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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 #17.

 

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.)



#2 lionspaws

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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!



#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.



#11 Sreid

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 07:00 PM

Well, here's yet another version of this synopsis. I've tried to condense it more so it fits on two typewritten (double spaced) pages. Does it work for you?

 

I'll return any critiques I get. If you have several topics and would like a critique on one in particular, please specify which.

 

Synopsis 
In a world where magic gets cursed, devouring memories and turning gods to stone, MOWRO, the immortal Lord of Shades, sees his chance for revenge. He’ll paint the gods' granite remains red with the blood of all who still 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 they’ve squeezed their father for the cash owed them. That night, while wolves shreds Stamm’s sheep and his brother to lifeless ribbons, a young woman’s voice in his head cries out. The shepherd is bewildered and desperate. Then 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 sees ancient power in Stamm, and in an act of redemption, magically heals him before turning to a petrified corpse. But part of the wolf remains in Stamm. His inner voice calls out again, and the shepherd ignores it, longing to track the beast instead. He becomes Nayvee’s apprentice to find his hidden power, but when Mowro’s witches attack them, his apprenticeship ends, as does 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 her true nature as the queen of the gods. Then, devoid of magic, Nayvee turns to stone. Her dying words send Stamm to Livreshia, wisdom’s city, where he is destined to 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 encounters 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. For the first time in his life, Stamm feels abandoned, but together with five refugees, he escapes Mowro's soldiers in the cold night, no closer to finding the gods' lost king.
 
The six survivors flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen devises a plan to defeat Mowro. Having suffered countless defeats by the gods, Mowro hesitates to commit his full force. There lies her hope. If Stamm unites mankind's remnants, strikes like a ghost in the night, and chills the enemy’s fervor, he’ll send a cold message to Mowro. The shepherd takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when his expeditionary force faces defeat, mankind’s end approaches. The woodland queen’s messenger confirms it. Mowro marches with his unified army. All who can wield weapons must join in a desperate gamble to shake Mowro's newfound courage.
 
As battle commences, a strange man gives Stamm’s soldiers weapons, calling them enchanted. True or not, it rekindles hope among his decimated men. The woodland queen strikes Mowro’s front, Stamm's cavalry attacks the flank,  but Stamm rides on, having discovered the wolf-spirit’s presence at the enemy’s rear. Meanwhile, Mowro loses heart. His retreat blocks Stamm’s path just as Stamm hinders his flight. With no other option, they meet in single combat, and Stamm does the impossible. He slays Mowro. The long-silent voice in his head shrieks “NO!” Mortals can’t slay immortals without becoming the ones they kill. The battle is won, but the wolf lives on, and Stamm’s only hope of remaining human now lies at death’s portal on a mythical isle.
 
When the shimmering portal sucks Mowro’s spirit from Stamm’s flesh, he is healed. His inner voice reawakens, and there, beyond death’s doorway, stands the woman the wolf killed in Livreshia. Her words in Stamm’s mind tell him 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.
 
 
 
I understand how the voice in Stamm's head might be to complex to cover in a 2-page synopsis. Imagine if you will the voice and the wolf are the angel and devil on Stamm's shoulders. The devil teaches him bravery, while the angel demands he run and hide. Stamm's no coward, so when it counts, he ends up with the devil he hates rather than the angel he disrespects. When the dust settles, though, and Mowro's spirit is purged from his body, Stamm is confronted by the 'angel' who tells him how he's done everything wrong. His only saving grace is that he actually survived Mowro's unendurable deicide. She then puts him and and his friends into stasis, until the world once more stands on the brink evil's ultimate victory.
 
Now I have to decide, do I adjust my synopsis to better show this (probably longer than 2 pages), or just throw out the underlying conflict and show a simpler story of Stamm wanting to avenge his brother's death. The second one risks becoming a story of a shepherd chasing a wolf, through an improbable series of events, where he becomes entangled in a hopeless conflict with his world's nemesis, and wins, but can't kill the wolf.
 
