her father. The message instructs Pippa, her aunt, and cousin to move to Caithe, a faraway Bard refuge in the Scottish Hebrides. Faulting herself for her brother’s capture, she commits to his rescue and leaves her childhood home.

 

A mysterious girl named MARGRET ingratiates herself into Pippa’s family and explains the cloud is a mythical Night Mare—a menacing horse while on land, a raging storm in the sky. Already disliking Margret's secretive nature, Pippa suspects a connection between Margret and the Night Mare. Her distrust magnifies when Margret reveals she is a Norse sorceress.

 

In Caithe, the Bards can call mist and travel great distances using ancient standing stones, but aren’t motivated to help Pippa. She guilts her adventurous cousin to steal a longship to search for information in the Hebrides. Margret and a Bard Apprentice named RHOBERT joins them. Before they leave, Pippa learns about a Norse witch—KOLRUNA—who blames their family for the death of her lover. The witch persecutes them in revenge.

 

They cross the sea to visit a Norse King, who threatens and wounds Pippa’s cousin when they seek his help. Pippa acknowledges that she walks a narrow line between the desire to sacrifice anything to rescue her brother and the inevitable dangers her course invites. After a narrow escape, she recommits to her cause but is unwilling to further endanger her friends.

 

With misgivings, Pippa helps Margret perform ancient blood magic called seiðr, using the power of blood and runes to locate her brother. To keep her friends safe, Pippa sneaks away, guided by the runes. Two magical ogres coerce her to temporarily trade her voice for a spell to defeat the Night Mare. She makes the sacrifice for a chance to find her brother. But when she returns to her friends, Pippa realizes the ogre committed a deceitful ruse—her voice may never return. She is overcome by their trickery, and endless longing for her father and brother crushes her spirit, but she refuses to abandon what little hope she has left.

 

Using fresh runes inked in blood, the group hunts the Night Mare. Pippa is astonished to discover she can communicate with the beast by thought-sharing—though the process is painful. She pities the Night Mare because Kolruna forces it to hunt Pippa’s family. They decide to help one another: The Night Mare creates a distraction while Pippa rescues her brother.

 

Rhobert betrays them during their escape and alerts Kolruna. He and his father help the witch, in exchange for enhanced powers, and use salmon to magically carry messages up the rivers and waterways. Pippa’s brother attacks him for his cruel deception, and they leave Rhobert bloody by the river.

 

Pippa and her friends use a Bard’s magic gateway to return to Caithe. In the final moments of their escape, Pippa outwits Kolruna, allowing the Night Mare to safely pass through the gateway and join her on the island.

 

To her great relief, Pippa’s voice returns to her as the sun sets on the last day of summer. Having subdued the storm that terrorized her family, Pippa no longer fears the gusting wind. She retains her ability to communicate with the Night Mare, who is content to live as a horse on Caithe. Without regretting the risks they took and acknowledging their mutual sacrifices, Pippa and her brother have renewed hope to find and save their father. 



#2 kathleenq

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:42 PM

I need a one-page synopsis. Right now this is ~650 words, so there's zero room to add but plenty of room (I hope) to tighten. Please help me do this!

 

I have also tried to inject theme and character arc into this synopsis. Any and all feedback would be so helpful!

 

 

Sixteen-year-old PIPPA is an impulsive Viking girl who’s clever with daggers and enjoys gambling in mead halls. She dreams to be reunited with her father who vanished— was whisked away by a malevolent cloud. Fearing the howling wind (is this related to the cloud?), Pippa hides her longing from her brother, who thinks it’s foolish to hope their father is alive. When the cloud returns and pursues Pippa, her brother sacrifices himself and is seized in her place.

 

Pippa’s uncle, a Celtic Bard who works elemental magic, surprises her with a runic message from her father. The message instructs Pippa, her aunt, and cousin (but not uncle? why not?) to move to Caithe, a faraway Bard refuge in the Scottish Hebrides. Faulting herself for her brother’s capture, she commits to his rescue and leaves her childhood home. (Will moving help her find her brother? Or does she just assume it will from her father's instructions to move?)

 

A mysterious girl named MARGRET ingratiates herself into Pippa’s family and explains the cloud is a mythical Night Mare—a menacing horse while on land, a raging storm in the sky. Already disliking Margret's secretive nature (how? she is the only one providing information thus far), Pippa suspects a connection between Margret and the Night Mare. Her distrust magnifies when Margret reveals she is a Norse sorceress. (But she lets Margret come on the ship later?)

 

In Caithe, the Bards can call mist and travel great distances using ancient standing stones, but aren’t motivated to help Pippa. (why?) She guilts her adventurous cousin to steal a longship to search for information in the Hebrides. Margret and a Bard Apprentice named RHOBERT joins them. Before they leave, Pippa learns about a Norse witch—KOLRUNA—who blames their family for the death of her lover. The witch persecutes (don't know if this is the right word, normally persecute is related to religious/political reasons rather than personal ones) them in revenge.

