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#1 shawnbrown93

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 03:47 PM

Please help, I am getting no responses to query letter or synopsis. Any suggestions or edit would be great

 

Synopsis

 

David Franklin is being chased. He was chased from the rare room of the Harold Washington Library. His taxi is being chased by the same people now. “Remember your training.” David says to himself. “You can lose any tail if you keep changing how you’re traveling” David thinks. He throws a twenty on the front seat on the cab. He jumps out and runs for the Blue Line subway. He boards the train heading north. Just as the doors close, the man chasing him walks on to the train. David reaches into his bag. He checks to make sure his iPad is there. He pulls out his iPhone and texts his superior. “I need a pickup”

David stares at his pursuer. Stephen “Merlin” Johnson watches the two guys having a staring contest on the train. He gets up and walks over to David. David looks at him for a second. David looks back at his staring contest partner. The train stops. David moves for the door. The man moves towards him. David punches the man. The man grabs David as he is falling. Merlin removes the iPad from David’s bag in one smooth motion.

Merlin heads home after stopping to grab the electronics his cousin stole early that day. David has his security team turn on the GPS tracker from his iPad. Merlin starts prepping the stolen electronics for resale. He cracks the password on the iPad, so he can erase and reset it. The iPad has a series of files with weird names on it. The names remind him of magical books mentioned in his favorite comic books, Dr. Strange and Constantine. He opens the file created today. It looks like a ritual handbook. “What the hell, I got some time, let’s play Dr. Strange for a second.” Merlin thinks.

Merlin follows the instructions in the file. At first nothing happens, but suddenly he hears a voice. “I am Galvah. I am the end.” The Voice says. Merlin turns his head in the direction of the Voice. There is a beautiful glowing Angel standing in front of him. David runs up the stairs to Merlin’s apartment. He needs the iPad back. It has the most powerful manual of angelic warfare ever written on it. It took him years to find it. After he scanned it into the iPad at the Harold Washington Library, he destroyed the only other copy. David kicks in the door to Merlin’s apartment. He is blinded and blown back by the light.

David calls his superior and returns to the apartment. This time with the anti-terrorism task force of the Chicago Police. They kick in the door. They beat Merlin and drag him to the police station. Merlin is met in the interrogation room by Michael Winthrop, David’s boss. Michael tells him if he can recreate what David saw him do at the apartment, Merlin and his family will never have to worry about anything again. Merlin agrees to try.

Merlin is taken to a school of magic at an old mansion in Chicago. He meets his two fellow students. An openly gay kid called Patsy and a wealthy East Coast patrician named Julie Hancock. There is tension between them because the Order doesn’t accept Black members but after they learn the magic he performed, they begin to accept him.

Merlin learns the real history of the world. There is a Council of Gods called the Elohim. The Council is made up of the Chief Gods of the different pantheons around the world. Whoever is the Chair of the Council, their followers are the dominant culture on the planet. When Ra was chair, Egypt was dominant, when Jupiter was chair, Rome was dominant. Yahweh is Chair, so the West is dominant. Each God on the Elohim is served by its own priesthood. Merlin learns all the wars throughout history are caused by people in the mundane world reacting to fights between the priesthoods of the Gods on the Elohim. Michael Winthrop leads the Priesthood of the Melchizedek. The Melchizedek serve Yahweh. The last time a Black person, P.B. Randolph, tried to join the Melchizedek, the fight within the priesthood over his membership led to the US Civil War.

Michael tells Merlin whenever Galvah appears, the Chair of the Elohim is in danger. Galvah gives her champion (Merlin) access to the most powerful magical weapons in history. A diadem that give the power to speak directly to Gods and Angels and the Book of the Battles of the Lord, it is a record for the wars fought by control of the Elohim. Moses used it to help Yahweh fight against Ra in ancient Egypt.

Merlin goes through the training giving by the Melchizedek to new recruits, but he can’t help feeling like he is being used. It doesn’t help that the other man from train, Jean-Claude, is trying to get Merlin to join the Illuminati, a group of freedom fighters dedicated to destroying the Elohim altogether. As Merlin’s doubts grow, he shares them with Julie and Patsy. Julie is a true a believer in the Melchizedek. Patsy, the first gay member ever, is more skeptical.

