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Synopsis for TAILING SHADOWS (epic fantasy) I will return all critiques

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#1 Sreid

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 04:11 PM

The latest version is in post #6.

 

Hi folks, I tried to hammer and chop this down to one page, following the format outlined at http://www.publishin...-page-synopsis/. It's about 750 words now (perhaps a trifle long). I'll start with my Query Letter (which I've already fed through the mill here) just so you get the same experience an agent might when reading first one then the other. (No need to critique the query if you don't want to.)

 

QUERY

 

Dear [agent's name],

 

When wolves bite Stamm and rip his sheep and younger brother to gory ribbons, his hope for a better life dies. With nothing left, the young shepherd swears to flay the pack leader, ignorant of the monster lurking under its skin.

A sorceress rescues Stamm, asking how a lone shepherd held off wolves, emissaries of the immortal Grey Lord. Stamm cannot answer, though he recalls a hidden power in his limbs when he fought the pack. That is, until their leader bit him, leaving something of itself in the festering wound. Stamm wants to avenge his brother's death, but he must first reawaken what he felt when fighting the pack. The magic to find his power's source erases the sorceress's memories, so he must go the library in the City of Wisdom for answers. But it's under attack by the Grey Lord's army.

The sacked city's survivors become Stamm's new family, while the Grey Lord’s soldiers turn everything to blood and ashes. Something scratches and howls in the shepherd's mind as hidden forces push him towards the ultimate showdown. Stamm wonders if the choices are his own, or if the wolf he vowed to kill is in his mind. If he fights the immortal Grey Lord, he fears he'll be bonded with the evil that killed his brother. But unless he does, those close to him will all perish.

 

With 120,000 words, TAILING SHADOWS is a completed epic fantasy, set in a world where magic devours memory, featuring a protagonist that blends Robert Jordan's Rand al'Thor with a wolf. Attached is a short synopsis and the first chapte[or whatever’s appropriate]


Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

[my name etc.]

 

 

SYNOPSIS

 

In a world where magic is cursed and the gods are dying, MOWRO, the immortal Grey Lord, sees his chance. He’ll cover everything in the blood and ashes of all who oppose him.

 

It’s STAMM’s 20th birthday, and he dreams of making a name for himself beyond his grubby mountain village. However, he and with his blond haired younger brother KERION are shepherds, stuck in Goldome, until they’ve squeezed their father for the cash he owes them.

 

That night, a wolf- pack kills Stamm's sheep and rips the life out of Kerion. Surrounded by snarling beasts in the dark, Stamm has a vision of ancient times. Then the pack leader bites him and someone knocks him out.

 

Stamm awakes days later with a festering wound. His rescuers, a dark haired scholar named NAYVEE, and WUDNON, her black male apprentice, take the shepherd to a dragon. It recognizes an ancient power in Stamm, before using the last of its magic to heal him, turning itself into a petrified corpse. Something of the pack leader remains in Stamm. He longs to hunt the beast, but instead becomes Nayvee’s apprentice, to learn of the power hidden inside him.

 

Stamm’s apprenticeship ends when seven of Mowro’s witches assault Nayvee. She wins the magical battle, but at a horrific price in lost memory. With her disguise gone, she reveals her true self, the queen of the gods, BLUE, and turns to stone. But first she sends her two apprentices to Livreshia, wisdom’s city. They must find YELLOW, the lost king of the gods, and mankind’s last hope against Mowro.

 

In Livreshia’s library, with the city burning and Mowro’s soldiers slaughtering everyone, Stamm first recognizes DESTINY’s call, but it’s too late. A voice he’s always had in his head becomes audible, until the wolf, in human guise, kills a young woman. Laughing, he saying he’s freed Stamm from Destiny’s grasp. The voice in Stamm’s mind is silenced, and for the first time he is alone, with the wolf clawing at the edges of his mind. Stamm realizes the struggle for his soul mirrors the one for the world, and he must win both. He and Wudnon flee the city with a few survivors, including a beauty named VALIKRAN, who Stamm can’t take his eyes off. Injured and lost, they escape into the night.

 

They flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen, WRINELNO, knows nothing of Yellow, or the power in Stamm, and gives no military aid. She tells of the Grey Lord, and a way to defeat his army. Mowro is paranoid, having suffered countless defeats at the hands of the gods. He has four additional armies, like the one decimating Stamm’s land, but won’t commit until he is assured he can annihilate his enemies many times over. Therein lies hope. Stamm must unite his people and strike back, like a ghost in the night, chilling the enemy’s fervor and sending a cold message to paranoid Mowro.

 

Stamm takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when the tattered remains of his army returns from their first foray, on his and Valikran’s wedding night, their end is upon them. A messenger from Queen Wrinelno confirms it. Mowro’s five armies now unite. All who can carry a weapon must oppose him on the odd chance they can destroy Mowro's newfound courage.

 

Outnumbered and exhausted, Stamm and Wrinelno prepare for battle. A spy tells Stamm the wolf-spirit hides at the enemy’s rear. No one understands that Stamm’s fight is with the wolf. Before he can ride in pursuit, the legendary CHRONOLOGUE, neither good nor evil, distributes enchanted weapons to those with Stamm and Wrinelno. Armed with hope, the queen strikes Mowro’s front, while Stamm circles the enemy encampment. Mowro loses heart, but his retreat blocks Stamm’s way. In single combat, Stamm slays the Grey Lord, even as the long-silent voice in his head shrieks “NO!” Mortals cannot kill immortals without themselves becoming what they kill. The battle is won, but the wolf lives and Stamm’s only hope lies at death’s portal on the mythical isle, Abibel, in the western sea.