 

They cross the sea to visit a Norse King, who threatens and wounds Pippa’s cousin when they seek his help. (why?) Pippa acknowledges that she walks a narrow line between the desire to sacrifice anything to rescue her brother and the inevitable dangers her course invites. After a narrow escape, she recommits to her cause but is unwilling to further endanger her friends.

 

With misgivings, Pippa helps Margret perform ancient blood magic called seiðr, using the power of blood and runes to locate her brother. To keep her friends safe, Pippa sneaks away, guided by the runes. Two magical ogres coerce her to temporarily trade her voice for a spell to defeat the Night Mare. She makes the sacrifice for a chance to find her brother. But when she returns to her friends, (why would she return? Did the runes disappear?) Pippa realizes the ogre committed a deceitful ruse—her voice may never return. She is overcome by their trickery, and endless longing for her father and brother crushes her spirit, but she refuses to abandon what little hope she has left.

 

Using fresh runes inked in blood, the group hunts the Night Mare. Pippa is astonished to discover she can communicate with the beast by thought-sharing—though the process is painful. She pities the Night Mare because Kolruna forces it to hunt Pippa’s family. They decide to help one another (why? what does the night mare get from this?): The Night Mare creates a distraction while Pippa rescues her brother. Did she just find out Kolruna is behind the Night Mare? Otherwise maybe mention it earlier when Kolruna is introduced?

 

But Rhobert betrays them during their escape and alerts Kolruna. He and his father help the witch, in exchange for enhanced powers, and use salmon to magically carry messages up the rivers and waterways. Pippa’s brother (why does the brother not yet have a name?) attacks him for his cruel deception, and they leave Rhobert bloody by the river.

 

Pippa and her friends use a Bard’s magic gateway to return to Caithe. In the final moments of their escape, Pippa outwits Kolruna, allowing the Night Mare to safely pass through the gateway and join her on the island.

 

To her great relief, Pippa’s voice returns to her as the sun sets on the last day of summer. Having subdued the storm that terrorized her family, Pippa no longer fears the gusting wind. She retains her ability to communicate with the Night Mare, who is content to live as a horse on Caithe. Without regretting the risks they took and acknowledging their mutual sacrifices, Pippa and her brother have renewed hope to find and save their father. 

Each paragraph seems disjointed from the one before it. The way it is written now, I find it hard to follow all the names and details, and would consider reordering some of the paragraphs. Like explain about the Bards and why they're not interested in helping before describing Margret's mysteriousness. There's also a lot of questions that I still have, but I don't know how much detail you would want to go into about the why and how things happen.

Hope this was helpful!


Query: Glass Domes


#3 dmsimone

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 06:02 PM

Thanks so much Kathleenq! Thing is, I had a decent 2-page synopsis but now I need a 1-page synopsis. So I've had to cut out a lot of material. You ask a lot of "whys" that I want to answer but simply don't have the word count buffer. I am already over word count by 50 words. I think I need to up level even more (and take out a plot point or two) so that the points I do mention are clear.

 

Thanks again!



#4 dmsimone

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 11:26 PM

New version. Note - there are some things in it that sound like they don't belong - that is my attempt to convey theme and character development. A synopsis can't just be a nice outline of events. :happy:  I've also debated whether or not to include her brother's name. He's gone for most of the book and I already have 4 characters in my synopsis, which is already one more than the recommended.

 

Thank you so much folks!

 

 

 

Sixteen-year-old PIPPA is an impulsive Viking girl who’s clever with daggers and enjoys gambling in mead halls. She dreams to be reunited with her father who vanished—whisked away by a malevolent cloud, which causes her to fear the howling wind. Pippa hides her longing from her brother, who thinks it’s foolish to hope their father is alive. When the cloud returns and pursues Pippa, her brother sacrifices himself and is seized in her place.

 

She faults herself for her brother’s capture and commits to his rescue. Pippa asks her uncle for help, because he’s a Celtic Bard who can call mist and travel great distances using ancient standing stones, but she grows impatient with his empty promises. Pippa guilts her adventurous cousin to help steal a longship to seek advice and information from a Norse King in the Scottish Hebrides.

 

A quiet Bard Apprentice name RHOBERT and a mysterious girl named MARGRET joins them on their journey. Margret had spent weeks ingratiating herself into Pippa’s family. She explains the cloud is a mythical Night Mare—a menacing horse while on land, a raging storm in the sky. With a staff that looks like a weapon and her strange blood magic rituals, Pippa suspects a connection between Margret and the Night Mare. Her distrust magnifies when Margret reveals she is a Norse sorceress, but Pippa recognizes she might need Margret’s help.

 

Before they leave, Pippa learns about a Norse witch—KOLRUNA—who blames their family for the death of her lover and hunts them in revenge.

