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Gunslinger Witch

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#1 Author CJ Black

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 08:31 PM

This is my first time posting a synopsis here and any comments and suggestions are appreciated.  I recently had this critiqued and now this is the edited version.

 

In an alternate post-Civil War world, four young women of color struggle against a common enemy that is taking magicians, known as Songstresses, whose voices are their power.

 

At seventeen, STAGECOACH MARY FIELDS is an Earth Shaker, possessing the ability to crush solid objects with her force of will.  What starts out as a search for a missing Songstress, a Blackfoot girl named Minaku, eventually places her in opposition of a group of magicians known as Bone Workers.

 

Daughter of a wealthy merchant, ISABELLA LEEFORD is a Straw Master, someone who can manipulate individuals by ensnaring them in strings of light formed by her own power.  Isabella’s sister is a Songstress taken by the Bone Workers and she seeks Mary’s help in finding her.

 

As a Songmaker, EMMA PORTER was once her famous sister’s right hand, creating Songs in perfect accompaniment to her voice until a vicious assault breaks the dubious peace within her household. Her father's pride and her mother's collusions with the Bone Workers will be only the first step in tearing them apart.

 

An orphan runaway, GINNY CHAMP has no illusions about the evil in the world. Strong in her talent as a Wood Worker, the wrong people notice her who wishes to covet her power.  Circumstances cause a friendship to develop between her and Emma and when Ginny’s taken, it is fate that links Emma with Mary and Isabella to assist her in bringing her friend home.

 

Mary’s investigation takes her to Edai. Once there, she learns of the Bone Workers. Practitioners of a vile magic, they create constructs of rotting flesh and bone, brought to life by captured souls.  The government exiled them seventy years ago. To return home, they are kidnapping Songstresses to find the one with the voice that will fuel a dark spell and throw the government and Edai into chaos. Isabella’s sister is among them.

 

Mary and Isabella begin working together using Isabella’s connections as a member of the nobility.  They come across a family name – Ware, who may be the key to finding the Bone Workers.  Mary and Isabella find Minaku captive in their opulent home.  However, the Bone Workers have robbed Minaku of her voice.  Mary leaves the girl in Isabella’s care and continues the search in the dangerous parts of the city.

 

By chance, Mary meets Emma and learns that she is searching for Ginny.  After the Bone Workers kill her father, Ginny seeks revenge and Emma fears for her friend’s life. Mary agrees to help Ginny as well. An independent faction of Bone Workers kidnaps Ginny to keep her from the others. With this group and a new friend, Ginny is convinced that they are just and becomes a trusted part of their group. Ginny reunites with Emma only to find they must leave Emma’s home. Emma’s sister tasks Mary with protecting her.

 

Mary and Isabella locate a lieutenant with the other Bone Workers as he plans to silence all Songstresses with the spell as a first strike. In doing so, there will be no one to oppose the one they have chosen – Isabella’s sister, to sing the dark song.

 

Their plan succeeds, but Mary, Isabella, and Ginny join forces after receiving intelligence from Ginny’s group that the Bone Workers plan to attack again. Their base of operations is a series of catacombs underneath an ancient graveyard. Once they arrive, a skirmish ensues with Mary, her companions and the local police fighting a group present.  During the battle, they meet the true leader of the Bone Workers, SIMONE WARE-KADWELL, who tells them this strike is only the first of many plans to topple the government.  Mary challenges Simone but she escapes and the Bone Workers are defeated.

The four women vow to continue the fight and halt Simone’s schemes.  Isabella decides to join the military and Ginny and Emma are invited to stay in her home.  Mary escorts Minaku home, while knowing that Simone is watching them and that Mary will return to finish their business. 

 

 

 


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#2 pete_b

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 09:03 PM

Sorry for being a little late on this one.

 

Overall, I think this reads a little too much like a query instead of a synopsis/summary. I expect in a synopsis to get a more or less linear telling of the tale in a (much) shortened fashion. I had to pop around in this to try to understand what was going on. So take my notes below in that sense.

 

Okay, just finished the notes, and I'm even more convinced that this is more of a query on steroids than anything else. The main reason is because of a lack of specifics. An agent shouldn't read a synopsis and be left with major questions. It is meant to tell them exactly what is going to happen in the book and why. I don't really get all of that from your current synopsis. I think you could probably get there pretty easily though. I'd recommend trying to tell the story in the same chronological order that your book uses -- with the possible exception of some stage-setting in the beginning (although I think that could be worked into the story as well).

 

Good luck!

 

This is my first time posting a synopsis here and any comments and suggestions are appreciated.  I recently had this critiqued and now this is the edited version.

 

In an alternate post-Civil War world, four young women of color struggle against a common enemy that is taking magicians, known as Songstresses, whose voices are their power.

 

I would recommend opening with more of the world-building/stage-setting. Tell us a little more about the Songstresses and the post-Civil War world, and especially describe the Bone Workers. Perhaps explain that there are two schools of magic, then define each one. What are the goals of the Songstresses (you explain the Bone Workers below, but I think that should be earlier).

 

At seventeen, STAGECOACH (is her name really Stagecoach? If not, that shouldn't be capitalized.) MARY FIELDS is an Earth Shaker, possessing the ability to crush solid objects with her force of will.  What starts out as a search for a missing Songstress, a Blackfoot girl named Minaku, eventually places her in opposition of a group of magicians known as Bone Workers. (Here's an example of me wondering what a Bone Worker really is, which is explained below).

 

Again, this reads like a pitch or mini-query. If this is the MC (or is she one of the 4 MCs?), then I would tell a little about her (she's a stagecoach and a songstress with the power to yadda yadda) - but we really need to get to the instigating incident here. Why is she searching for Minaku? This seems to be the start of Mary's story, so I think you need to tell us why it started.

 

Daughter of a wealthy merchant, ISABELLA LEEFORD is a Straw Master, someone who can manipulate individuals by ensnaring them in strings of light formed by her own power.  Isabella’s sister is a Songstress taken by the Bone Workers and she seeks Mary’s help in finding her.

 

Same as the above. I would give a little more info on why her sister is taken (or that she doesn't know why), and what she decides to do about it. Then you can tell us that she seeks Mary's help. Again, why does she seek out Mary? Or did she run into her? Etc.

 

As a Songmaker, EMMA PORTER was once her famous sister’s right hand, creating Songs in perfect accompaniment to her voice until a vicious assault breaks the dubious peace within her household. Her father's pride and her mother's collusions with the Bone Workers will be only the first step in tearing them apart.