 

After a perilous voyage, Stamm awakes, healed. He and his rejoicing friends climb toward Abibel's wondrous portal. The voice in Stamm’s head now rings in his ears from the other side of Death’s Door. There stands the spirit of the woman the wolf killed in Livreshia. She says, nothing is as it seems. He wasn’t destined to kill the Grey Lord, and Stamm's men should have lost. Yet there is hope, for now he will sleep on death’s doorstep until the cycle of eons repeats and evil once again rises to strike down all that is good.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. Do I leave you wanting to read chapter 1?

 

2. Did the plot make sense?

 

3. Did I introduce few enough characters for you to follow without getting confused?

 

4. Did you understand the bit about BLUE and YELLOW?



#2 secondstar87

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 04:16 PM

If you want comments on the query you'll have to post it in the query forum :)

 

In a world where magic is cursed and the gods are dying, MOWRO, the immortal Grey Lord, sees his chance. He’ll cover everything in the blood and ashes of all who oppose him. Is magic literally cursed, or do you mean illegal? So is the Grey Lord also a god? His chance to what -- world dominion?

 

It’s STAMM’s 20th birthday, and he dreams of making a name for himself beyond his grubby mountain village. However, he and with his blond haired younger brother KERION are shepherds, stuck in Goldome, until they’ve squeezed their father for the cash he owes them. Huh, interesting. I like "grubby mountain village." 

 

That night, a wolf- pack kills Stamm's sheep and rips the life out of Kerion. Surrounded by snarling beasts in the dark, Stamm has a vision of ancient times. Then the pack leader bites him and someone knocks him out. So Kerion is dead? Just hard to tell if you're being literal there or figurative. By vision of ancient times, what do you mean? He suddenly sees the gods in their former glory, etc? 

 

Stamm awakes days later with a festering wound. His rescuers, a dark haired scholar named NAYVEE, and WUDNON, her black male apprentice, take the shepherd to a dragon. It recognizes an ancient power in Stamm, before using the last of its magic to heal him, turning itself into a petrified corpse. Oh my. Is healing the dragon's job? Otherwise why would it be willing to die in order to save Stamm? Something of the pack leader remains in Stamm. He longs to hunt the beast, but instead becomes Nayvee’s apprentice, to learn of the power hidden inside him. Your sentence structure is pretty uniform. You might want to consider mixing up length, syntax etc to make for more interesting reading. 

 

Stamm’s apprenticeship ends when seven of Mowro’s witches assault Nayvee. She wins the magical battle, but at a horrific price in lost memory. With her disguise gone, she reveals her true self, the queen of the gods, BLUE, and turns to stone. But first she sends her two apprentices to Livreshia, wisdom’s city. They must find YELLOW, the lost king of the gods, and mankind’s last hope against Mowro. Cool plot twist! So is there a battle going on between the gods and Grey Lord? That should definitely be stated clearly at the beginning. 

 

In Livreshia’s library, with the city burning and Mowro’s soldiers slaughtering everyone, Stamm first recognizes DESTINY’s call, but it’s too late. A voice he’s always had in his head becomes audible, until the wolf, in human guise, kills a young woman. Laughing, he saying he’s freed Stamm from Destiny’s grasp. The voice in Stamm’s mind is silenced, and for the first time he is alone, with the wolf clawing at the edges of his mind. Stamm realizes the struggle for his soul mirrors the one for the world, and he must win both. He and Wudnon flee the city with a few survivors, including a beauty named VALIKRAN, who Stamm can’t take his eyes off. Injured and lost, they escape into the night. I think you've got way too many names introduced right now. I've read that five names max is typical for a synopsis, so you want to really distill it down to who's necessary. Is Destiny a god? Or are you just using the expression destiny's call? 

 

They flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk love it, whose queen, WRINELNO, knows nothing of Yellow, or the power in Stamm, and gives no military aid. She tells of the Grey Lord, and a way to defeat his army. Mowro is paranoid, having suffered countless defeats at the hands of the gods. He has four additional armies, like the one decimating Stamm’s land, but won’t commit until he is assured he can annihilate his enemies many times over. Therein lies hope. Stamm must unite his people and strike back, like a ghost in the night, chilling the enemy’s fervor and sending a cold message to paranoid Mowro. This is getting hard to follow, so I just cut some phrases as a suggestion for keeping things clear. 

 

Stamm takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when the tattered remains of his army returns from their first foray, on his and Valikran’s wedding night, their end is upon them. A messenger from Queen Wrinelno confirms it. Mowro’s five armies now unite. All who can carry a weapon must oppose him on the odd chance they can destroy Mowro's newfound courage.

 

Outnumbered and exhausted, Stamm and Wrinelno prepare for battle. A spy tells Stamm the wolf-spirit hides at the enemy’s rear. So it was a spirit not a literal wolf? No one understands that Stamm’s fight is with the wolf. Before he can ride in pursuit, the legendary CHRONOLOGUE, neither good nor evil, distributes enchanted weapons to those with Stamm and Wrinelno. Armed with hope, the queen strikes Mowro’s front, while Stamm circles the enemy encampment. Mowro loses heart, but his retreat blocks Stamm’s way. In single combat, Stamm slays the Grey Lord, even as the long-silent voice in his head shrieks “NO!” Mortals cannot kill immortals without themselves becoming what they kill. The battle is won, but the wolf lives and Stamm’s only hope lies at death’s portal on the mythical isle, Abibel, in the western sea. Again, there's a ton going on here and it's hard to follow. I think (though I could be wrong) you're including too much plot minutiae; highlight the pivotal moments as if you were making a basic outline. 