 

They cross the sea to visit the Norse King, who will only exchange information if Pippa wins a contest of riddles. When she nearly fails, the King threatens and wounds her cousin. Pippa understands that she walks a narrow line between the desire to sacrifice anything to rescue her brother and the inevitable bloodshed her course invites. After a narrow escape, she is unwilling to further endanger her friends.

 

The group steals the King’s enchanted raven banner, so that Pippa and Margret can use it to perform ancient blood magic, calling on the power of blood and runes to locate her brother. To keep her friends safe, Pippa sneaks away, guided by the banner. Two magical ogres coerce her to temporarily trade her voice for a spell to defeat the Night Mare. When Pippa returns to her friends, she realizes the ogre’s committed a deceitful ruse—her voice may never return—and she is overcome by their trickery. Endless longing for her father and brother crushes her spirit, but she refuses to abandon what little hope she has left.

 

Using fresh runes inked in blood, the group finds the Night Mare. Pippa is astonished to discover she can communicate with the beast by thought-sharing, though it's painful. She pities the Night Mare because Kolruna forces it to hunt Pippa’s family. Fooling the creature into an agreement, Pippa rescues her brother as the Night Mare creates a distraction.

 

But Rhobert betrays them during their escape and alerts Kolruna by using salmon to magically carry her a message. He has been helping the witch in exchange for enhanced powers. Pippa’s brother attacks him for his cruel deception, and they leave Rhobert bloody by the river.

 

Pippa and her friends use a Bard’s magic gateway to escape. In the final moments, Pippa outwits Kolruna, allowing the Night Mare to safely pass through the gateway.

 

To her great relief, Pippa’s voice returns to her as the sun sets on the last day of summer. Having subdued the storm that terrorized her family, Pippa no longer fears the gusting wind. She retains her ability to communicate with the Night Mare, who is content to live as a horse. Without regretting the risks they took and acknowledging their mutual sacrifices, Pippa and her brother have renewed hope to find and save their father.



#5 Monks

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 02:47 PM

Overall, I'd say this is looking good. The story sounds interesting, with lots of nice twists and turns, and the system of magic sounds unique. The major issues I have are a few places where I think focus should be shifted somewhat. I feel like you're often too specific and go into too much detail about aspects of the plot that seem unimportant (to an outsider, at least), and conversely too terse with the real meat of plot. The foundation is definitely there. I think it's just a matter of putting attention where it needs to be.

 

Also, I'd like to throw in the caveat that I do not read YA or epic/high fantasy. I'm not familiar with the genre tropes in any detailed way. So take all my criticism with a grain of salt. There might just be things that are important in your genre that I don't know about.

 

Sixteen-year-old PIPPA is an impulsive Viking girl who’s clever with daggers and enjoys gambling in mead halls. She dreams to be reunited with her father who vanished—whisked away by a malevolent cloud, which causes her to fear the howling wind. Pippa hides her longing from her brother, who thinks it’s foolish to hope their father is alive. When the cloud returns and pursues Pippa, her brother sacrifices himself and is seized in her place. Good so far. Concise setup of Pippa's past and how it resonates with her present, and then setting up the initial conflict with her brother being taken. And I definitely don't think you need to name the brother.

 

She faults herself for her brother’s capture and commits to his rescue. Pippa asks her uncle for help, because he’s a Celtic Bard who can call mist and travel great distances using ancient standing stones, but she grows impatient with his empty promises. Pippa guilts her adventurous cousin to help steal a longship to seek advice and information from a Norse King in the Scottish Hebrides. Two issues with this paragraph. I don't think you need to mention the uncle. You're basically saying, "there's a character, and he can do some cool stuff, but he's not in the story," and then you move on to Pippa and her cousin, and the uncle is never mentioned again. Seems superfluous, especially for a one page synopsis. Also, the mention of the Norse king seems out of place here. How do they know of this king? Why do they think he would have advice or information that would help them, and why would he help some random people he doesn't know anyway? Bringing him up here might be okay if you jump right into answering those questions in the next paragraph, but that paragraph is about Rhobert and Margret.

 

A quiet Bard Apprentice name RHOBERT and a mysterious girl named MARGRET joins them on their journey. Margret had spent weeks ingratiating herself into Pippa’s family. She explains the cloud is a mythical Night Mare—a menacing horse while on land, a raging storm in the sky. With a staff that looks like a weapon and her strange blood magic rituals, Pippa suspects a connection between Margret and the Night Mare. Her distrust magnifies when Margret reveals she is a Norse sorceress, but Pippa recognizes she might need Margret’s help. Overall, this paragraph is good. Sets up the supporting characters well. A couple issues though. The biggest: why do Rhobert and Margret join Pippa? I get that Rhobert betrays them later, revealing his motivation, but at this point in the synopsis, it looks like he joins for no reason. Margret's situation is similar. There's a lot about her in this paragraph, and through her, Pippa (and the reader) learns abotu the Night Mare. But then she basically disappears from the story, as far as the synopsis tells it. She's only mentioned once more after this paragraph, when you say that she can use the banner to locate Pippa's brother. But you include Pippa herself in that sentence, and then Pippa ends up going to find her brother alone anyway. It feels like Margret enters the story just to give the reader an infodump and then vanishes. I'm sure that's not the case in the actual novel, but that's how she's coming across in the synopsis. I want to know more about her role as the plot unfolds.