I hope you enjoyed the gist of the story. It's much more complicated than this, with a love angle, jealousy for a best friend, betrayal, the discovery of a divine lie that changes everything, and SO much more, but there's no space for any of that here. If any of you might be interested in being beta readers, e-mail me at steve(dot)reid(at)live(dot) se.


#12 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 09:08 PM

 

Well, here's yet another version of this synopsis. I've tried to condense it more so it fits on two typewritten (double spaced) pages. Does it work for you?

 

I'll return any critiques I get. If you have several topics and would like a critique on one particular one, please say which one.

​Hello Sreid,

 

​First, I'd like to say I'm not a professional synopsis critiquer, but I will give it my best. I want to attach these steps below because they helped me with my synopsis and they are from Writer's Digest. 

 

Synopsis Instructions

 

  • Beginning: Who is the character? What world do they live in? Why is she the lead of this novel?
  • Drama: What happens to stir things up? Is a love interested introduced? Does someone get kidnapped or learn of their magical powers?
  • Next steps: You must include consequences or results of the drama. Whether it be a quest, rebellion, road trip, or family intervention, the reader must know what the main character intends to do about their situation.
  • Stakes. What is at risk for the main character or those close to them? This is what drives most of the choices in your book, so you better believe the reader needs to know them. (Max knows he can go to jail, but the freedom from his bullies feels to good for him to stop the possession and destroy the dress.)
  • Climax. Where does the height of tension or action occur? What leads up to it and what follows? Keep this section clear and point-blank. Over-excessive explanation can unnecessarily lengthen your synopsis and also confuse the reader as to how the book actually progresses.
  • Ending. I know, I know, every fiber of your being is fighting against this. My ending isn’t meant to be unveiled before a reader enjoys the whole journey! Guess what? If you jump the shark anywhere in your book, an agent or editor wants to know.

 

 

 

Synopsis 
In a world where cursed magic devours memories and turns gods to stone, MOWRO, the immortal Lord of Shades, sees his chance for revenge ​(I'm not positive but I think we would want to know who he wants vengeance on.) He’ll paint the world red and grey with 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. ​(I do think this is pretty cool. I like the lowly character rising from the ashes of a village) He and his younger brother are stuck in Goldome until they’ve squeezed their father for the cash owed them ​( I would reword, for the cash owed them. It sounds awkward). That night, while wolves rip ​(use a different word for rip)shred, or maim, or eat) Stamm’s sheep and his brother to lifeless ribbons, a voice in his head cries out ​(I'm confused? A voice in his head crys out? Like another voice, or his own, and we don't need to know this, anyhow, unless it's another being pertinent to the plot). Stamm’s bewildered. Then the pack leader bites him, and something knocks him out. 
 
Stamm ​is rescued by  comes to, delirious from his festering wound. His rescuer, a scholar named NAYVEE​who takes him to a dying dragon. The winged serpent sees an ancient power in Stamm, and in a redemptive act, magically heals him before becoming a petrified corpse. Still, part of the wolf remains in Stamm. ​(sounds really cool) His ​(Is this his own voice? I'm not sure why this is important? We all have inner voices, unless this is like another entity or central to the plot, don't mention it) inner voice calls out again, and he ignores it, longing to track the beast instead. ​(((( He becomes Nayvee’s apprentice to find his hidden power, but when Mowro’s witches attack them, his apprenticeship ends, as does his hope of learning what the dragon saw in him.​ Reword this last sentence. Break it up for cleaner prose.
 