 

This is a description of the character, but doesn't really tell us wher she fits in the story. It almost seems like you need to introduce Ginny first and then talk about the strong friendship that is formed -- and then when Ginny is taken how does Emma meet up with Mary and Isabella.

 

An orphan runaway, GINNY CHAMP has no illusions about the evil in the world. Strong in her talent as a Wood Worker, the wrong people notice her who wishes to covet her power.  Circumstances cause a friendship to develop between her and Emma and when Ginny’s taken, it is fate that links Emma with Mary and Isabella to assist her in bringing her friend home.

 

See above.

 

Mary’s investigation takes her to Edai (what is Edai? I assume a city but I think you need to be specific). Once there, she learns of the Bone Workers. Practitioners of a vile magic, they create constructs of rotting flesh and bone, brought to life by captured souls.  The government exiled them seventy years ago. To return home, they are kidnapping Songstresses to find the one with the voice that will fuel a dark spell and throw the government and Edai into chaos. Isabella’s sister is among them. So again, I would explain the Bone Workers in the beginning, and in this part of the story Mary discovers they are kidnapping Songstresses and why.

 

Mary and Isabella begin working together using Isabella’s connections as a member of the nobility.  They come across a family name – Ware, who may be the key to finding the Bone Workers.  Mary and Isabella find Minaku captive in their (who's? be specific) opulent home.  However, the Bone Workers have robbed Minaku of her voice.  Mary leaves the girl in Isabella’s care and continues the search in the dangerous parts of the city. Seems like we need more meat here. Do they learn anything from Minaku?

 

By chance, Mary meets Emma and learns that she is searching for Ginny.  After the Bone Workers kill her father, (did that just happen here, or before?) Ginny seeks revenge and Emma fears for her friend’s life. Mary agrees to help Ginny as well. An independent faction of Bone Workers kidnaps Ginny to keep her from the others. With this group and a new friend, Ginny is convinced that they are just and becomes a trusted part of their group.(this part is very hard to understand. Does this group have a name? Who is the friend? How is she convinced?) Ginny reunites with Emma only to find they must leave Emma’s home. Emma’s sister tasks Mary with protecting her.

 

Mary and Isabella locate a lieutenant with the other Bone Workers as he plans to silence all Songstresses with the spell as a first strike. In doing so, there will be no one to oppose the one they have chosen – Isabella’s sister, to sing the dark song. (I think this needs more explanation. Why does the lieutenant choose Isabella, etc.?

 

Their plan succeeds (who's plan?), but Mary, Isabella, and Ginny join forces after receiving intelligence from Ginny’s group (needs to be more specific than "Ginny's group") that the Bone Workers plan to attack again. Their base of operations is a series of catacombs underneath an ancient graveyard. Once they arrive, a skirmish ensues with Mary, her companions and the local police fighting a group present. (again very confusing) During the battle, they (specifics) meet the true leader of the Bone Workers, SIMONE WARE-KADWELL, who tells them this strike is only the first of many plans to topple the government.  Mary challenges Simone but she escapes and the Bone Workers are defeated. 

The four women vow to continue the fight and halt Simone’s schemes.  Isabella decides to join the military and Ginny and Emma are invited to stay in her home.  Mary escorts Minaku home, while knowing that Simone is watching them and that Mary will return to finish their business. 



#3 Author CJ Black

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 09:27 PM

Sorry for being a little late on this one.

 

Overall, I think this reads a little too much like a query instead of a synopsis/summary. I expect in a synopsis to get a more or less linear telling of the tale in a (much) shortened fashion. I had to pop around in this to try to understand what was going on. So take my notes below in that sense.

 

Okay, just finished the notes, and I'm even more convinced that this is more of a query on steroids than anything else. The main reason is because of a lack of specifics. An agent shouldn't read a synopsis and be left with major questions. It is meant to tell them exactly what is going to happen in the book and why. I don't really get all of that from your current synopsis. I think you could probably get there pretty easily though. I'd recommend trying to tell the story in the same chronological order that your book uses -- with the possible exception of some stage-setting in the beginning (although I think that could be worked into the story as well).

 

Good luck!

 

 

Just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to look at my synopsis.  It's greatly appreciated.  I hope my suggestions were helpful to you as well.  Time to get to editing!  Have a good evening!


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#4 jpfranco

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 03:21 PM

This is my first time posting a synopsis here and any comments and suggestions are appreciated.  I recently had this critiqued and now this is the edited version.

 

In an alternate post-Civil War world, four young women of color struggle against a common enemy that is taking magicians, known as Songstresses, whose voices are their power.

 

At seventeen, STAGECOACH MARY FIELDS is an Earth Shaker, possessing the ability to crush solid objects with her force of will.  What starts out as a search for a missing Songstress, a Blackfoot girl named Minaku, why are they looking for her? eventually places her in opposition of to  a group of magicians known as Bone Workers. Who are they?

 

Daughter of a wealthy merchant, ISABELLA LEEFORD is a Straw Master, someone who can manipulate individuals by ensnaring them in strings of light formed by her own power.  Isabella’s sister, EMMA PORTER, is a Songstress has been taken by the Bone Workers and she seeks Mary’s help in finding her. How do they meet up?

 

As a Songmaker, EMMA PORTER was once her famous sister’s right hand, creating Songs in perfect accompaniment to her voice until a vicious assault breaks the dubious peace within her household. Specifics on the attack Her father's pride and her mother's collusions with the Bone Workers will be only is the first step in tearing them apart.

 

An orphan runaway, GINNY CHAMP has no illusions about the evil in the world. Strong in her talent as a Wood Worker, what is a wood worker? an actual carpenter, or something else?  the wrong people notice her who wishes to covet her power.  Circumstances specifics please cause a friendship to develop between her and Emma and when Ginny’s taken by those who covet her power, it is fate that links Emma with Mary and Isabella to assist her in bringing her friend home. What friend? Ginny? Minaku?

 

Mary’s investigation takes her to Edai. Once there, she learns of the Bone Workers. Practitioners of a vile magic, they create constructs of rotting flesh and bone, brought to life by captured souls.  The government exiled them to where seventy years ago. To return home, where is their home? they are kidnapping Songstresses to find the one with the voice that will fuel a dark spell and throw the government and Edai into chaos. Isabella’s sister is among them.