 

Before they leave, Pippa learns about a Norse witch—KOLRUNA—who blames their family for the death of her lover and hunts them in revenge. How do they learn about Kolruna? Why does she blame Pippa's family for the death of her lover? This is too ambiguous a reveal for what turns out to be the main villain.-

 

They cross the sea to visit the Norse King, who will only exchange information if Pippa wins a contest of riddles. When she nearly fails, the King threatens and wounds her cousin. Pippa understands that she walks a narrow line between the desire to sacrifice anything to rescue her brother and the inevitable bloodshed her course invites. After a narrow escape, she is unwilling to further endanger her friends. I think the Norse king needs to be cut entirely from the synopsis. He's kind of similar to Pippa's uncle: he shows up as a possible ally or at least source of information, but then nothing happens and the plot turns a different way (stealing the banner). In the two page synopsis, I think you'd have room for this, but not here. I'd just say something like they learn of the magic banner and go get it. No need to get into so much detail there. There's just not enough space, especially if you expand Margret's and Kolruna's motivations somewhat.

 

The group steals the King’s enchanted raven banner, so that Pippa and Margret can use it to perform ancient blood magic, calling on the power of blood and runes to locate her brother. To keep her friends safe, Pippa sneaks away, guided by the banner. Two magical ogres coerce her to temporarily trade her voice for a spell to defeat the Night Mare. I'd like a bit more connection between the ogres and the previous sentence. You're basically saying, Pippa used some magic to find her brother, she found ogres instead, then came back and they found her brother another way. It feels a bit too disconnected. When Pippa returns to her friends, she realizes the ogre’s committed a deceitful ruse—her voice may never return—and she is overcome by their trickery. Endless longing for her father and brother crushes her spirit, but she refuses to abandon what little hope she has left.

 

Using fresh runes inked in blood, the group finds the Night Mare. Pippa is astonished to discover she can communicate with the beast by thought-sharing, though it's painful. She pities the Night Mare because Kolruna forces it to hunt Pippa’s family. Fooling the creature into an agreement, Pippa rescues her brother as the Night Mare creates a distraction.

 

But Rhobert betrays them during their escape and alerts Kolruna by using salmon to magically carry her a message. He has been helping the witch in exchange for enhanced powers. Pippa’s brother attacks him for his cruel deception, and they leave Rhobert bloody by the river.

 

Pippa and her friends use a Bard’s magic gateway to escape. In the final moments, Pippa outwits Kolruna, allowing the Night Mare to safely pass through the gateway. A few more issues of where you're focusing in the climax (which I'm calling the previous three paragraphs). These are the final conflicts of the story, but you're glossing over them. Pippa fools the Night Mare, but you don't say how. Then Pippa outwits Kolruna, but again, you don't mention how. Conversely, I like the mention of Rhobert using the salmon to carry a message. That's specific and conveys the tone and world of your novel. I want to see that kind of detail here. Also, you don't mention Kolruna's ultimate fate. Is she still out there hunting Pippa?

 

To her great relief, Pippa’s voice returns to her as the sun sets on the last day of summer. Having subdued the storm that terrorized her family, Pippa no longer fears the gusting wind. She retains her ability to communicate with the Night Mare, who is content to live as a horse. Without regretting the risks they took and acknowledging their mutual sacrifices, Pippa and her brother have renewed hope to find and save their father.

 


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#6 dmsimone

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 08:09 PM

Thank you so much!

 

I've removed so many plot points from this, lol. 

1. I'll try removing the uncle and see how that looks.

2. The scenes with the King are important because when her cousin is harmed, it's her mirror moment - which is a major plot beat.

3. Ogres - King, to banner, to runes, to island, to will o' the wisps, to a cairn, to ogres...so I already skipped a bunch of stuff. That's why it seems disconnected. Losing her voice is the dark night of the soul moment - another major plot beat. I don't know how to smooth this over any more.

4. I don't mention how Pippa dispatches the bag guys because I've run over my word count.

5. I don't mention how Margret's arc comes full circle - she's an antagonist until the end - because I've run over my word count.

 

OK...maybe I need to up level one more time!

 

SO HARD!

 

Thanks again!



#7 Monks

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 08:53 AM

Yeah, the one page synopsis is BRUTAL. I haven't started mine yet, and whenever I find an agent that requests a one page instead of the more common 1-2, I typically find myself thinking, "do I REALLY need to query this agent?"  :laugh:

 

I think you're pretty close though. I've addressed some of your points specifically below.

 

Thank you so much!

 

I've removed so many plot points from this, lol. 