 

After a perilous voyage, Stamm awakes, healed. He and his rejoicing friends climb toward Abibel's wondrous portal. The voice in Stamm’s head now rings in his ears from the other side of Death’s Door. I know you mentioned the voice before, but if it's not important you should leave it out; if it is, bring it up and explain it towards the beginning. There stands the spirit of the woman the wolf killed in Livreshia. She says, nothing is as it seems. He wasn’t destined to kill the Grey Lord, and Stamm's men should have lost. Yet there is hope, for now he will sleep on death’s doorstep until the cycle of eons repeats and evil once again rises to strike down all that is good. Oh dear! What do you mean by sleep on death's doorstep? 

 

I hope all my comments don't seem overwhelming! I think getting the rough draft down is the hardest part and you're past that, so keep it up :) I'd appreciate any 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 


#3 Sreid

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 04:48 AM

Thanks for all the good points you brought up Secondstar.

 

I DIDN'T include the query to get any further reviews on it as I've already sent it through the mill here. I just added it since both query and synopsis are often the package agents want to see. I'll skip the query this time, and if anyone wants to get the flow or the package, please read the query in the first post first.

 

I've tried to incorporate your suggestions without adding to the word count, which is already on the heavy side. This time, I cut all but three names (the hero's, his mentor's, and the protagonist's). Some characters I've cut while others I left unnamed (ie the gods and woodland queen).

 

Please tell me if this makes sense, and feel free to point out anything which might be cut or abbreviated to lighten the word count (currently 659).

 

Synopsis

MOWRO, the immortal Lord of Shades, sees his chance for universal revenge when cursed magic gives his old foes, the gods, memory loss. He’ll burn the world and paint its ashes red with their blood.

 

On STAMM’s 20th birthday, the lowly shepherd dreams of making a name for himself beyond his grubby mountain village. He and his younger brother are, stuck in Goldome, until he's squeezed their father for the cash owed them.

 

That night, while a wolf-pack rips Stamm’s sheep and brother to lifeless ribbons, a voice in Stamm’s head beckons him. Bewildered, and without time for thought, someone knocks him out as the pack leader bites him.

 

Stamm comes to, delirious from his festering wound. His rescuer, a scholar named NAYVEE, takes him to a dying dragon. The winged serpent recognizes an ancient power in Stamm, and in a redemptive act, heals him with magic before becoming a petrified corpse. Still, something of the wolf remains in Stamm. Again that inner voice cries out, but he ignores it. He longs to track the beast, and becomes Nayvee’s apprentice to discover his hidden power and better hunt his foe.

 

When seven of Mowro’s witches attack them, Stamm’s apprenticeship ends. Nayvee wins the magical battle, but at a horrific price in lost memory. With her disguise gone, she reveals herself as the queen of the gods, then turns to stone. Nayvee's dying words send her apprentice to Livreshia, wisdom’s city, where Stamm is certain destiny awaits. He must find the gods' lost king, mankind’s last hope against Mowro.

 

In Livreshia’s library, with the city burning and Mowro’s soldiers slaughtering city-folk, Stamm again meets the wolf, this time in human guise. It kills a young woman, and silences Stamm’s inner voice. Laughing, the wolf says he's freed Stamm from destiny’s grasp, and for the first time, Stamm is alone. He realizes the struggle for his soul mirrors the one for the world, and he must fight both. Together with a few survivors, Stamm escapes into the cold night.

 

They flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen devises a plan to defeat Mowro’s army. Having suffered countless defeats by the gods, the Lord of Shades is paranoid. He won’t commit his full force until assured he can annihilate his enemies thrice over. Therein lies hope. Stamm must unite his people and strike like a ghost in the night, chilling the enemy’s fervor, and sending a cold message to paranoid Mowro.

 

Stamm takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when the tattered remains of his army returns, their end is nigh. The woodland queen’s messenger confirms it. Mowro marches with his unified army. All who can wield weapons must oppose him in a desperate gamble to shake the Lord of Shades newfound courage.

 

As the battle commences, Stamm learns the wolf-spirit hides at the enemy’s rear. Before he can ride in pursuit, a grumbling old man distributes shiny weapons among his men, calling them enchanted. True or not, it gives hope to Stamm's outnumbered forces. The woodland queen and Stamm's men strike Mowro’s front while Stamm himself circles behind. Mowro loses heart, and his retreat blocks Stamm’s pursuit of the wolf. In single combat, Stamm slays the Lord of Shades, even as the long-silent voice in his head shrieks “NO!” Mortals cannot kill immortals without becoming what they kill. The battle is won, but the wolf lives on, and Stamm’s only hope lies at death’s portal on the mythical isle, Abibel.

 

To everyone's amazement, death’s portal sucks the dead Lord of Shades from Stamm's flesh. Healed, he gazes in wonder. The reawakened voice in Stamm’s head now speaks from the other side. There stands the woman the wolf killed in Livreshia. She tells Stamm that nothing is as it seems. He wasn’t destined to kill the Lord of Shades in battle, nor were Stamm’s men fated to win. Yet all is not lost, for Stamm will sleep, by death’s portal, until the cycle of eons repeats and evil again rises to devour all that is good.



#4 Korina-Maya

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 09:09 PM

Thanks for all the good points you brought up Secondstar.