Merlin barely survives an attack by a traitor within the Melchizedek. When a second attack by two Chinese Demons destroys the mansion and Michael Winthrop goes missing, Merlin, Julie, and Patsy try to find Galvah’s weapons. They meet at a magical safe house on the South Side of Chicago run by the Lukumi, the priesthood serving the African Gods brought to the US by slaves. The Melchizedek agree to work with the Lukumi to help Merlin find the weapons. The best leads the group have for the diadem is that P.B. Randolph hid it in San Francisco. Merlin, Julie, Patsy lead a group including a Lukumi priest and Merlin’s cousin, Jamie west to find the diadem. Before they leave, the Chief Lukumi priest gives Merlin an artifact allowing him to control the Lukumi Fire God. She also set their itinerary. She gives them a list of safe houses across the country where they rest without the demons attacking.

Their travels are hampered by the growing civil war within the Melchizedek. David and his allies, James Longstreet, the Melchizedek security chief, and Joseph, Patsy’s father, are pretty sure the Mushi, the priesthood serving the Chinese Gods in the US, didn’t attack the Melchizedek. They know there is a traitor within the Melchizedek and they want time to find the traitor. Julie’s parents take this opportunity to stage a coup. They portray David and James as weak for not striking back immediately. To rally priests to their cause, Matthew Hancock, Julie’s father, leads a revenge attack against the Mushi lodge in New York City. Julie’s parents tell her she must leave the group. Matthew is killed in the attack. The Mushi attack Merlin, Julie, and Patsy on the road. They survive the attack. Julie tries to leave the group, but the demons won’t allow her. The three of them must work together to find the diadem.

On their journey west, they meet with the Cuanderos, the priesthood serving the Aztec Gods in the US. They meet the Navajo priesthood. At each meeting, Merlin learns more about the suffering of other groups under the Melchizedek. He learns about their resilience. He is given an artifact by each. The Caunderos give him power over an Aztec Air God. The Navajo give him power over an Navajo Earth Goddess.

Alice Hancock, Julie’s mother, decides to fight on. She kills James. She needs to either steal the weapons from Merlin once he finds them or to stop him for finding them. Julie is helping her by passing along information about journey. Julie tells Alice the group will be arriving at a meeting of all priests arranged by Joseph and David in California. The meeting is an attempt to find a way for everyone to work together. Joseph has been able to make peace with the Mushi. Alice kidnaps Merlin’s mother and grandmother as bargaining chips. Alice arrives at the meeting. Merlin and Alice fight. Merlin uses the artifacts giving him by priesthoods on the trip to defeat Alice.

Even after this battle, the demons won’t let the three of them separate. They travel to San Francisco together. When they arrive at a museum holding P.B. Randolph’s artifacts, they find Michael waiting for them. He tells them the Melchizedek had become corrupt and self-serving. The priests believed only in preserving their power and wealth. When Michael saw Merlin had contacted Galvah, he realized he had an opportunity to save the Melchizedek. Michael conjured the Chinese demons. Michael figures with him out of their picture, the weakness of the priests would cause the Melchizedek to fall. But if he could make Merlin, Patsy, and Julie work together, they could create something amazing out of the ashes. Merlin realizes he has both weapons now. The diadem is in the glass case. The Book of the Battles of the Lord is the journey he just survived where he “conquered” the other Gods in the US. The same way the Melchizedek had “conquered” the other Gods. They just absorbed them and their artifacts. Odin’s tree became the Christmas tree, Dia de los Muertos and Halloween became All Saints Day. Merlin had the artifacts to write his own Book of the Battles of the Lord. Michael leaves the three of them to decide what’s next.

 



#2 lnloft

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 12:11 PM

I'm here, although I'll admit that my knowledge of synopses is somewhat less than that of queries, but I'll do my best.

 

What's the title/genre of your book?

Please help, I am getting no responses to query letter or synopsis. Any suggestions or edit would be great

 

Synopsis

 

David Franklin Just because you can't be certain that bold formatting will translate on everyone's computer, it's safer to all-caps the names as they appear, so here it would be DAVID FRANKLIN. is being chased. He was chased from the rare room of the Harold Washington Library. His taxi is being chased by the same people now. “Remember your training,” David says to himself. “You can lose any tail if you keep changing how you’re traveling,” David thinks. He throws a twenty on the front seat on the cab. He jumps out and runs for the Blue Line subway. He boards the train heading north. Just as the doors close, the man chasing him walks on to the train. David reaches into his bag. He checks to make sure his iPad is there. He pulls out his iPhone and texts his superior. “I need a pickup.I don't know what's going on. I don't know who David is, or what his training is, or why he's being pursued. Instead you're focusing on unnecessary details, like David paying for his cab. The synopsis doesn't need this. Just focus on the outline of the story, and make sure we know who David is. Start with something like "Super-spy/criminal mastermind/retired Navy Seal DAVID FRANKLIN". Whatever actually applies to David. Don't confuse us.