1. I'll try removing the uncle and see how that looks.

2. The scenes with the King are important because when her cousin is harmed, it's her mirror moment - which is a major plot beat. I get that. Maybe you can just tweak how the king is presented? Instead of introducing him as a source of information separate from the banner, just say he's the guy with the banner, they go to get the banner, cousin injured in the process. That prevents the jarring aspect that I originally noted, while keeping the plot beat. And cuts the word count of that section significantly.

3. Ogres - King, to banner, to runes, to island, to will o' the wisps, to a cairn, to ogres...so I already skipped a bunch of stuff. That's why it seems disconnected. Losing her voice is the dark night of the soul moment - another major plot beat. I don't know how to smooth this over any more. I get this too. I think you could smooth over that transition with just a few words. Something like, instead of the banner leading Pippa to her brother directly, it led her to a source of power (the spell) that she'll need to find her brother. Just SOMETHING to connect the ogres to what she's actually doing with the banner. I agree that the voice thing is big, and that shouldn't be removed entirely. Hopefully you'll have the word count to smooth that transition out if some of the other cuts I've suggested work for you.

4. I don't mention how Pippa dispatches the bag guys because I've run over my word count.

5. I don't mention how Margret's arc comes full circle - she's an antagonist until the end - because I've run over my word count.

 

OK...maybe I need to up level one more time!

 

SO HARD!

 

Thanks again!


Would greatly appreciate critiques of my synopsis!

#8 kathleenq

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 12:54 PM

New version. Note - there are some things in it that sound like they don't belong - that is my attempt to convey theme and character development. A synopsis can't just be a nice outline of events. :happy:  I've also debated whether or not to include her brother's name. He's gone for most of the book and I already have 4 characters in my synopsis, which is already one more than the recommended.

 

Thank you so much folks!

 

 

 

Sixteen-year-old PIPPA is an impulsive Viking girl who’s clever with daggers and enjoys gambling in mead halls. She dreams to be of being reunited with her father who vanished—whisked away by a malevolent cloud, which causes causing her to fear the howling wind. Pippa hides her longing from her brother, who thinks it’s foolish to hope their father is alive. When the cloud returns and pursues Pippa, her brother sacrifices himself and is seized in her place.

 

She faults herself for her brother’s capture and commits to his rescue. Pippa asks her uncle for help, because he’s a Celtic Bard who can call mist and travel great distances using ancient standing stones, but she grows impatient with his empty promises. Pippa guilts her adventurous cousin to help steal a longship to seek advice and information from a Norse King in the Scottish Hebrides.

 

A quiet Bard Apprentice named RHOBERT and a mysterious girl named MARGRET joins them on their journey. Margret had spent weeks ingratiating herself into Pippa’s family. She explains the cloud is a mythical Night Mare—a menacing horse while on land, a raging storm in the sky. With a staff that looks like a weapon (staffs actually can be weapons, maybe specify what kind of weapon or a descriptor? "a staff that looks deadly?") and her strange blood magic rituals, Pippa suspects a connection between Margret and the Night Mare. Her distrust magnifies when Margret reveals she is a Norse sorceress, but Pippa recognizes she might needs Margret’s help.

 

Before they leave, Pippa learns about a Norse witch—KOLRUNA—who blames their family for the death of her lover and hunts them in revenge. (this seems like it's just thrown here, there's no connection to anything else so far)

 

They cross the sea to visit the Norse King, who will only exchange information if Pippa wins a contest of riddles. When she nearly fails, the King threatens and wounds her cousin. Pippa understands that she walks a narrow line between the desire to sacrifice anything to rescue her brother and the inevitable bloodshed her course invites. After a narrow escape, she is unwilling to further endanger her friends.

 

The group steals the King’s enchanted raven banner, so that Pippa and Margret can use it to perform ancient blood magic, calling on the power of blood and runes to locate her brother. To keep her friends safe, Pippa sneaks away, guided by the banner. Two magical ogres coerce her to temporarily trade her voice for a spell to defeat the Night Mare. When Pippa returns to her friends, she realizes the ogre’s committed a deceitful ruse—her voice may never return—and she is overcome by their trickery. Endless longing for her father and brother crushes her spirit, but she refuses to abandon what little hope she has left.

 

Using fresh runes inked in blood, the group finds the Night Mare. Pippa is astonished to discover she can communicate with the beast by thought-sharing, though it's painful. She pities the Night Mare because Kolruna, a Norse witch who blames Pippa's family for her lover's death and uses the mare forces it to hunt Pippa’s family. Fooling the creature into an agreement, Pippa rescues her brother as the Night Mare creates a distraction.

 

But Rhobert betrays them during their escape and alerts Kolruna to their escape in exchange for enhanced powers. by using salmon to magically carry her a message. He has been helping the witch in exchange for enhanced powers. Pippa’s brother attacks him for his cruel deception, and they leave Rhobert bloody by the river. (I don't know that this is necessary to go into so much detail)

 

Pippa and her friends use a Bard’s magic gateway to escape. In the final moments, Pippa outwits Kolruna, allowing the Night Mare to safely pass through the a Bard's magic gateway and escape.