 

I DIDN'T include the query to get any further reviews on it as I've already sent it through the mill here. I just added it since both query and synopsis are often the package agents want to see. I'll skip the query this time, and if anyone wants to get the flow or the package, please read the query in the first post first.

 

I've tried to incorporate your suggestions without adding to the word count, which is already on the heavy side. This time, I cut all but three names (the hero's, his mentor's, and the protagonist's). Some characters I've cut while others I left unnamed (ie the gods and woodland queen).

 

Please tell me if this makes sense, and feel free to point out anything which might be cut or abbreviated to lighten the word count (currently 659).

 

Synopsis

MOWRO, the immortal Lord of Shades, sees his chance for universal revenge when cursed magic gives his old foes, the gods, memory loss. He’ll burn the world and paint its ashes red with their blood.
 

I prefer this version !!!
In a world where magic is cursed and the gods are dying, MOWRO, the immortal Grey Lord, sees his chance. He’ll cover everything in the blood and ashes of all who oppose him. 

This is a better hook!!! 

 

On STAMM’s 20th birthday, the lowly shepherd dreams of making a name for himself beyond his grubby mountain village. He and his younger brother are, stuck in Goldome, until he's squeezed their father for the cash owed them.

 

That night, while a wolf-pack rips Stamm’s sheep and brother to lifeless ribbons, a voice in Stamm’s head beckons him. Bewildered, and without time for thought, someone knocks him out as the pack leader bites him.

 

Stamm comes to, delirious from his festering wound. His rescuer, a scholar named NAYVEE, takes him to a dying dragon. The winged serpent recognizes an ancient power in Stamm, and in a redemptive act, heals him with magic before becoming a petrified corpse. Still, something of the wolf remains in Stamm. Again that inner voice cries out, but he ignores it. He longs to track the beast, and becomes Nayvee’s apprentice to discover his hidden power and better hunt his foe.

 

When seven of Mowro’s witches attack them, Stamm’s apprenticeship ends. Nayvee wins the magical battle, but at a horrific price in lost memory. With her disguise gone, she reveals herself as the queen of the gods, then turns to stone. Nayvee's dying words send her apprentice to Livreshia, wisdom’s city, where Stamm is certain destiny awaits. He must find the gods' lost king, mankind’s last hope against Mowro.

 

In Livreshia’s library, with the city burning and Mowro’s soldiers slaughtering city-folk, Stamm again meets the wolf, this time in human guise. It kills a young woman, and silences Stamm’s inner voice. Laughing, the wolf says he's freed Stamm from destiny’s grasp, and for the first time, Stamm is alone. He realizes the struggle for his soul mirrors the one for the world, and he must fight both. Together with a few survivors, Stamm escapes into the cold night.

 

They flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen devises a plan to defeat Mowro’s army. Having suffered countless defeats by the gods, the Lord of Shades is paranoid. He won’t commit his full force until assured he can annihilate his enemies thrice over. Therein lies hope. Stamm must unite his people and strike like a ghost in the night, chilling the enemy’s fervor, and sending a cold message to paranoid Mowro.

 

Stamm takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when the tattered remains of his army returns, their end is nigh. The woodland queen’s messenger confirms it. Mowro marches with his unified army. All who can wield weapons must oppose him in a desperate gamble to shake the Lord of Shades newfound courage.

 

As the battle commences, Stamm learns the wolf-spirit hides at the enemy’s rear. Before he can ride in pursuit, a grumbling old man distributes shiny weapons among his men, calling them enchanted. True or not, it gives hope to Stamm's outnumbered forces. The woodland queen and Stamm's men strike Mowro’s front while Stamm himself circles behind. Mowro loses heart, and his retreat blocks Stamm’s pursuit of the wolf. In single combat, Stamm slays the Lord of Shades, even as the long-silent voice in his head shrieks “NO!” Mortals cannot kill immortals without becoming what they kill. The battle is won, but the wolf lives on, and Stamm’s only hope lies at death’s portal on the mythical isle, Abibel.

 

To everyone's amazement, death’s portal sucks the dead Lord of Shades from Stamm's flesh. Healed, he gazes in wonder. The reawakened voice in Stamm’s head now speaks from the other side. There stands the woman the wolf killed in Livreshia. She tells Stamm that nothing is as it seems. He wasn’t destined to kill the Lord of Shades in battle, nor were Stamm’s men fated to win. Yet all is not lost, for Stamm will sleep, by death’s portal, until the cycle of eons repeats and evil again rises to devour all that is good. (I hear that we shouldnt give away the end in our synopsis...not sure though...)

I really love your story!

Sorry , I am too noob to make good or useful comments...I tried my best...
In case you want to help with my query you can check out this link 
http://agentquerycon...-writes-itself/



#5 bkarperien

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 08:42 AM

Synopsis

MOWRO, the immortal Lord of Shades, sees his chance for universal revenge when cursed magic gives his old foes, the gods, memory loss. He’ll burn the world and paint its ashes red with their blood.

I agree, I like the first intro better, it's snappier. Either way though, I love it. 

 

On STAMM’s 20th birthday, (It doesn't seem relevant that it's his birthday) the lowly shepherd dreams of making a name for himself beyond his grubby mountain village. He and his younger brother are stuck in Goldome until he's squeezed their father for the cash owed them.

 

That night, while a wolf-pack rips Stamm’s sheep and brother to lifeless ribbons, a voice in Stamm’s head beckons him. Bewildered, and without time for thought, someone knocks him out as the pack leader bites him.