 

Mary and Isabella begin working together using Isabella’s connections as a member of the nobility.  They come across a family name – Ware, who may be the key to finding the Bone Workers.  Mary and Isabella find Minaku captive in their whose? opulent home.  However, the Bone Workers have robbed Minaku of her voice.  Mary leaves the girl in Isabella’s care and continues the search in the dangerous parts of the city.

 

By chance, Mary meets Emma and learns that she is searching for Ginny.  After the Bone Workers kill her father, how does this happen and where does her father play into the story? Ginny seeks revenge and Emma fears for her friend’s life. Mary agrees to help Ginny as well. An independent faction of Bone Workers kidnaps Ginny to keep her from the others. With this group and a new friend, Ginny is convinced that they are just and becomes a trusted part of their group. Ginny reunites with Emma only to find they must leave Emma’s home. Emma’s sister tasks Mary with protecting her.

 

Mary and Isabella locate a lieutenant with the other Bone Workers as he plans to silence all Songstresses with the spell as a first strike. In doing so, there will be no one to oppose the one they have chosen – Isabella’s sister, to sing the dark song.

 

Their plan succeeds, what plan? whose plan? are the songstresses silenced? then what happens? If the songstresses are silenced, I assume that means their power is taken away. so how can they continue to fight? but Mary, Isabella, and Ginny join forces after receiving intelligence from Ginny’s group that the Bone Workers plan to attack again. Their base of operations is a series of catacombs underneath an ancient graveyard. Once they arrive, a skirmish ensues with Mary, her companions and the local police fighting a group present.  During the battle, they meet the true leader of the Bone Workers, SIMONE WARE-KADWELL, who tells them this strike is only the first of many plans to topple the government.  Mary challenges Simone but she escapes and the Bone Workers are defeated.

The four women vow to continue the fight and halt Simone’s schemes.  Isabella decides to join the military and Ginny and Emma are invited to stay in her home.  Mary escorts Minaku home, while knowing that Simone is watching them and that Mary will return to finish their business. 

 

 

 

There's a whole lot going on here, and it gets confusing. I agree that this is more of a souped-up query than a synopsis. These women all have special powers, but how exactly do the powers work, and how do they use them? The descriptions are vague. The end of the synopsis doesn't seem to be an actual end, Mary is going to return to finish their business, so is this part of a series? You need a lot more specifics here, the synopsis isn't the place to entice with mystery, it's a breakdown of what happens, showing the story arc, but leaving out subplots and anything not crucial to the main story. There's only so much room. 



#5 Author CJ Black

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 08:58 AM

There's a whole lot going on here, and it gets confusing. I agree that this is more of a souped-up query than a synopsis. These women all have special powers, but how exactly do the powers work, and how do they use them? The descriptions are vague. The end of the synopsis doesn't seem to be an actual end, Mary is going to return to finish their business, so is this part of a series? You need a lot more specifics here, the synopsis isn't the place to entice with mystery, it's a breakdown of what happens, showing the story arc, but leaving out subplots and anything not crucial to the main story. There's only so much room. 

 

I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to review my synopsis.  It's greatly appreciated!  I have one more person looking at it while I'm editing and I'll post it again later.


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#6 Author CJ Black

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 06:49 AM

Well here is the revised version.  I've tried to incorporate as many of the suggestions I've received as I could but now it's way too long, at least I believe so.  Usually a synopsis needs to be one to two pages or so I've read but I'm not sure how to accomplish this without it being over that limit.  Again, any suggestions are appreciated.

 

At seventeen, STAGECOACH MARY FIELDS is an Earth Shaker, possessing the ability to crush solid objects with her force of will.  What starts out as a search for a missing Songstress, a Blackfoot girl named Minaku, eventually places her in opposition of a group of magicians known as Bone Workers.

 

Mary’s investigation takes her to Edai, a land not unlike our own. Once there, she learns of the Bone Workers. Practitioners of a vile magic, they create constructs of rotting flesh and bone, brought to life by the souls of people taken as sacrifices.  Mary also learns of a past war where the Bone Workers and their allies betrayed the government in a bid to seize control of the country.  A Songstress turned the tide and brought victory to Edai’s military.  As punishment, the government exiled them. Now in order to return home, the Bone Workers are kidnapping Songstresses to find the one with the voice that will fuel a dark spell and throw the government and Edai into chaos.

 

Mary takes a room at a small hotel and while walking around she encounters ISABELLA LEEFORD.  Isabella is a Straw Master, someone who can manipulate individuals by ensnaring them in strings of light formed by her own power.  Mary comes to Isabella’s rescue when a demonic being attacks her.  Isabella’s sister is a Songstress taken from her hospital bed.  When Isabella’s father arrives, he asks if Mary would be willing to find Isabella’s sister.  Mary and Isabella begin working together using her father’s connections as a member of the nobility.  More Songstresses disappear and Mary speaks to the fiancé of one of the missing girls.  He tells them that she saw the same creatures that attacked Isabella. 

 

 

Mary and Isabella returns to her home and on the way, Mary notices four thugs following them which they manage to lose.  Once arriving, Isabella’s father tells Mary that a group of Bone Workers took refuge in a house on the docks before the police took them into custody.  Mary decides to go there and search for clues. Mary cautions Isabella’s father over the thugs and figures that someone must be financing the Bone Workers. 

 

Meeting again with Isabella, they research wealthy families connected to the Bone Workers and come across a family name – Ware, who may be the key.  Mary travels outside of town to the Ware mansion but leaves Isabella behind.  Worried for her, Isabella uses a spell to transport herself to the house.

 

Mary enters the mansion first and finds Minaku chained in the basement with a Bone Worker keeping watch over her.  They battle and Mary is severely injured.  Isabella comes to save her.  The Bone Worker escapes and they find Minaku’s voice stolen.  Mary leaves Minaku in Isabella’s care and continues the search in the dangerous parts of the city.

 

Once at the docks, Mary enters a bar and it is after a confrontation there that Mary meets EMMA PORTER, and learns that she is searching for her friend, GINNY CHAMP.  As a Songmaker, Emma joined with her Songstress sister, Rosalie to create Songs in perfect accompaniment to her voice until a vicious assault left Rosalie without speech.  Emma tells Mary that Ginny is seeking revenge for her father’s death at the hands of the Bone Workers.

 

Emma fears for her friend’s life as she left to confront the Bone Workers alone and never returned.  Mary agrees to help Ginny as well since the Bone Workers are involved.  An orphan runaway, Ginny has no illusions about the evil in the world. Strong in her talent as a Wood Worker, the Bone Workers wishes to covet her power.  Afterwards, Mary escorts Emma home.