 

To her great relief, Pippa’s voice returns to her as the sun sets on the last day of summer. Having subdued the storm that terrorized her family, Pippa no longer fears the gusting wind. She retains her ability to communicate with the Night Mare, who is content to live as a horse. Without regretting the risks they took and acknowledging their mutual sacrifices, Pippa and her brother have renewed hope to find and save their father.

This is much better than the first draft I read! I've crossed out and moved some things around for clarity. You go into some details that I don't think move the synopsis along as much, so maybe that'll give you some extra words to put in other places.

 

Keep going, it's getting better!


Query: Glass Domes


#9 dmsimone

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 01:39 PM

Thank you kathleenq and Monks! Your remarks have been extremely helpful!

 

Yes, a one-page synopsis is TOUGH!



#10 secondstar87

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 04:46 PM

Sixteen-year-old PIPPA is an impulsive Viking girl who’s clever with daggers and enjoys gambling in mead halls. She dreams to be of being reunited with her father who vanished— was whisked away by a malevolent cloud, which causes her to fear the howling wind. Pippa hides her longing from her brother, who thinks it’s foolish to hope their father is alive. When the cloud returns and pursues Pippa, her brother sacrifices himself and is seized in her place. I love your description of her as well as her persona, right off the bat :) I have to admit though, it is hard for me to picture a malevolent cloud. It falls a little flat. Is someone behind the cloud -- sent by a witch, etc? If not, maybe think of a more ominous description? 

 

She faults herself for her brother’s capture and commits to his rescue. Pippa asks her uncle for help, because he’s a Celtic Bard who can call mist and travel great distances using ancient standing stones, but she grows impatient with his empty promises. Pippa guilts her adventurous cousin into helping steal a longship to seek advice and information from a Norse King in the Scottish Hebrides. I love the idea of historical fantasies. So there were celtic bards in the regions dominated by the vikings? I was unaware of this and so I could see where skipping the uncle could be fine. 

 

A quiet Bard Apprentice name RHOBERT and a mysterious girl named MARGRET joins them on their journey. Margret had spent weeks ingratiating herself into Pippa’s family. She explains the cloud is a mythical Night Mare—a menacing horse while on land, a raging storm in the sky. With a staff that looks like a weapon and her strange blood magic rituals, Pippa suspects a connection between Margret and the Night Mare. Her distrust magnifies when Margret reveals she is a Norse sorceress, but Pippa recognizes she might need Margret’s help. Awesome! Maybe you could find a way of putting some of this info right in the opening paragraph. 

 

Before they leave, Pippa learns about a Norse witch—KOLRUNA—who blames their family for the death of her lover and hunts them in revenge.

 

They cross the sea to visit the Norse King, who will only exchange information if Pippa wins a contest of riddles. When she nearly fails, the King threatens and wounds her cousin. Pippa understands that she walks a narrow line between the desire to sacrifice anything to rescue her brother and the inevitable bloodshed her course invites. After a narrow escape, she is unwilling to further endanger her friends. So what is it exactly that she needs to know: how to locate the night mare? How to kill it? Why it would take her family members? 

 

The group steals the King’s enchanted raven banner, so that Pippa and Margret can use it to perform ancient blood magic, calling on the power of blood and runes to locate her brother. To keep her friends safe, Pippa sneaks away, guided by the banner. Two magical ogres coerce her to temporarily trade her voice for a spell to defeat the Night Mare. When Pippa returns to her friends, she realizes the ogre’s committed a deceitful ruse—her voice may never return—and she is overcome by their trickery. Endless longing for her father and brother crushes her spirit, but she refuses to abandon what little hope she has left.

 

Using fresh runes inked in blood, the group finds the Night Mare. Pippa is astonished to discover she can communicate with the beast by thought-sharing, though it's painful. She pities the Night Mare because Kolruna forces it to hunt Pippa’s family. Could you put this earlier, when you said that she is seeking revenge? Fooling the creature into an agreement, Pippa rescues her brother as the Night Mare creates a distraction. Her brother and father are not being kept in a safe place? What is the witch's plan for them? 

 

But Rhobert betrays them during their escape and alerts Kolruna by using salmon to magically carry her a message. He has been helping the witch in exchange for enhanced powers. Pippa’s brother attacks him for his cruel deception, and they leave Rhobert bloody by the river.

 

Pippa and her friends use a Bard’s magic gateway to escape. In the final moments, Pippa outwits Kolruna, allowing the Night Mare to safely pass through the gateway. So the Night Mare is no longer controlled by Kolruna? 

 

To her great relief, Pippa’s voice returns to her as the sun sets on the last day of summer. Having subdued the storm that terrorized her family, Pippa no longer fears the gusting wind. She retains her ability to communicate with the Night Mare, who is content to live as a horse. Without regretting the risks they took and acknowledging their mutual sacrifices, Pippa and her brother have renewed hope to find and save their father.