Nayvee wins the magical battle, but at the price of her memories. She's forgotten ​(would she really forget her coverup story? Give a good reason if she does)) her cover-story about being a scholar, and reveals her true nature as the queen of the gods. Then, devoid of magic, Nayvee turns to stone. Her dying words send Stamm to Livreshia, wisdom’s city, where he is destined to find the gods' lost king, mankind’s last hope against Mowro. ​(This sounds like a good story) 
 
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​(when you first introduce this inner voice, we need a better definition of what it is.). Laughing, the wolf says he's freed Stamm from destiny’s grasp. For the first time in his life, Stamm feels abandoned, but together with five others, he escapes Mowro's soldiers in the cold night, no closer to finding the gods' lost king. ​break this last sentence up
 
The six survivors flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen devises a plan to defeat Mowro. Having suffered countless defeats by the gods, paranoid Mowro hesitates to commit his full force. There lies Stamm's hope. ​(reword these 3 thoughts -If he unites mankind's remnants, strikes like a ghost in the night, and chills the enemy’s fervor, he’ll send a cold message to Mowro. Stamm takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when his army faces defeat, their end is upon them. The woodland queen’s messenger confirms it. Mowro marches with his unified army. All who can wield weapons must join in a desperate gamble to shake Mowro's newfound courage. 
 
As battle commences, a ​mysterious strange man gives Stamm’s soldiers ​enchanted weapons, calling them enchanted. True  ​Whether enchanted or not, it rekindles hope among his outnumbered men. The woodland queen strikes Mowro’s front, Stamm's cavalry attacks the flank,  but Stamm rides on alone having discovered the wolf-spirit’s presence at the enemy’s rear. Meanwhile, Mowro loses heart. His retreat obstructs Stamm’s path as Stamm blocks his retreat. With no other option, they meet in single combat, and Stamm does the impossible. He slays Mowro. The long-silent voice​(I really think you should remove this voice. It does not add to this synopsis. Also, you don't need to say it screams "NO" in his head shrieks “NO!” Mortals can’t slay immortals without becoming the ones they kill. The battle is won, but the wolf lives on, and Stamm’s only hope of remaining human now lies at death’s portal on a mythical isle.  ​(I would cut this paragraph in half. Resist the urge to over explain.) (I also thought this was a better place to end the synopsis, but perhaps you need some details below. Still, maybe you can weave them up here.)
 
When the shimmering portal sucks dead Mowro from Stamm’s flesh, he is healed. His inner voice reawakens, and there, beyond death’s doorway, stands the woman the wolf killed in Livreshia. Her words in Stamm’s mind tell him 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.  ​yeah, I don't think this last paragraph does much. The one before ends much better in my opinion)
​This sounds like a really cool story, and good luck!
 
Please reciprocate here - http://agentquerycon...iller/?p=344462
 
 
I hope you enjoyed the gist of the story. It's much more complicated than this, with a love angle, jealousy for a best friend, betrayal, the discovery of a divine lie that changes everything, and SO much more, but there's no space for any of that here. If any of you might be interested in being beta readers, e-mail me at steve(dot)reid(at)live(dot) se.

 


Preston Copeland

Website: prestoncopeland.biz

Twitter: @pcopeland2345

Email: pcopeland2345@gmail.com


#13 Sreid

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 12:04 AM

Thanks so much Preston for your honest comments and opinions. There's a lot there for me to digest, and I'll critique your synopsis real soon.

 

About the voice in Stamm's head, I understand how it complicates things, possibly even muddying the picture for a synopsis. I'll have to decide what to do about that.

 

Imagine if you will the voice and the wolf as the angel and devil on Stamm's shoulders. The devil tells him to be brave and the angel demands he run and hide. Stamm's no coward, so when it counts, he ends up with the devil he hates rather than the angel he doesn't respect. When the dust settles, though, after Mowro's spirit is purged from his body, Stamm is briefly confronted by the 'angel'. She tells him how he's done everything wrong, and his only saving grace is that he actually survived Mowro's unendurable deicide. Then she puts him and and his closest friends into stasis, where they'll remain until the world once more stands on the brink of destruction.

 

Now I have to decide, do I adjust my synopsis to better show this, or just throw out the underlying conflict and show a simpler story of Stamm wanting to avenge his brother's death. The second one risks becoming a story of a shepherd chasing a wolf. Through an improbable series of events, he becomes entangled in an unwinnable conflict with his world's nemesis, and wins, but can't kill the wolf.