 

Stamm comes to, delirious from his festering wound. His rescuer, a scholar named NAYVEE, takes him to a dying dragon. The winged serpent recognizes an ancient power in Stamm, and in a redemptive act, heals him with magic before becoming a petrified corpse. Still, something of the wolf remains in Stamm. Again that inner voice cries out, but he ignores it. He longs to track the beast, and becomes Nayvee’s apprentice to discover his hidden power and better hunt his foe. (But you never explain what his hidden power is? What ancient power?)

 

When seven of Mowro’s witches attack them, Stamm’s apprenticeship ends. Nayvee wins the magical battle, but at the price of her memories at a horrific price in lost memory. With her disguise gone, she reveals herself as the queen of the gods, then turns to stone(Wait...I got a little lost here. She wins. She loses her memory. But she still remembers that she's queen of the gods? And then she turns to stone? Why? Why does she turn to stone? And how can a god turn to stone? Is she still alive, just in god form?). Nayvee's dying words send her apprentice  Stamm to Livreshia, wisdom’s city, where he is certain destiny awaits (This is pretty vague, I'd cut that and just connect these two sentences) he must find the gods' lost king, mankind’s last hope against Mowro.

 

In Livreshia’s library, with the city burning and Mowro’s soldiers slaughtering it's inhabitants, Stamm again meets the wolf, this time in human guise. It kills a young woman, and (doesn't seem relevant) silences Stamm’s inner voice (I'm still not sure what the inner voice is about. What does it say to him? Is it from the wolf? A little more info would make this clear.) . Laughing, the wolf says he's freed Stamm from destiny’s grasp, and for the first time, Stamm is alone. He realizes the struggle for his soul mirrors the one for the world, and he must fight both (Fascinating, but how so?). Also, whatever happened to the king god? Together with a few survivors, Stamm escapes into the cold night.

 

They flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen devises a plan to defeat Mowro’s army. Having suffered countless defeats by the gods, the Lord of Shades (By now, I'd forgotten who that was.) Mowro is paranoid. He won’t commit his full force until assured he can annihilate his enemies thrice over. Therein lies hope. Stamm must unite his people (Wait, who are his people? The village people? The woodland folk? And the bigger question: If Stamm just faced the wolf, why is he fighting Mowro? How did he find out about Mowro? And what exactly is Mowro trying to do? He wants to take down the gods, right? So why is he going around killing puny little humans?) and strike like a ghost in the night, chilling the enemy’s fervor, and sending a cold message to paranoid Mowro.

 

Stamm takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when the tattered remains of his army returns, their end is nigh. The woodland queen’s messenger confirms it. Mowro marches with his unified army. All who can wield weapons must oppose him in a desperate gamble to shake the Lord of Shades newfound courage.

 

As the battle commences, Stamm learns the wolf-spirit hides at the enemy’s rear. Before he can ride in pursuit, a grumbling old man distributes shiny weapons among his men, calling them enchanted. True or not, it gives hope to Stamm's outnumbered forces. The woodland queen and Stamm's men strike Mowro’s front while Stamm himself circles behind. Mowro loses heart, and his retreat blocks Stamm’s pursuit of the wolf. In single combat, Stamm slays the Lord of Shades (This felt like a big jump, maybe ease us into it), even as the long-silent voice in his head shrieks “NO!” Mortals cannot kill immortals without becoming what they kill. The battle is won, but the wolf lives on, and Stamm’s only hope (only hope for what?) lies at death’s portal on the mythical isle, Abibel.

 

To everyone's amazement, death’s portal sucks the dead Lord of Shades from Stamm's flesh. Healed, he gazes in wonder. The reawakened voice in Stamm’s head now speaks from the other side. There stands the woman the wolf killed in Livreshia. She tells Stamm that nothing is as it seems. He wasn’t destined to kill the Lord of Shades in battle, nor were Stamm’s men fated to win. Yet all is not lost, for Stamm will sleep, by death’s portal, until the cycle of eons repeats and evil again rises to devour all that is good.

 

Very cool story, you certainly have a flair for the dramatic! Sounds like an epic story indeed, and the voice in it is great.

Thanks for your very helpful feedback on my synopsis!


Check out my query :)

Or, if you're really awesome, check out my synopsis.

 


#6 Sreid

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 04:13 AM

All right, I'll relent and return to my previous opening lines. Thanks bkarperian for pointing out where my ambiguity lost you. I've added bits to clear up some of that, but that makes my synopsis even longer [sigh]. Perhaps this might work as a 1-2 page synopsis and I'll just satisfy myself with that.

 

While Stamm's 20th birthday is unimportant, pointing it out shows Stamm's age without saying "twenty-year-old Stamm". I think I'll keep it.

 

In a world where cursed magic devours memories and kills the gods, MOWRO, the immortal Lord of Shades, sees his chance for revenge. He’ll cover everything in the blood and ashes of all who oppose him.

 

On STAMM’s 20th birthday, the lowly shepherd dreams of making a name for himself beyond his grubby mountain village. He and his younger brother are stuck in Goldome until he's squeezed their father for the cash owed them.

 

That night, while a wolf pack rips Stamm’s sheep and brother to lifeless ribbons, a voice in Stamm’s head beckons him. Confused and bewildered, the pack leader bites him and something knocks him out.