 

I love the celtic/norse mythology themes! Well done. I know you're trying to clean things up for a short synopsis, but I just wrote each question that came to mind as I read, and tried to eliminate anything that seemed unhelpful. 

 

I'd greatly appreciate thoughts on my synopsis for TO SAIL THE STARS! 


http://agentquerycon...sail-the-stars/

http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/

 

"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain 

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds." - G.K. Chesterton 


#11 Sreid

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 04:45 AM

Hi dmsimone,

 

Lets see if my inexpert opinion can help you out here. I like your story, and it has some interesting aspects to it. I believe what you're interested in here is:

1. finding parts that can be cut without interrupting the flow, and

2. ways of smoothing out transitions so it flows better.

 

I used an ax, a scalpel and some glue to remove what I consider excess and stick the pieces back together to what I hope is a coherent whole. The result is 527 words (as opposed to your original 637). That's about a single-spaced page. I don't know your story, so perhaps it doesn't exactly follow the plot, but see what you think. Below I've included the motivations to most of the changes.

 

SYNOPSIS

Sixteen-year-old PIPPA is an impulsive Viking girl who’s clever with daggers and enjoys gambling in mead halls. Ever since something shrouded in impenetrable mist swallowed up her father, she's longed for his return but feared the fog. When the mist returns and pursues Pippa, her brother sacrifices himself and is seized in her place.
 
She faults herself for her brother’s capture and commits to his rescue. Pippa soon learns about KOLRUNA, a Norse witch, out for revenge after blaming her lover's death on Pippa's father. MARGRET, a recent addition to the sixteen-year-old's household, explains how the mist is a mythical nightmare--a frenzied horse on land and a raging cloud in the sky. The woman wants to help her, but Pippa suspects her staff and blood rituals have hidden power. She suspects Margret is a Norse sorceress with some connection to the nightmare, but trust her or not, Pippa needs her to find her brother. 
 
Pippa enlists the help of her adventurous cousin. They steal a longboat, and together with Margret and RHOBERT, a quiet bard who insists on helping, they head across the sea toward the Norse king of the Scottish Hebrides, where the witch Kolruna is reported to live.
 
The Norse King will only exchange information if Pippa wins a contest of riddles. When she nearly fails, the King threatens her cousin's life. Pippa walks a narrow line in her desire to rescue her brother, and decides the risk outweighs her cousin's life. Instead, she steals the King’s enchanted raven banner. Margret uses it to perform ancient magic, calling on the power of blood and runes to locate her brother. To keep her friends safe, Pippa sneaks away, guided by the banner. Two magical ogres coerce her to temporarily trade her voice for a spell to subdue the Night Mare. When Pippa returns to her friends, she realizes the ogres' ruse—her voice may never return. She is overcome by their trickery, but refuses to abandon her thin hope.
 
Using fresh runes inked in blood, the group finds the Night Mare. Pippa is astonished to discover she can communicate with the beast by thought-sharing, though it's painful. She pities the Night Mare which Kolruna forces to hunt Pippa’s family. Freeing the creature from its bonds, Pippa rescues her brother as the Night Mare creates a distraction.
 
But Rhobert betrays them during their escape and alerts Kolruna with magical salmon who carry a message. For his treachery, the witch endows him with enhanced powers, but to no avail when Pippa’s brother leaves Rhobert bloody and dying by the river.
 
Pippa and her friends use a Bard’s magic gateway to escape. In the final moments, Pippa outwits Kolruna, allowing the Night Mare to pass through with them.
 
To her great relief, Pippa’s voice returns as the sun sets on summer's last day. Having subdued the storm that terrorized her family, Pippa no longer fears the gusting wind. She retains her ability to communicate with the Night Mare, who is content to live as a horse. Without regretting the risks they took and acknowledging their mutual sacrifices, Pippa and her brother have renewed hope to find and save their father.
New version. Note - there are some things in it that sound like they don't belong - that is my attempt to convey theme and character development. A synopsis can't just be a nice outline of events. :happy:  I've also debated whether or not to include her brother's name. He's gone for most of the book and I already have 4 characters in my synopsis, which is already one more than the recommended.
 
Thank you so much folks!
 
 
 
Sixteen-year-old PIPPA is an impulsive Viking girl who’s clever with daggers and enjoys gambling in mead halls. Nice pithy intro for your MC. She dreams to be reunited with her father who vanished—whisked away by a malevolent cloud, which causes her to fear the howling wind. This sentence didn't flow well for me, and besides, what on earth does a "malevolent cloud" look like? Might I suggest something like: ​Ever since something shrouded in impenetrable mist swallowed up her father, she's longed for his return but feared the fog. Pippa hides her longing from her brother, who thinks it’s foolish to hope their father is alive. This sentence doesn't connect with anything before or after in this query and can easily be cut without disturbing the flow. When the cloud mist returns and pursues Pippa, her brother sacrifices himself and is seized in her place.
 