 

An independent faction of Bone Workers kidnaps Ginny to keep her from the others. They escape with Ginny to a small village and after a time Ginny realizes they aren’t like the others and want no more bloodshed.  However, the others find them and after a brief skirmish, where the others escape, they decide to return to the city after learning the others plan to attack the seat of power for the magicians.  The others allow Ginny to reunite with Emma.

 

However, Emma discovers a frightening truth – her mother is consorting with the Bone Workers.  Emma and Rosalie witness their mother murder their father.  Mary and Isabella unexpectedly arrive and Rosalie asks Mary to take Emma with her for her own protection. They return to Mary’s hotel and rent a room for Emma.  Later a fire is set in the hotel, the Bone Workers hoping to kill all three women but they escape.  Mary notices someone standing away from the crowds.  Their gazes lock and he runs.  Mary follows.  The man attacks her using constructs and both Isabella and Emma join Mary in the fight, their enemy runs away.  Isabella imprisons one of the constructs in order to use it to find him.

 

The three return to Isabella’s home where Emma receives a letter from Ginny.  Mary and Isabella uses the construct and they track down the culprit.  He plans to silence all Songstresses with the spell as a first strike. In doing so, there will be no one to oppose the one they have chosen – Isabella’s sister, to sing the dark song.  While this occurs, Ginny is on her way to the city and come upon the other as the battle begins.

 

Their first strike is successful, but Mary, Isabella, and Ginny join forces after receiving intelligence from Ginny’s group that the Bone Workers plan to attack again.   Mary, her companions and the local police join to fight.  They find the other kidnapped Songstresses but only one has survived. 

 

 

As the enemy falters, the true leader of the Bone Workers, SIMONE WARE-KADWELL, confronts Mary and tells her this strike is only the first of many plans to topple the government.  Mary challenges Simone but she escapes and the Bone Workers are defeated.

 

Mary spends time in the hospital because of her injuries.  While there, she finds out that the government has finally agreed to speak with Ginny’s people but refuse to allow them back in the city.  Isabella’s reunion with her sister is bittersweet, she is alive but the Bone Workers have destroyed her spirit.  Isabella decides to join the military so she can continue to fight and halt Simone’s schemes.  Isabella invites Ginny and Emma to stay in her home and the two make plans to get Rosalie away from Emma’s mother.  When the four gather at Isabella’s home, Mary tells them that now she is a part of the fight against the Bone Workers and arranges to return.  Mary escorts Minaku home, while knowing that Simone is watching them and that Mary will return to finish their business. 


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#7 spineofiron

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 04:38 PM

At seventeen, STAGECOACH MARY FIELDS is an Earth Shaker, possessing the ability to crush solid objects with her force of will.  What starts out as a search for a missing Songstress, a Blackfoot girl named Minaku, eventually places her in opposition of a group of magicians known as Bone Workers. (I’m not sure you need this bit – you’re setting up the rest of the story here, but you don’t need to have this at the beginning. We come across the Bone Workers later in the synopsis. Your story sounds like it starts with the investigation for Minaku, so start your synopsis by saying that Mary is investigating Minaku’s disappearance, and why she is doing so.)

 

Mary’s investigation takes her to Edai, a land not unlike our own. Once there, she learns of the Bone Workers. (How? Who tells her about this?) Practitioners of a vile magic, they create constructs of rotting flesh and bone, brought to life by the souls of people taken as sacrifices.  Mary also learns (how?) of a past war where the Bone Workers and their allies betrayed the government in a bid to seize control of the country. A Songstress turned the tide and brought victory to Edai’s military. As punishment, the government exiled them. (If the Songstresses brought victory, why are they exiled? Or was it the Bone Workers who were exiled?) In order to return home, the Bone Workers are kidnapping Songstresses to find the one with the voice that will fuel a dark spell and throw the government and Edai into chaos.

 

Mary takes a room at a small hotel and while walking around she encounters ISABELLA LEEFORD.  Isabella is a Straw Master, someone who can manipulate individuals by ensnaring them in strings of light formed by her own power.  Mary comes to Isabella’s rescue when a demonic being attacks her. Isabella’s sister is a Songstress taken from her hospital bed. (This doesn’t really seem like it follows a demonic attack logically.) When Isabella’s father arrives, he asks if Mary would be willing to find Isabella’s sister, a Songstress who has also gone missing.  Mary and Isabella begin working together using her father’s connections as a member of the nobility.  More Songstresses disappear and Mary speaks to the fiancé of one of the missing girls. He tells them that his missing fiancée saw the same creatures that attacked Isabella. 

 

Mary and Isabella return to Isabella’s home and on the way, Mary notices four thugs following them, who they manage to lose.  Once arriving, Isabella’s father tells Mary that a group of Bone Workers took refuge in a house on the docks before the police took them into custody.  Mary decides to go there and search for clues. Mary cautions Isabella’s father over the thugs and figures that someone must be financing the Bone Workers. (So does she actually go to the house on the docks? What does she find there?)

 

Meeting again with Isabella, they research wealthy families connected to the Bone Workers and come across a family name – Ware, who may be the key.  Mary travels outside of town to the Ware mansion but leaves Isabella behind.  Worried for her, Isabella uses a spell to transport herself to the house.

 

Mary enters the mansion first and finds Minaku chained in the basement with a Bone Worker keeping watch over her.  They battle and Mary is severely injured.  Isabella comes to save her.  The Bone Worker escapes and they find Minaku’s voice stolen.  Mary leaves Minaku in Isabella’s care and continues the search in the dangerous parts of the city.

 

Once at the docks, Mary enters a bar and it is after a confrontation there that Mary meets EMMA PORTER, and learns that she is searching for her friend, GINNY CHAMP. As a Songmaker, Emma joined with her Songstress sister, Rosalie, to create Songs in perfect accompaniment to her voice until a vicious assault left Rosalie without speech.  Emma tells Mary that Ginny is seeking revenge for her father’s death at the hands of the Bone Workers.

 

Emma fears for her friend’s life as she left to confront the Bone Workers alone and never returned.  Mary agrees to help Ginny as well since the Bone Workers are involved.  An orphan runaway, Ginny has no illusions about the evil in the world. Strong in her talent as a Wood Worker, the Bone Workers wishes to covet her power.  Afterwards, Mary escorts Emma home. (I think you could cut out a lot of the information about Ginny’s past and power and merge this paragraph with the one above.)