#14 Sreid

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 07:21 AM

Here is yet another version of this evolving synopsis, with changes after Preston's valuable comments. Instead of simplifying this to a simple story of my protagonist hunting a wolf, I've added more explanation to give it the complexity it merits. I hope that isn't at the price of clarity. Again, I will return all crits. If there's a specific topic you want help with, please specify that.

 

This just fits in two pages.

 

Synopsis: In a world where magic gets cursed, devouring memories and turning gods to stone, MOWRO, the immortal Lord of Shades, sees his chance for revenge on the surviving pantheon. He’ll paint the gods' granite remains red with the blood of all who still 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 they’ve squeezed their father for the silver he owes them. That night, while wolves shred Stamm’s sheep and his brother to lifeless ribbons, a young woman’s voice in his head cries out. The shepherd is bewildered and desperate. Then the pack leader bites him, and something knocks him out.
 
Stamm is rescued by a scholar named NAYVEE, who takes him to a dying dragon. The winged serpent sees ancient power in Stamm, and in an act of redemption, magically heals him before turning to a petrified corpse. But part of the wolf remains in Stamm. Meanwhile, the disembodied woman’s voice calls out again, but the shepherd ignores it, longing to track the beast instead. He becomes Nayvee’s apprentice to find his hidden power. Then Mowro’s witches attack them, and his apprenticeship ends, as does his hope of learning what the dragon saw in him.
 
Nayvee wins the magical battle, but the price for magic is her memory. She forgets her cover-story of being a scholar, revealing her true nature as the gods’ queen. Devoid of magic, Nayvee turns to stone. Her dying words send Stamm to Livreshia, wisdom’s city, where he is destined to 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 encounters the wolf, this time in human guise. It kills a white-robed young woman, silencing Stamm’s inner voice. Laughing, the wolf says he's freed Stamm from destiny’s grasp. For the first time in his life, Stamm feels abandoned, but together with five refugees, he escapes Mowro's soldiers in the cold night, no closer to finding the gods' lost king.
 
The six survivors flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen devises a plan to beat Mowro. Having suffered countless defeats by the gods, Mowro hesitates to commit his full force. There lies her hope. If Stamm unites mankind's remnants, strikes like a ghost in the night, and chills the enemy’s fervor, he’ll send a cold message to Mowro. The shepherd takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when his expeditionary force faces defeat, mankind’s end approaches. The woodland queen’s messenger confirms it. Mowro marches with his unified army. All who can wield weapons must join in a desperate gamble to shake Mowro's newfound courage.
 
As battle commences, a mysterious man distributes what he calls enchanted weapons. True or not, it rekindles hope among Stamm’s decimated men. The woodland queen strikes Mowro’s front, Stamm's cavalry attacks the flank,  but Stamm rides on, having discovered the wolf-spirit’s presence at the enemy’s rear. The old wound from that devilish beast acts up again, testing Stamm’s courage in the face of adversity. But it’s not alone. The disembodied voice of the white-robed woman demands he flee the battle, desert his friends, and live on. Stamm is no coward, so when it counts, he ends up with the devil he hates rather than the angel he disrespects.
 
Mowro loses heart, and his retreat blocks Stamm’s path, sure as Stamm blocks his. With no options, they meet in single combat. Stamm does the impossible. He slays Mowro. But mortals can’t slay immortals without becoming the ones they kill. The battle’s won, the wolf lives on, and Stamm’s only hope of remaining human now lies at death’s portal on a mythical isle.
 
When the shimmering portal sucks Mowro’s spirit from Stamm’s flesh, he is healed, and Stamm is confronted by his 'angel' on the portal’s far side. She tells him he's done everything wrong. His only saving grace is that he actually survived Mowro's unendurable deicide. She then puts him and his friends into stasis, until the world once more stands on the brink of evil's ultimate victory.

 

 
 
 
Did the word "deicide" throw you? It is a real word, not a misspelling. I hope you enjoyed the gist of the story. It's further complicated with a love angle, jealousy for a best friend, betrayal, the discovery of a divine lie that changes everything, and much more, but there's no space for that here. If you're interested in being a beta reader, e-mail me at steve(dot)reid(at)live(dot)se.