 

Stamm comes to, delirious from his festering wound. His rescuer, a scholar named NAYVEE, takes him to a dying dragon. The winged serpent recognizes an ancient power in Stamm, and in a redemptive act, magically heals him before becoming a petrified corpse. Still, something of the wolf remains in Stamm. That inner voice cries out again, but he ignores it, longing to track the beast. He becomes Nayvee’s apprentice instead, to discover his hidden power and better hunt his foe. However, when seven of Mowro’s witches attack them, Stamm’s apprenticeship ends, along with his hope of learning what the dragon saw in him.

 

Nayvee wins the magical battle, but at the price of her memories. She's forgotten her cover-story about being a scholar,  and reveals herself as the queen of the gods. Then, devoid of magic, Nayvee turns to a stone corpse. Her dying words send Stamm to Livreshia, wisdom’s city, where he must find the gods' lost king, mankind’s last hope against Mowro.

 

In Livreshia’s library, with the city burning and Mowro’s soldiers slaughtering its inhabitants, Stamm again meets the wolf, this time in human guise. It kills a young woman, and silences Stamm’s inner voice. Laughing, the wolf says he's freed Stamm from destiny’s grasp, and for the first time, Stamm is alone. He realizes the struggle for his soul mirrors the one for the world, and he must fight both. Together with a few survivors, Stamm escapes Mowro's soldiers in the cold night, no closer to finding the gods' king.

 

They flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen devises a plan to defeat Mowro. Having suffered countless defeats by the gods, Mowro is paranoid. He won’t commit his full force until assured he can annihilate his enemies thrice over. There lies Stamm's hope. He must unite mankind's remnants and strike like a ghost in the night, chilling the enemy’s fervor, and sending a cold message to Mowro. Stamm takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when the tattered remains of his army returns, their end is upon them. The woodland queen’s messenger confirms it. Mowro marches with his unified army. All who can wield weapons must oppose him in a desperate gamble to shake Mowro's newfound courage.

 

As the battle commences, Stamm learns the wolf-spirit hides at the enemy’s rear. Before he can ride in pursuit, a grumbling old man distributes shiny weapons among his men, calling them enchanted. True or not, it gives hope to Stamm's outnumbered forces. The woodland queen and Stamm's men strike Mowro’s front, while Stamm himself circles behind. Mowro loses heart. His retreat blocks Stamm’s pursuit of the wolf. With no option but to meet him in single combat, Stamm slays Mowro, even as the long-silent voice in his head shrieks “NO!” Mortals cannot kill immortals without becoming what they kill. The battle is won, but the wolf lives on, and Stamm’s only hope for remaining human lies at death’s portal on the mythical isle, Abibel.

 

To everyone's amazement, the shimmering portal sucks dead Mowro from Stamm's flesh. Healed, he gazes in wonder. The voice in his head reawakens. There, beyond death’s doorway, stands the woman the wolf killed in Livreshia. Her words in Stamm’s mind say nothing is as it seems. He wasn’t destined to kill the immortal Lord of Shades, nor were Stamm’s men fated to win. Yet hope endures, for Stamm will sleep, by death’s portal, until the cycle of eons repeats and evil again rises to devour all goodness.



#7 TheBest

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 06:16 PM

In a world where cursed magic devours memories and kills the gods(This is a good opener), MOWRO, the immortal Lord of Shades, sees his chance for revenge. He’ll cover everything in the blood and ashes of all who oppose him (This could use some elaboration, but it certainly hooked me).

 

On STAMM’s 20th birthday, the lowly shepherd dreams of making a name for himself beyond his grubby mountain village. He and his younger brother are stuck in Goldome until he's squeezed their father for the cash owed them.

 

That night, while a wolf-pack rips Stamm’s sheep and brother to lifeless ribbons, a voice in Stamm’s head beckons him. Confused and bewildered, he’s knocked out and the pack leader bites him.

 

Stamm comes to, delirious from his festering wound. His rescuer, a scholar named NAYVEE, takes him to a dying dragon. The winged serpent recognizes an ancient power in Stamm, and in a redemptive act, magically heals him before becoming a petrified corpse. Still, something of the wolf remains in Stamm. Again that inner voice cries out, but he ignores it (awkward) . He longs to track the beast, becoming Nayvee’s apprentice to discover his hidden power and better hunt his foe. But when seven of Mowro’s witches attack them, Stamm’s apprenticeship ends, along with his hope of uncovering what the dragon saw in him.

 

Nayvee wins the magical battle, but at the price of her memories (Why? Are memories tied to magic?) . She no longer recalls her cover-story about being a scholar,  and reveals herself as the queen of the gods, then turns to a stone corpse. Nayvee's dying words send Stamm to Livreshia, wisdom’s city, where he must find the gods' lost king, mankind’s last hope against Mowro.

 

In Livreshia’s library, with the city burning and Mowro’s soldiers slaughtering its inhabitants, Stamm again meets the wolf, this time in human guise. It kills a young woman, and silences Stamm’s inner voice. Laughing, the wolf says he's freed Stamm from destiny’s grasp, and for the first time, Stamm is alone. He realizes the struggle for his soul mirrors the one for the world, and he must fight both. Together with a few survivors, Stamm escapes Mowro in the cold night, no closer to finding the king of the gods. (This paragraph flows very well, despite having lots of details. Great work!!)

 

They flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen devises a plan to defeat Mowro. Having suffered countless defeats by the gods, Mowro is paranoid. He won’t commit his full force until assured he can annihilate his enemies thrice over. Therein lies hope. Stamm must unite mankind's remnants and strike like a ghost in the night, chilling the enemy’s fervor, and sending a cold message to Mowro. Stamm takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when the tattered remains of his army returns, their end is nigh (Sudden change in tone. You wouldn't have used "nigh" or "therein" earlier in your synopsis). The woodland queen’s messenger confirms it. Mowro marches with his unified army. All who can wield weapons must oppose him in a desperate gamble to shake Mowro's newfound courage.

