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The Unlikely Souvenir - First attempt. Please critique and I promise to do so in return.

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#1 loopygoose

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 04:41 AM

Chloe knows about unwritten rules; she grew up in a house full of them. But she doesn’t know that breaking one will be life changing. .

 

It’s London, Soho, and CHLOE is having another successful month in advertising sales. Just out of a meeting she receives a call from her sister in law, JENNY who’s taken her mother, LINDA, into hospital with a chest infection. Chloe is annoyed that Jenny was the one who was called and that her father has neglected her mother.

 

Seizing the chance to finally confront the alcoholic, bully of the family she goes to her parent’s home. She isn’t expecting to discover him wearing a dress and lipstick. They’re both shocked. He collapses, but she’s so horrified by the idea that others may discover his secret she wastes time hiding the evidence. He dies and a policeman arrives to secure the body. He hands her a lipstick he finds on the floor and she pretends it’s hers. He insists on staying in contact and she fears he suspects something.

 

Chloe now has to spend time with a family she’s been avoiding, helping organise the cremation. She’s jealous and annoyed by the impenetrable bond between her mother and sister in law, whilst her emotionally damaged brother, DOM, is cold and absent. She also has questions about her father’s little thing but doesn’t know who to talk to without divulging what happened that night.

When Dom unexpectedly comes to for help in dealing with his secret affair they begin to talk, for the first time, about things that happened when they were children. He dispels long-held fears she’s had that something she did was to blame for her fractured family.

When the autopsy results cite a heart attack as the cause of death, Chloe feels vindicated but can’t face spending a week with her family, and uses her compassionate leave to book a last minute ski-trip to escape. Before she goes she meets the policeman who seems attracted to her but doesn’t make a move.

 

She ends up in Andorra with a motley bunch of travellers. Amongst them are the over-friendly Australian Buddhist, TWIGGY, and the gorgeous South African, RENIER, to whom Chloe has an instant attraction.

Unprepared for fresh relationships Chloe tries to hide from both but Twiggy manages to earn her friendship whilst Renier pursues her relentlessly. When Chloe finally learns to ski and is goaded by Twiggy, she has a one-night stand with Renier. But instead of making her feel better, it triggers a breakdown. Twiggy rescues her and joins her in London where she makes love to Chloe, something Chloe did not see coming. Chloe is embarrassed, insisting she’s not a lesbian but Twiggy challenges her need to define it and live inside a box of rules. When Twiggy leaves for Alaska, Chloe falls apart in the belief she’s losing herself. Twiggy insists it’s the opposite; gives her the book Siddartha, and says she’s just beginning to find herself.

 

Empowered, Chloe asks her UNCLE HENRY some difficult questions and discovers her father was the first victim in the family chain, having a brutal, unloving father who tried to beat the ‘lavender’ out of him. The policeman re-connects with her and their relationship teeters on romance but when he lets on that he realised the lipstick was her father’s she doesn’t know what to think.

The family meet at the cremation; Chloe’s feelings about her mother and sister in law have softened. After a brief exchange with her Uncle she finally discovers her father was cut out of his father’s will and her Uncle got everything. She can now see how sad it was that her father was never truly accepted.

She goes to the loo, applies his lipstick as a metaphor for acceptance and when she smiles at the mirror she sees the same slightly crooked smile her father had. 



#2 Chuck_Spragins

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 03:11 PM

This sounds like a very touching story. I think you can tighten up the synopsis by keeping the focus on Chloe's change and growth over the course of events. Some specific comments follow below.

Hope this helps.

Namaste 

 

 

Chloe knows about unwritten rules; she grew up in a house full of them. But she doesn’t know that breaking one will be life changing. Nice opening, but it is never made clear which life changing unwritten rule she broke.

 

It’s London, Soho, and CHLOE is having another successful month in advertising sales. Just out of a meeting she receives a call from her sister in law, JENNY, who’s taken her mother, LINDA, into hospital with a chest infection. Chloe is annoyed that Jenny was the one who was got the called instead of her and that her father has neglected her mother yet again.

 

Seizing the chance to finally confront the alcoholic, bully of the family, she goes to her parent’s home. She isn’t expecting to discover him wearing a dress and lipstick. They’re both shocked. He collapses, but she’s so more horrified by the idea that others may discover his secret than she is with his health and wastes time hiding the evidence. He dies and a policeman arrives to secure the body. He hands her a roll of lipstick he finds on the floor and she pretends it’s hers. He insists on staying in contact and she fears he suspects something

 

Chloe now has to spend dreads the time she must spend with a her family, she’s been avoiding, helping organize the cremation. She’s jealous and annoyed by the impenetrable bond between her mother and sister in law, whilst her emotionally damaged brother, DOM, is cold and absent. Focus on Chloe's feelings rather than her brother's. She also has questions about her father’s little thing but doesn’t know who to talk to without divulging what happened that night.

When Dom unexpectedly comes to her for help in dealing with his secret affair they begin to talk, for the first time, about things that happened when they were children. He dispels long-held fears she’s had that somethinghow she did was to blame for her fractured family.