#15 Ireth

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 12:20 PM

 

Here is yet another version of this evolving synopsis, with changes after Preston's valuable comments. Instead of simplifying this to a simple story of my protagonist hunting a wolf, I've added more explanation to give it the complexity it merits. I hope that isn't at the price of clarity. Again, I will return all crits. If there's a specific topic you want help with, please specify that.

 

This just fits in two pages.

 

Synopsis: In a world where magic gets cursed (I don't understand what this means), devouring memories and turning gods to stone, MOWRO (putting him first makes him seen like the protagonist), the immortal Lord of Shades, sees his chance for revenge on the surviving pantheon. He’ll paint the gods' granite remains red with the blood of all who still oppose him.
 
On STAMM’s twentieth 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 they’ve squeezed their father for the silver he owes them. That night, while wolves shred Stamm’s sheep and his brother to lifeless ribbons, a young woman’s voice in his head cries out. The shepherd is bewildered and desperate.  (This reads as very 'telly'.) Then the pack leader bites him, and something knocks him out. (If you don't clarify what the "something" is, just say he falls unconscious.)
 
Stamm is rescued by a scholar named NAYVEE, who takes him to a dying dragon. The winged serpent dragosees ancient power in Stamm, and in an act of redemption (for what? If you don't clarify, maybe leave this bit out), magically heals him before turning to a petrified corpse. But part of the wolf remains in Stamm. Meanwhile, The disembodied woman’s voice calls out again, but Stamm ignores it, longing to track the beast instead. He becomes Nayvee’s apprentice to find his hidden power. Then Mowro’s witches attack them, and his apprenticeship ends, as does his hope of learning what the dragon saw in him.
 
Nayvee wins the magical battle, but the price for magic is her memory. She forgets her cover-story of being a scholar, revealing her true nature as the gods’ queen. Devoid of magic, (this is confusing. If she's the queen of the gods, I assume she's immortal and powerful, so why would she be devoid of magic?) Nayvee turns to stone. Her dying words send Stamm to Livreshia, wisdom’s city, where he is destined to 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 encounters the wolf, this time in human guise. It kills a white-robed young woman, silencing Stamm’s inner voice. Laughing, the wolf says he's freed Stamm from destiny’s grasp. For the first time in his life, Stamm feels abandoned, but together with five refugees, he escapes Mowro's soldiers in the cold night, no closer to finding the gods' lost king.
 
The six survivors flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen devises a plan to beat Mowro. Having suffered countless defeats by the gods, Mowro hesitates to commit his full force. There lies her hope. If Stamm unites mankind's remnants, strikes like a ghost in the night, and chills the enemy’s fervor, he’ll send a cold message to Mowro. The shepherd Stamm takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when his expeditionary force faces defeat, mankind’s end approaches. The woodland queen’s messenger confirms it. Mowro marches with his unified army. All who can wield weapons must join in a desperate gamble to shake Mowro's newfound courage.
 
As battle commences, a mysterious man distributes what he calls enchanted weapons. True or not, it rekindles hope among Stamm’s decimated men. The woodland queen strikes Mowro’s front, Stamm's cavalry attacks the flank,  but Stamm rides on, having discovered the wolf-spirit’s presence at the enemy’s rear. The old wound from that devilish beast acts up again, testing Stamm’s courage in the face of adversity. But it’s not alone. The disembodied voice of the white-robed woman demands he flee the battle, desert his friends, and live on. Stamm is no coward, so when it counts, he ends up with the devil he hates rather than the angel he disrespects. (This is vague and confusing. Be specific and concrete about what Stamm does. Also, the term "ends up with" might read to some as Stamm and Mowro becoming boyfriends. Just a thought.)
 