 

An independent faction of Bone Workers kidnaps Ginny to keep her from the others. They escape with Ginny to a small village and after a time Ginny realizes they aren’t like the others and want no more bloodshed.  However, the others find them and after a brief skirmish, where the others escape, they decide to return to the city after learning the others plan to attack the seat of power for the magicians.  The others allow Ginny to reunite with Emma. (This paragraph sounds like it’s from Ginny’s POV – is it? If it’s not, then you should either re-frame it from Mary’s perspective or leave it out entirely.)

 

However, Emma discovers a frightening truth – her mother is consorting with the Bone Workers.  Emma and Rosalie witness their mother murder their father. (Now I’m confused, because this also sounds like it’s not from Mary’s POV. Are there more than one in your novel?) Mary and Isabella unexpectedly arrive and Rosalie asks Mary to take Emma with her for her own protection. They return to Mary’s hotel and rent a room for Emma.  Later a fire is set in the hotel, the Bone Workers hoping to kill all three women, but they escape.  Mary notices someone standing away from the crowds.  Their gazes lock and he runs.  Mary follows.  The man attacks her using constructs (what does this mean?) and both Isabella and Emma join Mary in the fight. Their enemy runs away.  Isabella imprisons one of the constructs in order to use it to find him. (Again, not sure what this means.)

 

The three return to Isabella’s home where Emma receives a letter from Ginny.  Mary and Isabella use the construct and they track down the culprit.  He plans to silence all Songstresses with the spell as a first strike. In doing so, there will be no one to oppose the one they have chosen – Isabella’s sister to sing the dark song.  While this occurs, Ginny is on her way to the city and comes upon the other as the battle begins.

 

Their first strike is successful, but Mary, Isabella, and Ginny join forces after receiving intelligence from Ginny’s group that the Bone Workers plan to attack again. Mary, her companions and the local police join to fight.  They find the other kidnapped Songstresses, but only one has survived. 

 

As the enemy falters, the true leader of the Bone Workers, SIMONE WARE-KADWELL, confronts Mary and tells her this strike is only the first of many plans to topple the government. Mary challenges Simone but she escapes and the Bone Workers are defeated. (Well, if Simone escapes, then they’re not fully defeated, right?)

 

Mary spends time in the hospital because of her injuries. While there, she finds out that the government has finally agreed to speak with Ginny’s people but refuse to allow them back in the city. Isabella’s reunion with her sister is bittersweet: she is alive but the Bone Workers have destroyed her spirit. Isabella decides to join the military so she can continue to fight and halt Simone’s schemes. Isabella invites Ginny and Emma to stay in her home and the two make plans to get Rosalie away from Emma’s mother.  When the four gather at Isabella’s home, Mary tells them that now she is a part of the fight against the Bone Workers and arranges to return. Mary escorts Minaku home, while knowing that Simone is watching them and that Mary will return to finish their business.

 

First of all, this is fine for a two-page synopsis if you use Times New Roman font in size 12, which is standard. It'll take some more cutting to get it down to one page, but for right now, I'm concentrating on this two-pager.  :smile: One quick thing: don't hit the spacebar twice after the end of a sentence. I know that used to be standard when using typewriters, but it's not standard anymore, and it sticks out a lot.

 

There's quite a lot going on here, and the names and proper nouns sometimes make it difficult to follow events and tell who's who. You have five main characters, plus a missing girl, plus a villain, and that's not counting the names like Bone Worker or Songstress. If at all possible, try and cut some of these down and make them a little more generic. Minaku's name is only mentioned at the beginning and end, for instance -- could you just call her the missing Songstress at the beginning and leave out mentioning her at the end? Another confusing thing was that there were a couple of places where your synopsis seemed to switch POV. Is your book from multiple POVs? I think you could tell the entire thing from Mary's and be fine. If you think the other parts I marked as POV switches are necessary, try and frame them from Mary's perspective.

 

In this synopsis, I don't get a real sense of Mary's motivations either. Why is she bothering to stop the Bone Workers? If she's not from Edai, and the events don't have much impact on her, why is she bothering to stick around at all after Minaku is found? She could just go home. I need a clearer sense of the stakes: why Mary is there, what she stands to lose, and what's standing in her way of getting her goals. If her goal was to save Minaku, your book could end at the halfway point. Convince us that the rest of it is important to your character.

 

Like I said, this length is all right for a two-page synopsis. Now you'll need to work on making the stakes and motivations more streamlined and clear. It sounds like this is Mary's story, so strengthen that and cut away the fat outside of it.

 

If you're willing to take a look at my first 250 words, too, I'd appreciate it! You can find them here! Thanks in advance!


"I am a fire escape. My spine is made of iron, my heart pumps out old red paint."

-- Foster the People

 

-- -- --

 

NIGHT OF SORROWS

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#8 Author CJ Black

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 07:38 PM

First of all, this is fine for a two-page synopsis if you use Times New Roman font in size 12, which is standard. It'll take some more cutting to get it down to one page, but for right now, I'm concentrating on this two-pager.  :smile: One quick thing: don't hit the spacebar twice after the end of a sentence. I know that used to be standard when using typewriters, but it's not standard anymore, and it sticks out a lot.

 

There's quite a lot going on here, and the names and proper nouns sometimes make it difficult to follow events and tell who's who. You have five main characters, plus a missing girl, plus a villain, and that's not counting the names like Bone Worker or Songstress. If at all possible, try and cut some of these down and make them a little more generic. Minaku's name is only mentioned at the beginning and end, for instance -- could you just call her the missing Songstress at the beginning and leave out mentioning her at the end? Another confusing thing was that there were a couple of places where your synopsis seemed to switch POV. Is your book from multiple POVs? I think you could tell the entire thing from Mary's and be fine. If you think the other parts I marked as POV switches are necessary, try and frame them from Mary's perspective.

 

In this synopsis, I don't get a real sense of Mary's motivations either. Why is she bothering to stop the Bone Workers? If she's not from Edai, and the events don't have much impact on her, why is she bothering to stick around at all after Minaku is found? She could just go home. I need a clearer sense of the stakes: why Mary is there, what she stands to lose, and what's standing in her way of getting her goals. If her goal was to save Minaku, your book could end at the halfway point. Convince us that the rest of it is important to your character.

 

Like I said, this length is all right for a two-page synopsis. Now you'll need to work on making the stakes and motivations more streamlined and clear. It sounds like this is Mary's story, so strengthen that and cut away the fat outside of it.