She faults herself for her brother’s capture and commits to his rescue. Pippa asks her uncle for help, because he’s a Celtic Bard who can call mist and travel great distances using ancient standing stones, but she grows impatient with his empty promises. Adding her uncle here just clouds the picture, in my humble opinion, and he isn't mentioned again, so he wouldn't be missed if you leave him out entirely. I would also suggest you rearrange your series of events here to better build the tension. She can't very well go guilting cousins and stealing longboats without any idea where she's going and who or what might have captured her father. Might I suggest: Pippa soon learns about KOLRUNA, a Norse witch, out for revenge after blaming her lover's death on Pippa's father. MARGRET, a recent addition to her household, explains how the mist is a mythical nightmare--a frenzied horse on land and a raging cloud in the sky. The woman wants to help her, but Pippa suspects Margret's Staff and blood rituals are not just for show. She suspects she's a Norse sorceress with some connection to the nightmare, but trust her or not, Pippa needs her if she's to find her brother. 
 
Pippa guilts her adventurous cousin to help steal a longship to seek advice and information from a Norse King in the Scottish Hebrides. This sentence seems to lack motivation. What sort of information does the Norse king have and how does it relate to them? Might I suggest something like: Pippa enlists the help of her adventurous cousin. They steal a longboat, and together with Margret and RHOBERT, a quiet bard who insists on helping, they head across the sea toward the Norse king of the Scottish Hebrides, where the witch Kolruna is reported to live.
 
A quiet Bard Apprentice name RHOBERT and a mysterious girl named MARGRET joins them on their journey. Margret had spent weeks ingratiating herself into Pippa’s family. She explains the cloud is a mythical Night Mare—a menacing horse while on land, a raging storm in the sky. With a staff that looks like a weapon and her strange blood magic rituals, Pippa suspects a connection between Margret and the Night Mare. Her distrust magnifies when Margret reveals she is a Norse sorceress, but Pippa recognizes she might need Margret’s help. I condensed all this into the above paragraphs.
 
Before they leave, Pippa learns about a Norse witch—KOLRUNA—who blames their family for the death of her lover and hunts them in revenge. I suggested you put this earlier.
 
They cross the sea to visit The Norse King, who will only exchange information if Pippa wins a contest of riddles. When she nearly fails, the King threatens and wounds her cousin's life. Pippa understands that she walks a narrow line between the in her desire to sacrifice anything to rescue her brother and the inevitable bloodshed her course invites. After a narrow escape, she is unwilling to further endanger her friends decides the risk outweighs her cousin's life.
 
The group Instead, she steals the King’s enchanted raven banner, so that Pippa and Margret can use it to perform ancient blood magic, calling on the power of blood and runes to locate her brother. To keep her friends safe, Pippa sneaks away, guided by the banner. Two magical ogres coerce her to temporarily trade her voice for a spell to defeat The thing is, the spell, as you've portrayed it, doesn't defeat the nightmare, but rather subdues or tames it. I suggest you use some such word instead. the Night Mare. When Pippa returns to her friends, she realizes the ogre’s committed a deceitful ruse—her voice may never return—and She is overcome by their trickery.(,) Endless longing for her father and brother crushes her spirit, This simply isn't true since her longing, at least in part, comes to an end when she rescues her brother. but she refuses to abandon what little hope she has left.
 
Using fresh runes inked in blood, the group finds the Night Mare. Pippa is astonished to discover she can communicate with the beast by thought-sharing, though it's painful. She pities the Night Mare because which Kolruna forces it to hunt Pippa’s family. Fooling the creature into an agreement, From what you say later on, it seems the Night Mare is more of a willing accomplice than a tricked adversary. Perhaps: Freeing the creature from its bonds, Pippa rescues her brother as the Night Mare creates a distraction.
 
But Rhobert betrays them during their escape and alerts Kolruna by using with magical salmon to magically who carry her a message. He has been helping the witch in exchange For his treachery, the witch endows him with enhanced powers.(,) but to no avail when Pippa’s brother attacks him for his cruel deception, and they leave(s) Rhobert bloody and dying by the river.
 
Pippa and her friends use a Bard’s magic gateway to escape. In the final moments, Pippa outwits Kolruna, allowing the Night Mare to safely pass through the gateway with them.
 
To her great relief, Pippa’s voice returns to her as the sun sets on summer's the last day of summer. Having subdued the storm that terrorized her family, Pippa no longer fears the gusting wind. She retains her ability to communicate with the Night Mare, who is content to live as a horse. Without regretting the risks they took and acknowledging their mutual sacrifices, Pippa and her brother have renewed hope to find and save their father. You wrap up the story nicely.

 

I enjoyed reading (and dissecting) your story, and hope some of my inexpert opinions help. Please take a look at my synopsis (TAILING SHADOWS) and see if you can hack and chop it to pieces like I did yours.






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