Mowro loses heart, and his retreat blocks Stamm’s path, sure as Stamm blocks his. With no options, they meet in single combat. Stamm does the impossible. He slays Mowro. But mortals can’t slay immortals without becoming the ones they kill. The battle’s won, the wolf lives on, and Stamm’s only hope of remaining human now lies at death’s portal on a mythical isle.
 
When the shimmering portal sucks Mowro’s spirit from Stamm’s flesh, he is healed, and Stamm is confronted by his 'angel' on the portal’s far side. She tells him he's done everything wrong. His only saving grace is that he actually survived Mowro's unendurable deicide. She then puts him and his friends into stasis, until the world once more stands on the brink of evil's ultimate victory. (This reads like a sequel hook; not good if your story is a standalone. A synopsis should have a definite ending.)

 

 
 
 
Did the word "deicide" throw you? It is a real word, not a misspelling. I hope you enjoyed the gist of the story. It's further complicated with a love angle, jealousy for a best friend, betrayal, the discovery of a divine lie that changes everything, and much more, but there's no space for that here. If you're interested in being a beta reader, e-mail me at steve(dot)reid(at)live(dot)se.

 


There's too much blood in my tea system. Time to put the kettle on.

 

~~~

 

All projects except WINTER'S QUEEN are currently on hiatus until further notice. Thank you!

 

Queries:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...e-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...orical-fantasy/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...sea-ya-fantasy/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing On Edges: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Bellringer: http://agentquerycon...ringer-fantasy/

 

Hooks:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...tasy-hook-help/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...k-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...ong-of-the-sea/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing on Edges: http://agentquerycon...asy-query-hook/

 

Synopses:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...ntasy-synopsis/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/


#16 Sreid

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 01:35 PM

Thank you Ireth,

 

Your comments were most helpful.

 

I respect your opinion that starting with Mowro makes him sound like the main character. This synopsis will be read (if it's read at all) right after the query letter, where it is clear Stamm is the main character and Mowro is the protagonist. Besides, none of the other critiques brought this up, and I've opened with Mowro in all my drafts. Unless someone else weighs in, I'll probably keep it this way.

 

You, like other critiquers, have  difficulty with the voice in Stamm's head. I thought to alleviate that by adding explanation of the voice's significance. That clearly flopped, but thankfully there's always option number two. If I cut the voice in Stamm's head in its entirety, the end in the synopsis becomes much more definite, concluding with Stamm being cured and purged of Mowro's spirit at death's portal. I should be able to pull off a successful synopsis, and (hopefully) even entice agents to read to the last page, though my story is most definitely not concluded at the end of this book (the first in a mapped-out five-book series that ends with two universes destroyed).  However, I will  call this a "completed epic fantasy", likely not mentioning "stand alone", though the open ending isn't fully revealed until a twist on the book's final page. In my view, that qualifies as "stand alone with series potential". I guess the whole point of a synopsis is to get agents (and editors) interested enough to read the whole book. If they get to the open ending on that last page, I will have succeeded.

 

Also, not mentioning the inner voice clears up a section you found vague and misleading, both at the start and in the middle.

 

Another benefit of cutting it is it clears space for me to clarify that when Nayvee exhausts her memories, the currency with which magic is paid for in this cursed world, she also exhausts her divine power (that's what magic is here).

 

You also suggested I repeat "dragon" and "Stamm" in consecutive sentences, which I would prefer avoiding, hence the  synonym for dragon and Stamm's title, "the shepherd". It seems you understood them well enough to be able to, correctly and without  difficulty, replace them with "dragon" and "Stamm". If I can't find another way around repeating myself, I'll probably retain the substitutes.

 