 

If you're willing to take a look at my first 250 words, too, I'd appreciate it! You can find them here! Thanks in advance!

 

 

 

Hello, @spineofiron!  I wanted to take a moment to thank you for looking at my synopsis.  I'm going to go over and read your 250 in a little bit.  But to answer some of your questions, yes this is in multiple POV's although Mary is the main protagonist.  That's why it switches POV.  Mary isn't anywhere around when the narrative is focused on another character, so I'm not sure how to write it from her POV where it will make sense.  Do you have any suggestions? Something to make you giggle -- that two spaces thing is something I've been doing for a long time -- yes I'm old -- and it's difficult to stop doing it but I'm trying.  Again any suggestions are appreciated.  


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#9 spineofiron

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 10:41 PM

I assume that Mary eventually learns about the information disclosed in the other POVs, correct? I would see if you can write the relevant information that way, or otherwise consider omitting it entirely. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like the bulk of the novel is from her perspective, so I think for clarity the synopsis should be from her view. Maybe the line "Mary and Isabella unexpectedly arrive" and summarize the events from Ginny's and Emma's stories there?


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-- Foster the People

 

-- -- --

 

NIGHT OF SORROWS

Query

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250 Words


#10 Author CJ Black

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 10:38 AM

Once more with feeling!  This is the third updated version.

 

At seventeen, STAGECOACH MARY FIELDS is an Earth Shaker, possessing the ability to crush solid objects with her force of will. What starts out as a search for a missing Songstress, a Blackfoot girl named Minaku, eventually places her in opposition of a group of magicians known as Bone Workers.

 

Mary’s investigation takes her to Edai. Once there, she learns of the Bone Workers. Practitioners of a vile magic, they create constructs of rotting flesh and bone, brought to life by the souls of people taken as sacrifices. Mary also learns of a past war where the Bone Workers and their allies betrayed the government in a bid to seize control of the country. A Songstress turned the tide and brought victory to Edai’s military. As punishment, the government exiled all those involved. Now in order to return home, the Bone Workers are kidnapping Songstresses to find the one with the voice that will fuel a dark spell and throw the government and Edai into chaos.

 

Mary takes a room at a small hotel and while walking around she encounters ISABELLA LEEFORD. Isabella is a Straw Master, someone who can manipulate individuals by ensnaring them in strings of light formed by her own power. Mary comes to Isabella’s rescue when a demonic being attacks her.  When Isabella’s father arrives, he asks if Mary would be willing to find Isabella’s sister, a Songstress who has also gone missing.  Mary and Isabella begin working together using her father’s connections as a member of the nobility. More Songstresses disappear and Mary speaks to the fiancé of one of the missing girls. He tells them that his fiancée saw the same creatures that attacked Isabella.

 

Mary and Isabella return to Isabella’s home and on the way, Mary notices four thugs following them who they manage to lose. Once arriving, Isabella’s father tells Mary that a group of Bone Workers took refuge in a house on the docks before the police took them into custody. Mary cautions Isabella’s father over the thugs and figures that someone must be financing the Bone Workers. Mary decides to go to the house first to search for clues but finds nothing.

 

Hoping to obtain some information, Mary enters a bar and it is after a confrontation there that she meets EMMA PORTER, and learns that she is searching for her friend, GINNY CHAMP. As a Songmaker, Emma joined with her Songstress sister, Rosalie to create Songs in perfect accompaniment to her voice until a vicious assault left Rosalie without speech. Emma tells Mary that Ginny is seeking revenge for her father’s death at the hands of the Bone Workers.

 

Emma fears for her friend’s life as she left to confront the Bone Workers alone and never returned. Mary agrees to help Ginny as well since the Bone Workers are involved.  Afterwards, Mary escorts Emma home.

 

Meeting again with Isabella, they research wealthy families connected to the Bone Workers and come across a family name – Ware, who may be the key. Mary travels outside of town to the Ware mansion but leaves Isabella behind. Worried for her, Isabella uses a spell to transport herself to the house.

 

Mary enters the mansion first and finds Minaku chained in the basement with a Bone Worker keeping watch over her. They battle and Mary is severely injured. Isabella comes to save her. The Bone Worker escapes and they find Minaku’s voice stolen. They return to Isabella’s home and Isabella’s father gives Mary more information about the Ware’s, saying they had a son presumed dead and a daughter who lived out of the country.  Isabella is asleep on the coach but wakes just in time enough to hear her mention Emma Porter, whom she knows.  Isabella begs Mary to allow her to go with her to check on Emma.  Mary leaves Minaku in the Leeford’s care.

 

Upon arriving at Emma’s home, Rosalie asks Mary to take Emma with her for her own protection although she refuses to explain why. They return to Mary’s hotel and rent a room for Emma. Later a fire is set in the hotel, the Bone Workers hoping to kill all three women but they escape. Mary notices someone standing away from the crowds. Their gazes lock and he runs. Mary follows. The man attacks her using constructs and both Isabella and Emma join Mary in the fight, their enemy runs away. Isabella uses her power to take control of one of his constructs in order to use it to track him down.

 

The three return to Isabella’s home where Emma receives a letter from Ginny, explaining that she is with a group of Bone Workers who refuse to continue helping the other members of their faction.  Later after dark, Mary and Isabella use the construct and find their enemy holed up in a dilapidated house on the other side of the city.  The police have followed them but instead of sending them away, they deputize both girls and they enter the house.  The Bone Worker has several constructs attack them and during the fight, Mary chases the Bone Worker upstairs and he jumps out the window and into a canal below.

 

As the police are searching for him and dragging the canal, dozens of constructs come out the water, the majority of which run away but others begin to attack.  Mary and Isabella help the police fight them off but the constructs that left the scene concerns Mary.  She instructs Isabella to use her imprisoned construct to track them.  They follow them to the headquarters for the magicians.  The Bone Workers are initiating a preliminary strike made to silence all Songstresses. The purpose being there will be no one to oppose the one they have chosen – Isabella’s sister, to sing the dark song that will draw out all of the negative emotions in all those who hear it, leaving them unable to function.