 

As the battle commences, Stamm learns the wolf-spirit hides at the enemy’s rear. Before he can ride in pursuit, a grumbling old man distributes shiny weapons among his men, calling them enchanted. True or not, it gives hope to Stamm's outnumbered forces. The woodland queen and Stamm's men strike Mowro’s front, while Stamm himself circles behind. Mowro loses heart. His retreat blocks Stamm’s pursuit of the wolf. (Space) With no option but to meet him in single combat, Stamm slays Mowro, even as the long-silent voice in his head shrieks “NO!” Mortals cannot kill immortals without becoming what they kill (Maybe introduce this idea earlier?). The battle is won, but the wolf lives on, and Stamm’s only hope for remaining human lies at death’s portal on the mythical isle, Abibel.

 

To everyone's amazement, the portal sucks dead Mowro from Stamm's flesh. Healed, he gazes in wonder. The voice in his head reawakens. There, beyond death’s doorway, stands the woman the wolf killed in Livreshia. Her words in Stamm’s mind say nothing is as it seems. He wasn’t destined to kill the immortal Lord of Shades, nor were Stamm’s men fated to win. Yet hope endures, for Stamm will sleep, by death’s portal, until the cycle of eons repeats and evil again rises to devour all goodness.

 

 

This is an AMAZING story. I would definitely read it. It's intricate, yet connects with me well. I think you've really perfected including details without bogging down the synopsis with explanation. However, there are some pieces of information that would have been nice to know about earlier. Perhaps pick one important character, engine, or concept and stress it at the beginning and the end. In particular, gods and their relationships to mortals could use a tiny bit of explantion. Good luck!



#8 Sreid

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 07:44 PM

Thanks TheBest for your encouraging words. I've made small adjustments in my latest version as a result of your suggestions. The connection between magic and memories is too complex to explain here and I hope my glossing over it is enough (It takes me 3 chapters to fully develop it, and even then, some of it borders on info-dumping).

 

I do have a small connection between the first and last sentences of this synopsis:

 

... cursed magic devours memories...

 

and

 

...evil again rises to devour all goodness.

 

Anything more and I fear I'll be spending words of whose use I've already been too liberal. I'll consider what you said, though.



#9 booksbybrendan

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 06:50 PM

All right, I'll relent and return to my previous opening lines. Thanks bkarperian for pointing out where my ambiguity lost you. I've added bits to clear up some of that, but that makes my synopsis even longer [sigh]. Perhaps this might work as a 1-2 page synopsis and I'll just satisfy myself with that.You're right, this is waaay too long to be a query letter. I've read it though and I totally agree it could be a good synopsis! You're an excellent writer if what's here is any indication

 

While Stamm's 20th birthday is unimportant, pointing it out shows Stamm's age without saying "twenty-year-old Stamm". I think I'll keep it.

 

In a world where cursed magic devours memories and kills the gods, MOWRO, the immortal Lord of Shades, sees his chance for revenge. He’ll cover everything in the blood and ashes of all who oppose him. Is Mowro the MC? I'm assuming not, right? If I were you, I'd lead your letter/synopsis with your MC as to not confuse the agent (my opinion, I have not yet mastered the witchcraft that is query crafting)

 

On STAMM’s 20th birthday, the lowly shepherd dreams of making a name for himself beyond his grubby mountain village. He and his younger brother are stuck in Goldome until he's squeezed their father for the cash owed them.

 

That night, while a wolf-you don't need a hyphen herepack rips Stamm’s sheep and brother to lifeless ribbons, a voice in Stamm’s head beckons him. Confused and bewildered, he’s knocked out and the pack leader bites him does the pack leader bite him after he's passed out? That's what this makes me picture.

 

Stamm comes to, delirious from his festering wound. His rescuer, a scholar named NAYVEE, takes him to a dying dragon. The winged serpent recognizes an ancient power in Stamm, and in a redemptive act, magically heals him before becoming a petrified corpse. Still, something of the wolf remains in Stamm. Again, that inner voice cries out, but he ignores it, longing to track the beastthis sentence is a tad awkward. Instead he becomes Nayvee’s apprentice to discover his hidden power and better hunt his foe. However, when seven is the number relevant? of Mowro’s witches attack them, Stamm’s apprenticeship ends, along with his hope of learning what the dragon saw in him.

 

Nayvee wins the magical battle, but at the price of her memories. She's forgotten her cover-story about being a scholar,  and reveals herself as the queen of the gods. so she remembers that she's the queen of gods? Does that mean she only lost a few of her memories? Then, devoid of magic, Nayvee turns to a stone corpse brutal, I like it. Her dying words send Stamm to Livreshia, wisdom’s city I feel like this would look better as Wisdom's City (but again, that's opinion), where he must find the gods' lost king, mankind’s last hope against Mowro.

 

In Livreshia’s library, with the city burning and Mowro’s soldiers slaughtering its inhabitants, Stamm again meets the wolf, this time in human guise. It kills a young woman, and silences Stamm’s inner voice. Laughing, the wolf says he's freed Stamm from destiny’s grasp, and for the first time, Stamm is alone. He realizes the struggle for his soul mirrors the one for the world, and he must fight both. Together with a few survivors, Stamm escapes Mowro's soldiers in the cold night, no closer to finding the gods' king. Is finding the king of the gods his mission?

