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.)
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 chapter [or whatever’s appropriate]. Thank you for your time and consideration.
[my name etc.]
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.
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?