 

When Mary and Isabella arrive, the police have already surrounded the building, where the constructs have broken in before charging the police.  Mary and Isabella join the fight and during this, they hear Ginny’s name called, realizing they’ve finally found her but Ginny leaves in pursuit of the Bone Worker leading the attack.  Mary and Isabella follow and they arrive on the scene where a coach is sitting and the woman Ginny is pursuing calls Isabella’s sister from within.  She begins to sing and the song affects all of them, drowning them in their painful memories and emotions.  In an act of desperation, Mary shoots Isabella’s sister in the shoulder, and then shoots the Bone Worker.  Whomever is in the coach flees.

 

The police take Mary and her companions in for questioning and after Isabella’s father comes for them, they all return to Isabella’s home.  Ginny tells them of joining forces with the separated faction of Bone Workers and that they received intelligence that the others plan to attack again, using an old church and graveyard outside the city as their base of operations.  Ginny leads them to her companions and they agree to fight together.

 

Mary, her companions and the local police go to the graveyard and the battle begins. Mary and Isabella find the other kidnapped Songstresses but only one has survived.  As the enemy falters, the true leader of the Bone Workers, SIMONE WARE-KADWELL, confronts Mary and tells her this strike is only the first of many plans to topple the government. Mary challenges Simone but she escapes and her followers taken into custody or killed.

 

 

Mary spends time in the hospital because of her injuries. While there, she finds out that the government has finally agreed to speak with Ginny’s people but refuse to allow them back in the city. Isabella’s reunion with her sister is bittersweet, she is alive but the Bone Workers have destroyed her spirit. Isabella decides to join the military so she can continue to fight and halt Simone’s schemes. Isabella invites Ginny and Emma to stay in her home and the two make plans to get Rosalie away from Emma’s mother. When the four gather at Isabella’s home, Mary tells them that now she is a part of the fight against the Bone Workers and arranges to return. Mary escorts Minaku home, while knowing that Simone is watching them and that Mary will return to finish their business. 


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#11 galaxyspinner

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 12:13 PM

Your big problem here is that this synopsis is over 1300 words long, and it's recommended that you keep it under 1000. You can solve this problem by cutting down on the details you include; a lot of this is probably very important and engaging in your prose, but it's not serving you in this context. Consider this paragraph, for example:

 

"Mary takes a room at a small hotel and while walking around she encounters ISABELLA LEEFORD. Isabella is a Straw Master, someone who can manipulate individuals by ensnaring them in strings of light formed by her own power. Mary comes to Isabella’s rescue when a demonic being attacks her.  When Isabella’s father arrives, he asks if Mary would be willing to find Isabella’s sister, a Songstress who has also gone missing.  Mary and Isabella begin working together using her father’s connections as a member of the nobility. More Songstresses disappear and Mary speaks to the fiancé of one of the missing girls. He tells them that his fiancée saw the same creatures that attacked Isabella."

 

There is a lot here that you don't need. The detail about taking a room and walking around is definitely unnecessary. Even the character of Isabella's father could probably be cut entirely from the synopsis; after all, you don't even give him a name here. If you cut this paragraph down to the essentials, you might end up with something like this:

 

"Mary rescues ISABELLA LEEFORD from a demon. Isabella is a Straw Master, capable of manipulating people like puppets. She tells Mary that her own sister, another Songstress, has gone missing. Together, they set off to investigate the rash of disappearing Songstresses."


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#12 Author CJ Black

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 02:28 PM

"Mary rescues ISABELLA LEEFORD from a demon. Isabella is a Straw Master, capable of manipulating people like puppets. She tells Mary that her own sister, another Songstress, has gone missing. Together, they set off to investigate the rash of disappearing Songstresses."

 

 

Thanks so much for your comments!  It's greatly appreciated.  I know it is still rather long.  Time to get back to editing.


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#13 Author CJ Black

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 08:03 PM

Managed to get it down to 1097 words with the help of Grammarly and ProWriting Aid.  I don't know if I can cut anymore.  As always comments are appreciated and I will return the favor if you leave a link .

 

At seventeen, STAGECOACH MARY FIELDS is an Earth Shaker, possessing the ability to crush solid objects with her force of will. What starts out as a search for a missing Songstress, a Blackfoot girl named Minaku places her in conflict with a group of magicians known as Bone Workers.

 

Mary’s investigation takes her to Edai. Once there, she speaks with some locals and they tell her about Bone Workers. Practitioners of a vile magic, they create constructs of rotting flesh and bone, brought to life by the souls of people taken as sacrifices.  Decades ago, during a war they betrayed the government in an attempted coup.  A Songstress brought victory to Edai’s military. As punishment, the government exiled those involved. 

 

Mary takes a room at a small hotel and rescues ISABELLA LEEFORD from a demon. Isabella is a Straw Master, capable of manipulating people like puppets.  She tells Mary that her own sister, another Songstress is missing.   They agree to work together to investigate the sudden rash of missing Songstresses.

 

They return to Isabella’s home and on the way, Mary sees four thugs following them who they lose. She cautions Isabella’s family about the thugs and figures that someone must finance the Bone Workers. They get information about a house on the docks where Bone Workers were staying.  Mary goes there first to search for clues but finds nothing.

 

Mary enters a bar and meets EMMA PORTER, who is searching for her friend, GINNY CHAMP.  Emma tells Mary that Ginny is seeking revenge for her father’s death at the hands of the Bone Workers.  Emma fears for her friend’s life as she left to confront the Bone Workers and never returned. Mary agrees to find Ginny as well since it involves the Bone Workers.  Afterward, Mary escorts Emma home.

 

The next day, Mary meets with Isabella and they search the names of wealthy families connected to the Bone Workers. One name stands out—Ware. Mary travels outside town to the Ware mansion but leaves Isabella behind. Worried for her, Isabella uses a spell to transport herself to the house. 

 

Mary enters the mansion first and finds Minaku chained in the basement with a Bone Worker guarding her. They fight and Mary gets injured. Isabella comes to save her. The Bone Worker escapes and they find Minaku’s voice stolen. They return to Isabella’s home and Mary receives more information about the Ware family.  Isabella is asleep on the couch but wakes just in time enough to hear Mary mention Emma Porter, whom she knows.  Isabella begs Mary to allow her to go with her to check on Emma.  Mary leaves Minaku in the Leeford’s care.

 

Upon arriving, Emma’s sister asks Mary to take Emma with her for her own protection although she refuses to explain why. They return to Mary’s hotel and rent a room for Emma. Later the Bone Workers set a fire hoping to kill all three girls but they escape. Mary notices someone standing away from the crowds. Their gazes lock and he runs. Mary follows. The man attacks her using constructs and both Isabella and Emma join Mary in the fight, their enemy runs away. Isabella uses her power to take control of one of his constructs in order to use it to track him down.