 

They flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen devises a plan to defeat Mowro. Having suffered countless defeats by the gods, Mowro is paranoid. He won’t commit his full force until assured he can annihilate his enemies thrice over. There lies Stamm's hope. He must unite mankind's remnants and strike like a ghost in the night, chilling the enemy’s fervor, and sending a cold message to Mowro. this sentence is very well written Stamm takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when the tattered remains of his army returns, their end is upon them. The woodland queen’s messenger confirms it. Mowro marches with his unified army. All who can wield weapons must oppose him in a desperate gamble to shake Mowro's newfound courage. if you intend to make this a query letter, I recommend you take a hard look at your novel and decide which events are really vital to understanding Stamm as a character. Most of this plot stuff (Nayvee's fate, the wolf guy, this whole paragraph honestly) could be saved for the novel.

 

As the battle commences, Stamm learns the wolf-spirit hides at the enemy’s rear. Before he can ride in pursuit, a grumbling old man distributes shiny weapons among his men, calling them enchanted. True or not, it gives hope to Stamm's outnumbered forces. The woodland queen and Stamm's men strike Mowro’s front, while Stamm himself circles behind. Mowro loses heart. His retreat blocks Stamm’s pursuit of the wolf. With no option but to meet him in single combat, Stamm slays Mowro I feel like this is a major spoiler for the book and will turn agents off. You set up Mowro from the beginning as the main villain, so why kill him before your query's even over? , even as the long-silent voice in his head shrieks “NO!” Mortals cannot kill immortals without becoming what they kill. The battle is won, but the wolf lives on, and Stamm’s only hope for remaining human lies at death’s portal on the mythical isle, Abibel.

 

To everyone's amazement, the shimmering portal sucks dead Mowro from Stamm's flesh. Healed, he gazes in wonder. The voice in his head reawakens. There, beyond death’s doorway, stands the woman the wolf killed in Livreshia. Her words in Stamm’s mind say nothing is as it seems. He wasn’t destined to kill the immortal Lord of Shades, nor were Stamm’s men fated to win. Yet hope endures, for Stamm will sleep, by death’s portal, until the cycle of eons repeats and evil again rises to devour all goodness. That's a sad ending :(

 

So I'm sure you know this, but you def don't want to spoil the ending for reading agents (I know you probably don't care by now, because you're making it a synopsis, but still). Like I said, the writing here is awesome- but if you want a query letter, you need to cut! cut! cut! Good luck with your writing, and thanks for the critique!


The query I'm working on: http://agentquerycon...-ten-critiques/


#10 Sreid

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 08:18 AM

Thanks so much for sharing your opinions, Brendan. It's always helpful reading what people think of my texts. Thanks for pointing out the grammar errors and logic lapses. I'll correct those immediately. I'm not sure about what to do with the wording in the following sentence: Again, that inner voice cries out, but he ignores it, longing to track the beast​.

 

I don't mean to sound ungrateful, because I do appreciate reading your thoughts, but I've posted this in the "synopsis" forum, my title says "synopsis", and in my introductory lines, I've stated not once but twice that this is a synopsis. What more do I need to say to make it clear this is a synopsis? I do have another thread in the "Queries" forum for my query, over which I endlessly struggled (I hate writing queries!!!!!!!!!!!!), but that's not this text.

 

In a synopsis (as opposed to a query), one MUST give away the ending, even though doing so hurts like a mental root-canal.

 

Since I've received some positive responses to this synopsis, I'll stick to this basic format, with room for some tweaks of course. I think I can therefore afford to give some answer to questions you have brought up.

 

A:This story is written primarily in three layers.

 

1. There's the major conflict of this first book with the Lord of Shades. It comes to a definite and conclusive end when Stamm kills him, and has the Lord of Shades' immortal spirit purged from Stamm's body to keep him from resurrecting.

 

2. There's the quest to find the lost king of the gods (Yellow), upon which Nayvee, the queen of the gods (Blue), sends Stamm. That comes to an unexpected end at the close of book 2. There the situation goes from dire to impossibly messed up when Stamm creates a prison world, to trap the enemy of the gods, but gets himself and those near him (including the protagonists) sucked into it.

 

3. There's the main conflict for this epic series with the one who sometimes takes the shape of a wolf, who at times poses as Stamm's best friend and at others his worst enemy.

 

All three layers are important in the first book, and I believe I've effectively incorporated them into both my query and this synopsis.

 

B: The immortals cannot die (duh), or at least they couldn't originally. Before magic's curse, the gods were indestructible, but now, if they exhaust their power, they turn to stone. The Shades (evil gods) don't have that limitation, and if mortals should succeed in killing them, they are resurrected in the body of their killer. There are other immortals as well, but I won't go into that here.

 

C: Magic is a tricky thing in this series. Once it was the sole domain of the gods, and worked perfectly as their creative force. Then something happened (I won't say what or why). Magic got cursed, and seeped out among selected individuals of all sentient races. All magic is sung, and after the curse, it devours the user's memories the more it's used. Those memories are then stored in magic trinkets. There is a brutal remedy for this memory-loss, but it involves destroying one's soul (becoming evil). Over time, magic weakens, and since this epic series stretches over a millenium, it gives rise to a technological rival to the supernatural. Stamm is the only exception to all this. He alone can read memories trapped in magic trinkets, and his magic never weakens.

 

I hope that answers some questions that I can't give in my query and synopsis, without posing too many more.







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