David stares at his pursuer. Stephen “Merlin” Johnson watches the two guys having a staring contest on the train.  Did you just suddenly change POVs? That's confusing. I don't know who Merlin, and in fact my first assumption was that Merlin was the pursuer. He gets up and walks over to David. David looks at him for a second. David looks back at his staring contest partner. The train stops. David moves for the door. The man moves towards him. David punches the man. The man grabs David as he is falling. Merlin removes the iPad from David’s bag in one smooth motion. Again, too much extraneous detail here. The important thing is that David gets into a scuffle with his pursuer, and using that as a distraction Merlin steals David's iPad. That's what we need of the action. But, again, I don't know who these people are, or why Merlin wants to steal the iPad.

Merlin heads home after stopping to grab the electronics his cousin stole early that day Who? What?. David has his security team turn on the GPS tracker from his iPad. This switching between POVs literally sentence to sentence is very confusing. I'm not sure how multiple POVs are usually handled in a synopsis, but this is not it. Merlin starts prepping the stolen electronics for resale. He cracks the password on the iPad, so he can erase and reset it. The iPad has a series of files with weird names on it. The names remind him of magical books mentioned in his favorite comic books, Dr. Strange and Constantine. He opens the file created today. It looks like a ritual handbook. “What the hell, I got some time, let’s play Dr. Strange for a second,” Merlin thinks.

Merlin follows the instructions in the file. At first nothing happens, but suddenly he hears a voice. “I am Galvah. I am the end,Tthe Voice says. Merlin turns his head in the direction of the Voice. There is a beautiful glowing Angel standing in front of him. What? This is incredibly confusing. Up until this moment I thought this was a spy-thriller or something similar. David runs up the stairs to Merlin’s apartment. He needs the iPad back. It has the most powerful manual of angelic warfare ever written on it. It took him years to find it. After he scanned it into the iPad at the Harold Washington Library, he destroyed the only other copy. David kicks in the door to Merlin’s apartment. He is blinded and blown back by the light.

I'm just going to stop here, because I don't think it's worth going line-by-line on this. If I were you, I'd start this over. It's far too confusing and caught up on the wrong details. I don't know who the characters are. For that matter, I'm not even sure who the main character is, although I'm assuming that both David and Merlin are POVs at some point, at least, because that's how this comes across. I suggest you start by going the most bare-bones possible. "Super-spy and occult-expert David Franklin has an iPad containing the only copy of a manual on angelic warfare. He suspects this is why he is being pursued by a mysterious stranger, but while distracted by this pursuer, his iPad is stolen by Stephen "Merlin" Johnson, a criminal who steals and resells electronics. While examining David's iPad, Merlin comes across a suspicious-looking file, and when he opens it, he is overwhelmed by a mysterious voice and the appearance of an angel. Meanwhile, David, using the GPS tracker on the iPad, catches up to Merlin, only to be assaulted by the angel." I've just summarized those 5 paragraphs into 4 sentences, taking a couple liberties to fill in gaps that I don't know, such as David's title at the beginning. I suggest writing your entire synopsis like this, and then going back and adding a few details AS NEEDED. Just enough to clarify a few things and make sure things aren't dull. But your synopsis is already on the long side of things, so this will start by condensing things down.

 

A couple other notes:

 

- Vary up your sentence structure. Discounting the quotation sentences, I see two sentences in that entire chunk that I reviewed that doesn't follow the simple structure of "Subject verbs." These many short sentences make for bland reading. You got to mix things up.

 

- I don't think the quotations are working for you. I THINK it is okay, sometimes, to include quotes in a synopsis, but you have too many and they're not fitting in well. The punctuation surrounding them is also not used correctly. So, especially for right now, as you write your next draft, steer clear of them. Again, you might be able to add one or two later (maybe the quote that the voice says, for instance, but not David telling himself to remember his training), but your focus right now is to pare stuff down, so keep them clear for the moment.

 

Synopses are rough. I hate mine right now because I feel like it leaves so much out that the agents are going to judge my story-telling abilities, until I remind myself that if agents are asking for a synopsis, then they understand that pieces are going to be left out, and they just want to get a big picture of the story. So simplify, simplify, simplify. And sorry that this was probably not the review you were hoping to get. Good luck.


If you found my feedback useful, I'd appreciate yours: Ouroboros





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