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Alphas (YA paranormal)

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#1 spenever


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Posted 31 October 2017 - 07:08 PM

Hi guys! I'm new to the world of synopses, and any critiques/advise would be more than appreciated! Be as brutal as you see fit! Thanks so much!


Sixteen-year-old Riley wants nothing more than to join the Unity, a secretive, militarized group of humans who seek to protect themselves from the influence of the Alphas. Raised by the Unity with her siblings, Riley is taught that the Alphas are the murderous, bloodthirsty puppeteers of every government institution in the nation. After another failed Unity training session with her mentor, Drew, Riley grows frustrated and loses hope of ever joining the Unity. Drew reminds her that she must keep trying, lest she end up like Jeremy Dillon, the latest supposed murder victim of the Alphas. That night, the Unity members seek retribution for Jeremy’s murder. When Drew is killed by an Alpha during the retribution mission, Riley’s sister, Emma, sneaks her out after school, determined to motivate Riley by detailing Drew’s death in the forest. There, Riley learns that Drew was actually bitten on the arm by an Alpha. But because a non-neck bite by an Alpha causes a human to become one, Emma kills Drew instead. Suddenly, Riley and Emma are ambushed by Alphas, and one Alpha pins Riley to the ground. Fearing a fatal neck-bite, Riley shoves her arm into the Alpha’s mouth in hopes of transforming into one of them.


When she wakes up the next morning as an Alpha, Riley realizes that she has committed the worst Unity betrayal. During an interrogation by members of the Alpha government, Riley is forced to conceal all remnants of her criminal, anti-Alpha past. She is given a new Alpha family and told that she must attend a six-month training session to help her adjust to a new life. Over the course of the next few days, Riley discovers her unparalleled competence as an Alpha. Under the guidance of her new family, she learns she has nothing to fear from the Alphas any longer. She even meets a handsome Alpha named Trevor, with whom she shares a mutual attraction. However, a museum date with Trevor is interrupted by three explosions set off by an unnamed anti-Alpha group. Fearing that the Unity is responsible, Riley begins to feel guilty for the deaths of the Alphas killed in the museum attack.


In an effort to cure Riley’s depression after the attack, Trevor invites her to a bonfire in the forest. There, Riley discovers Trevor and his friends partaking in illegal hunts against humans. Suddenly, the Unity falls upon the Alphas gathering in the forest. Trevor disappears, and Riley is attacked by Emma. Emma blames Riley for their father’s suicide, saying that he was driven to it by Riley’s betrayal of the Unity. Though Riley manages to escape from Emma, Riley’s former loyalty to the Unity becomes apparent to the Alphas in the forest.


Distraught over the events of the ill-fated bonfire, Riley resolves to find out if what Emma said about her father was true. But before she can begin her dangerous mission to find the truth, she is stopped by her former interrogator, Richard. Due to his friendship with Riley’s Alpha sister and their combined affinity for art, Richard has always been in the background of Riley’s life as an Alpha. However, she has never trusted him following his role in her initial interrogation. But when he reveals that he too has a history with anti-Alpha groups, Riley accepts his offer of assistance. He sneaks her into the Alpha administration building, where they learn of Riley’s father’s death. There, she also discovers how her entire Alpha family is a farce. Put to this task by the Alpha government, her family has been manipulating and watching her in an effort to gain proof of her anti-Alpha past.


After Richard and Riley are cornered by the Alphas at the administrative center, they barely manage to escape with their lives. Regretting all her life’s decisions and devoid of hope for the future, Riley resolves to run away and live out the rest of her life in isolation. Though Richard’s companionship in the wilderness alleviates her boredom, his presence does nothing to change her guilty conscience. After much time passes, Riley begins to blame her fate on the seemingly-pointless conflict between Alphas and humans. Realizing that she always has relied on others to help her, Riley resolves to take control over her life for the first time by revisiting the strife from whence she came. Though she is only one girl with an uncertain future, she is one girl determined to make a positive change once and for all.


#2 giffordmac


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Posted 04 November 2017 - 02:00 PM

Sooo, I'm not familiar with your genre, and that may be part of my problem, but I had some trouble following it.


One thing, I think, is that there are too many character names and too many details. For instance, both Jeremy & Drew appear and then are dead almost immediately, so their names really aren't necessary. You could shorten this section by skipping from the Alpha descriptions to the retribution plot. Calling Drew "her mentor" without naming him is fine; you could also mention "a murder" without Jeremy's name. Try to keep the names to the main characters, which seem to be Riley, Emma, & Richard.

(NB: each character's name should be capitalized the first time it's introduced.)


My questions about the plot revolve around Riley's motivations.


-- She was raised by Unity but is not one of them. How does this work?


-- She subsequently wants to become an Alpha. Why?


-- Richard had a role in her interrogation, but she doesn't trust him. Why?


-- She decides to make a positive change. How?


Unlike a query, the synopsis must give us the ending of the story, but it seems like the story ends with Riley's determination to change. That may be the actual end of this story, but is it then picked up in a sequel? If so, you need to show how this book can stand on its own merits.


One final note: white space is your friend. Agents/editors often read on their tablets, and shorter paragraphs are easier to read on those devices.


Best of luck!

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ― Elie Wiesel







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