When the autopsy results cite a heart attack as the cause of death, Chloe feels vindicated but can’t face spending a week with her family, and uses her compassionate leave to book a last minute ski-trip to escape. Before she goes she meets the policeman who seems attracted to her but doesn’t make a move.

 

She ends up in vacations in Andorra with a motley bunch of travellers.: Amongst them are the an overly-friendly Australian Buddhist, TWIGGY, and the gorgeous South African, RENIER, to whom Chloe has an instant attraction.

Unprepared for fresh relationships Chloe tries to hide from both but Twiggy manages to earn her friendship whilst Renier pursues her relentlessly. When Chloe finally learns to ski and is goaded by Twiggy, she has a one-night stand with Renier. But instead of making her feel better, it triggers a breakdown. Twiggy rescues her and joins her in London where she makes love to Chloe, something Chloe did not see coming. Chloe is embarrassed, insisting she’s not a lesbian but Twiggy challenges her need to define it (better to specify what "it" is) and live inside a box of rules. When Twiggy leaves for Alaska, Chloe falls apart in the belief she’s losing herself. Twiggy insists it’s the opposite; gives her the book Siddartha, and says she’s just beginning to find herself. There is a ton of emotional turmoil in this paragraph. In the end, I have no idea how Chloe comes out of it all. Has she found herself? Is she more lost than ever? Something else altogether?

 

Empowered, (What empowered her and why/how ?) Chloe asks her UNCLE HENRY some difficult questions and discovers her father was the first victim in the family chain, having of a brutal, unloving father who tried to beat the ‘lavender’ out of him. The policeman re-connects with her and their relationship teeters on romance but when he lets on that he realised knows that the lipstick was her father’s she doesn’t know what to think.

The family meet at the cremation; Chloe’s feelings about her mother and sister in law have softened. I know why Chloe's feelings have softened towards her father, but I don't know why they would do so towards her mother and sister-in-law. After a brief exchange with her Uncle she finally discovers her father was cut out of his father’s will and that her Uncle got everything. She can now see how sad it was that her father was never truly accepted.

She goes to the loo, applies his lipstick as a metaphor for acceptance and when she smiles at the mirror she sees the same slightly crooked smile her father had. 



#3 TheBest

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:01 AM

Chloe knows about unwritten rules; she grew up in a house full of them. But she doesn’t know that breaking one will be life changing. 

(This is a good opener, but vague. Make it more specific. Which rule? What exactly is 'life changing'?)

 

It’s London, Soho, and CHLOE is having another successful month in advertising sales. Just out of a meeting she receives a call from her sister in law, JENNY who’s taken her mother, LINDA, into hospital with a chest infection. Chloe is annoyed that Jenny was the one who was called and that her father has neglected her mother.

 

Seizing the chance to finally confront the alcoholic, bully of the family she goes to her parent’s home. She isn’t expecting to discover him wearing a dress and lipstick. They’re both shocked. He collapses, but she’s so horrified by the idea that others may discover his secret she wastes time hiding the evidence. He dies and a policeman arrives to secure the body. He hands her a lipstick he finds on the floor and she pretends it’s hers. He insists on staying in contact and she fears he suspects something. 

 

Chloe now has to spend time with a family she’s been avoiding, helping organise the cremation. She’s jealous and annoyed by the impenetrable bond between her mother and sister in law, whilst her emotionally damaged brother, DOM, is cold and absent. She also has questions about her father’s little thing but doesn’t know who to talk to without divulging what happened that night.

When Dom unexpectedly comes to for help in dealing with his secret affair they begin to talk, for the first time, about things that happened when they were children. He dispels long-held fears she’s had that something she did was to blame for her fractured family. (Good! This has great voice, and brilliant tone.)

When the autopsy results cite a heart attack as the cause of death, Chloe feels vindicated but can’t face spending a week with her family, and uses her compassionate leave to book a last minute ski-trip to escape. Before she goes she meets the policeman who seems attracted to her but doesn’t make a move.

 

She ends up in Andorra with a motley bunch of travellers. Amongst them are the over-friendly Australian Buddhist, TWIGGY, and the gorgeous South African, RENIER, to whom Chloe has an instant attraction.

Unprepared for fresh relationships Chloe tries to hide from both but Twiggy manages to earn her friendship whilst Renier pursues her relentlessly. When Chloe finally learns to ski and is goaded by Twiggy, she has a one-night stand with Renier. But instead of making her feel better, it triggers a breakdown. Twiggy rescues her and joins her in London where she makes love to Chloe, something Chloe did not see coming. Chloe is embarrassed, insisting she’s not a lesbian but Twiggy challenges her need to define it and live inside a box of rules. When Twiggy leaves for Alaska, Chloe falls apart in the belief she’s losing herself. Twiggy insists it’s the opposite; gives her the book Siddartha, and says she’s just beginning to find herself. (How does this resolve itself? Why does Chloe feel the way she does?)

 

Empowered (Why is she empowered now??), Chloe asks her UNCLE HENRY some difficult questions and discovers her father was the first victim in the family chain, having a brutal, unloving father who tried to beat the ‘lavender’ out of him. The policeman re-connects with her and their relationship teeters on romance but when he lets on that he realised the lipstick was her father’s she doesn’t know what to think.