The great thing about having several drafts of a document like this is, that when you try something new that doesn't work (like you pointed out in this draft) you can just revert to better editions of the offending text. :smile:

 

Thanks again for your considered comments.



#17 Sreid

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 03:10 PM

Let's just forget that last attempt, shall we? Sometimes I try things that really don't work. I hope this is better. I've taken another stab at streamlining.
 
As always, I return critiques. Just tell me which topic you need help with.
 
Synopsis:
 
In a world where cursed magic devours memories, turning gods to stone, MOWRO, the immortal Lord of Shades, sees his chance for revenge on the surviving pantheon. He’ll paint their granite remains red with the blood of all who still oppose him.
 
On STAMM’s twentieth birthday, the lowly shepherd dreams of making a name for himself beyond Goldome, his grubby mountain village. He and his younger brother are stuck there until they’ve squeezed their father for the silver he owes them. That night, wolves shred Stamm’s sheep and brother to lifeless ribbons. In the midst of their desperate fight, the shepherd sees a vision of the ancient gods in all their glory. His guard is down. The pack leader bites him, and he loses consciousness.
 
NAYVEE, a scholar,  rescues Stamm, and takes him to a dying dragon. The winged serpent sees an ancient power in Stamm, and in a final redemptive act, for what Stamm doesn't know, she magically heals him before becoming a petrified corpse. Despite his healing, part of the wolf remains in Stamm. Reminded of his brother's demise, and Stamm swears vengeance on the wolf. He becomes Nayvee’s apprentice, to discover his hidden power and better hunt his foe.
 
Then seven of Mowro’s witches attack them, and Stamm's apprenticeship ends. Nayvee wins the magical battle, but as always, the price for magic is her memories, among which are the keys to what the dragon saw in Stamm. She also forgets her cover-story of being a scholar, revealing her true nature as the gods’ queen. Bereft of memory, and therefore magic, Nayvee turns to stone. Her dying words send Stamm to Livreshia, wisdom’s city, where he is destined to 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 encounters the wolf, this time in human guise, but again it eludes Stamm's vengeful blade. Stamm feels abandoned, but together with five refugees, he escapes Mowro's soldiers, no closer to finding the gods' lost king.
 
The six survivors flee to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen devises a plan to beat Mowro. Having suffered countless defeats by the gods, Mowro hesitates to commit his full force. There lies her hope. If Stamm unites mankind's remnants, strikes like a ghost in the night, and chills the enemy’s fervor, he’ll send a cold message to Mowro. The shepherd takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when his expeditionary force faces defeat, mankind’s end approaches. The woodland queen’s messenger confirms it. Mowro marches with his unified army. All who can wield weapons must join in a desperate gamble to shake Mowro's newfound courage.
 
As battle commences, a mysterious man delivers what he calls enchanted weapons. True or not, they rekindle hope among Stamm’s decimated men. The woodland queen strikes Mowro’s front, Stamm's cavalry attacks the flank,  but Stamm rides on, having discovered the wolf-spirit’s presence at the enemy’s rear. In the confusion, Mowro loses heart. His retreat blocks Stamm’s path, sure as Stamm blocks his. With no options, they meet in single combat. Stamm does the impossible. He slays Mowro. But mortals can’t slay immortals without becoming the ones they kill.
 
The battle’s won, but the wolf lives and Stamm’s only hope of remaining human now lies at death’s portal on a mythical isle. Unfortunately, his ally, the forest queen, doesn't believe in the cure, wanting instead to hold Stamm, and the abomination he’s becoming, prisoner within the earth's bowels. His closest friends spirit him away, making an enemy of their ally on the odd chance Stamm can be revived. When the portal sucks Mowro’s spirit from Stamm’s flesh, they are vindicated and he is healed. Together, they once again stand ready to face any and all foes.
 

 

 

 

If the story particularly interests you and you'd like some summer reading, let me know and I'll make you a beta reader. Send me an e-mail at steve(dot)reid(at)live(dot)se.



#18 bkarperien

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 04:57 PM

 

Let's just forget that last attempt, shall we? Sometimes I try things that really don't work. I hope this is better. I've taken another stab at streamlining.
 
As always, I return critiques. Just tell me which topic you need help with.
 
Synopsis:
 
In a world where cursed magic devours memories, turning gods to stone, MOWRO, the immortal Lord of Shades, sees his chance for revenge on the surviving pantheon. He’ll paint their granite remains red with the blood of all who still oppose him.
 
On STAMM’s twentieth birthday, the lowly shepherd dreams of making a name for himself beyond Goldome,  (I'm just going to forget another name at this point, and I don't think it's necessary) his grubby mountain village. He and his younger brother are stuck there until they’ve squeezed their father for the silver he owes them. That night, wolves shred Stamm’s sheep and brother to lifeless ribbons. In the midst of their desperate fight, the shepherd sees a vision of the ancient gods in all their glory. While his guard is down, the pack leader bites him, and he loses consciousness.
 
NAYVEE, a scholar,  rescues Stamm, and takes him to a dying dragon. The winged serpent sees an ancient power in Stamm, and in a final redemptive act, for what Stamm doesn't know, she magically heals him before becoming a petrified corpse. Despite his healing, part of the wolf remains in Stamm. Reminded of his brother's demise, and Stamm swears vengeance on the wolf. He becomes Nayvee’s apprentice, to discover his hidden power and better hunt his foe.
 
Then seven of Mowro’s witches attack them, and Stamm's apprenticeship ends. Nayvee wins the magical battle, but as always, the price for magic is her memories, among which are the keys to what the dragon saw in Stamm. After She also forgets her cover-story of being a scholar, revealing her true nature as the gods’ queen, bereft of memory, and therefore magic, Nayvee turns to stone. Her dying words send Stamm to Livreshia, wisdom’s city, where he is destined to 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 encounters the wolf, this time in human guise, but again it eludes Stamm's vengeful blade. Stamm feels abandoned, but together with five refugees,  (Doesn't seem necessary) he escapes Mowro's soldiers, no closer to finding the gods' lost king.
 
Stamm flees to the silver-skinned woodland folk, whose queen devises a plan to beat Mowro. Having suffered countless defeats by the gods, Mowro hesitates to commit his full force. There lies her hope. If Stamm unites mankind's remnants, strikes like a ghost in the night, and chills the enemy’s fervor, he’ll send a cold message to Mowro. (This makes me wonder what's special about Stamm, that this random queen-lady would be like, hey shepherd refugee dude who just stumbled into my neck of the woods, how about you unite manking's remnants and strike like a ghost in the night? LOL, but seriously, I think we need an idea of why he's gone from lowly shepherd to militia general in the blink of an eye.) The shepherd takes charge in a northern stronghold, but when his expeditionary force faces defeat, mankind’s end approaches. The woodland queen’s messenger confirms it. Mowro marches with his unified army. All who can wield weapons must join in a desperate gamble to shake Mowro's newfound courage.
 
As battle commences, a mysterious man delivers what he calls enchanted weapons. True or not, they rekindle hope among Stamm’s decimated men. The woodland queen strikes Mowro’s front, Stamm's cavalry attacks the flank,  but Stamm rides on, having discovered the wolf-spirit’s presence at the enemy’s rear. In the confusion, Mowro loses heart. His retreat blocks Stamm’s path, sure as Stamm blocks his. With no options, they meet in single combat. Stamm does the impossible: he slays Mowro. But mortals can’t slay immortals without becoming the ones they kill.
 
The battle’s won, but the wolf lives and Stamm’s only hope of remaining human now lies at death’s portal on a mythical isle. Unfortunately, his ally, the forest queen, doesn't believe in the cure, wanting instead to hold Stamm, and the abomination he’s becoming, prisoner within the earth's bowels. His closest friends (Ah, I see now why you included the refugee friends. Maybe tie them in a little more earlier on? Or just ignore my earlier comment? IDK. They become very important in this last paragraph, but could be completely left out of the rest.) spirit him away, making an enemy of their ally on the odd chance Stamm can be revived. When the portal sucks Mowro’s spirit from Stamm’s flesh, they are vindicated and he is healed. Together, they once again stand ready to face any and all foes.
 

Thanks for your comments on my synopsis! This has come a long way, and is reading pretty nicely. I just made a few tweaks for flow, and there were a couple issues I highlighted. Good luck with revisions!

 

 

 


Check out my query :)

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

 






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