The family meet at the cremation; Chloe’s feelings about her mother and sister in law have softened (Why?). After a brief exchange with her Uncle she finally discovers her father was cut out of his father’s will and her Uncle got everything (Awkward). She can now see how sad it was that her father was never truly accepted.

She goes to the loo, applies his lipstick as a metaphor for acceptance and when she smiles at the mirror she sees the same slightly crooked smile her father had. (This ending is good. Through me for a bit of a loop.) 

 

Great query! However, some sentences feel sudden, abrupt, and awkward. Tighten up the language, elaborate on motivation, and you'll something even better. Also, you might want to go deeper into Chloe's changing feelings toward her siblings. Good luck!



#4 Sreid

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 09:11 PM

Hi loopygoose,

 

Touching story, though I find your synopsis at times lacks focus, possibly introducing too many characters.It might also be a tad long to fit on 1 - 2 pages.

Chloe knows about unwritten rules; she grew up in a house full of them. But she doesn’t know that breaking one will be life changing. This works as a hook, but for me, it ends up being counterproductive, since I keep looking for the unwritten rule she breaks, but find none.

 

You tend to over-use the verbs "to be" and "to have" with all their various forms. It gives your writing a passive feel that doesn't do justice to the emotional content. I suggest you cut as many instances of those verbs as possible, replacing them with more active, evocative ones. If this is indicative of your writing style, you may have a serious problem.  It’s London, Soho, and CHLOE is having, flush from another successful month in advertising sales. Just out of a meeting she(,) receives a call from her sister in law, JENNY(.) who’s taken her Chloe's mother, LINDA, into hospital lies in intensive care with a chest infection. Chloe is annoyed that Jenny was the one who was called and that her father has neglected her motherIn this sentence, you use is/was/has four times. In my opinion, it kills the impact. I suggest you rewrite it, possibly dividing it into two, since it contains two separate thoughts.

 

Seizing the chance to finallyFull of indignant rage and ready to confront the her family's alcoholic, bully of the family(,) she goes drives to her parent’s I presume her parents jointly own the home, in which case you should write parents' home. She isn’t expecting to Barging into their bedroom, she discover(s) him her father wearing a dress and lipstick. They’re both shocked. He collapses in shock, clutching his chest, but while she’s so wastes precious seconds hiding the evidence, horrified by the idea that thought of others may discovering his secret she wastes time hiding the evidence. He dies and a policeman arrives to secure the body. He hands her a lipstick he finds on from the floor and she pretends it’s hers. He The inspector/detective/officer insists on staying in contact and she fears he suspects something.

 

Chloe now has to spend time with a family she’s been avoiding, helping organise the cremation. She’s jealous and annoyed by the impenetrable bond between her mother and sister in law, whilst her emotionally damaged brother, DOM, is cold and absent. She also has questions about her father’s little thing but doesn’t know who to talk to without divulging what happened that night.

When Dom unexpectedly comes to for help in dealing with his secret affair they begin to talk, for the first time, about things that happened when they were children. He dispels long-held fears she’s had that something she did was to blame for her fractured family.

When the autopsy results cite a heart attack as the cause of death, Chloe feels vindicated but can’t face spending a week with her family, and uses her compassionate leave to book a last minute ski-trip to escape. Before she goes she meets the policeman who seems attracted to her but doesn’t make a move.

 

She ends up in Andorra with a motley bunch of travellers. Amongst them are the over-friendly Australian Buddhist, TWIGGY I don't get it from the beginning that this is a woman's name, so when you make that clear later on, is startles me., and the gorgeous South African, RENIER, to whom Chloe has an instant attraction.

Unprepared for fresh relationships Chloe tries to hide from both but Twiggy manages to earn her friendship whilst Renier pursues her relentlessly. When Chloe finally learns to ski and is goaded by Twiggy, she has a one-night stand with Renier. But instead of making her feel better, it triggers a breakdown. Twiggy rescues her and joins her in London where she makes love to Chloe, something Chloe did not see coming. Chloe is embarrassed, insisting she’s not a lesbian but Twiggy challenges her need to define it and live inside a box of rules. When Twiggy leaves for Alaska, Chloe falls apart in the belief she’s losing herself. Twiggy insists it’s the opposite; gives her the book Siddartha, and says she’s just beginning to find herself.

 

Empowered, Chloe asks her UNCLE HENRY some difficult questions and discovers her father was the first victim in the family chain, having a brutal, unloving father who tried to beat the ‘lavender’ out of him. The policeman re-connects with her and their relationship teeters on romance but when he lets on that he realised the lipstick was her father’s she doesn’t know what to think.

The family meet at the cremation; Chloe’s feelings about her mother and sister in law have softened. After a brief exchange with her Uncle she finally discovers her father was cut out of his father’s will and her Uncle got everything. She can now see how sad it was that her father was never truly accepted.

She goes to the loo, applies his lipstick as a metaphor for acceptance and when she smiles at the mirror she sees the same slightly crooked smile her father had. 

I don't have time right now to complete this, so I'll just post what I have and add to it later.







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