 

The three return to Isabella’s home where Emma receives a letter from Ginny, explaining that she is with a group of Bone Workers who refuse to continue helping the other members of their faction.  Later after dark, Mary and Isabella use the construct and find their enemy holed up in a dilapidated house on the other side of the city.  The police have followed them but instead of sending them away, they deputize both girls and enter the house.  The Bone Worker has several constructs attack them and during the fight, Mary chases him upstairs and he jumps out the window and into a canal below. 

 

As the police are dragging the canal, dozens of constructs come out the water.  Many escape but others attack.  Mary and Isabella help fight them off but the constructs that left the scene concerns Mary.  She instructs Isabella to use her construct to track them.  They follow them to the headquarters for the magicians.  The Bone Workers are starting a preliminary strike made to silence every Songstress. The purpose being there will be no one to oppose the one they have chosen—Isabella’s sister, to sing the dark song that will draw out negative emotions in those who hear it, leaving them unable to react.

 

 When Mary and Isabella arrive, the police have surrounded the building, where the constructs broke in.  The constructs attack.  Mary and Isabella join the fight and during this, someone calls Ginny’s name.  They’ve found her but Ginny leaves in pursuit of the Bone Worker leading the attack.  Mary and Isabella follow and they arrive on the scene where a coach is sitting and the woman Ginny is pursuing brings out Isabella’s sister.  She sings, and the sound has them drowning in their painful memories.  In an act of desperation, Mary shoots Isabella’s sister in the shoulder and then shoots the Bone Worker.  Whoever is in the coach flees. 

 

The police take Mary and her companions in for questioning and afterward they all return to Isabella’s home.  Ginny tells them of joining forces with the separated faction of Bone Workers and that they received intelligence that the others plan to attack again, using an old church and a graveyard outside the city as their base of operations.  Ginny leads them to her companions and they agree to fight together. 

 

Mary, the other girls, and the local police go to the graveyard and the battle begins. Mary and Isabella find the other kidnapped Songstresses but only one has survived.  As the enemy falters, the true leader of the Bone Workers, SIMONE WARE-KADWELL, confronts Mary and tells her this strike is only the first of many plans to topple the government. Mary challenges Simone but she escapes and her followers taken into custody or killed. 

 

Mary spends time in the hospital because of her injuries. Isabella’s reunion with her sister is bittersweet, she is alive but the Bone Workers have destroyed her spirit. Isabella joins the military so she can continue to fight and halt Simone’s schemes. Isabella invites Ginny and Emma to stay. When the four gather at Isabella’s home, Mary tells them that now she is a part of the fight against the Bone Workers and will return. Mary escorts Minaku home while knowing that Simone is watching.


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#14 W.P.

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 02:59 PM

At seventeen, STAGECOACH MARY FIELDS is an Earth Shaker, possessing the ability to crush solid objects with her force of will. What starts out as a search for a missing Songstress, a Blackfoot girl named Minaku places her in conflict with a group of magicians known as Bone Workers.

 

((I'm not sure this first paragraph is working. First, I don't know where the story is taking place or who Mary is. What does she do? What does she want? Does she have a family? What's her daily life? Now, I don't need all this information, of course. this is a synopsis. but there should be a set up. Just Mary's powers aren't enough. they don't hint at a life or personality or a goal. Also, I don't know why she's searching for a Songstress and what one of those is. A singer? A  person who does magic through singing or music? What's a blackfoot girl? and then there's the bone workers. It's just too much at once. It's hard to read and remember. That second sentence should be a whole paragraph on its own: how did mary get into that search and who is minako and why are the bone workers relevant and what do they do? Basically what I'm saying is: the synopsis is missing one of two paragraphs of set up. ))

 

Mary’s investigation takes her to Edai. ((again, not sure why she's investigating is that her job? her hobby? her destiny? is she doing it out of good will? just by giving us this info it will help us create an image of who she is. right now she's a blank for me)) Once there, she speaks with some locals and they tell her about learns about the  ((unless those locals are relevant to the plot, we don't need to know about them)) Bone Workers. Practitioners of a vile magic, they create constructs of rotting flesh and bone, brought to life by the souls of people taken as sacrifices.  Decades ago, during a war they betrayed the government in an attempted coup.  A Songstress brought victory to Edai’s military. As punishment, the government exiled those involved. ((all of this is exposition. which is fine, but is it relevant? if it is, it should be clearer why. Why does she learn about them anyway? She's looking for the songstress but we're not told why she thinks it's got to do with those magicians.))

 

Mary takes a room at a small hotel and rescues ISABELLA LEEFORD from a demon. ((this sentence comes out of no where. It might need a linking word. Like "When Mary takes a room at a small hotel, she rescues ..." Because it doesn't seem to have any connection to the previous paragraph and so it sounds weird. like it's stitched to the other paragraph.))) Isabella is a Straw Master, capable of manipulating people like puppets. ((not sure this is relevant to the synopsis))  She tells Mary that her own sister, another Songstress is missing.   They agree to work together to investigate the sudden rash of missing Songstresses.

 

They return to Isabella’s home and on the way, Mary sees four thugs following them who they lose. She cautions Isabella’s family about the thugs and figures that someone must finance the Bone Workers. They get information about a house on the docks where Bone Workers were staying.  Mary goes there first to search for clues but finds nothing.

 

Mary enters a bar and meets EMMA PORTER, who is searching for her friend, GINNY CHAMP. ((do we need to know all these characters' names? it becomes too much to remember and can become confusing))) Emma tells Mary that Ginny is seeking revenge for her father’s death at the hands of the Bone Workers.  Emma fears for her friend’s life as she left to confront the Bone Workers and never returned. Mary agrees to find Ginny as well since it involves the Bone Workers.  Afterward, Mary escorts Emma home. ((I wonder if this paragraph is at all needed. it only gives Mary another reason to find the bone workers, but that was her goal all along, so I don't see how it adds anything else.))

 

The next day, Mary meets with Isabella and they search the names of wealthy families connected to the Bone Workers. One name stands out—Ware. Mary travels outside town to the Ware mansion but leaves Isabella behind. Worried for her, Isabella uses a spell to transport herself to the house. 

 

Mary enters the mansion first and finds Minaku chained in the basement with a Bone Worker guarding her. They fight and Mary gets injured. Isabella comes to save her. The Bone Worker escapes and they find Minaku’s voice stolen. They return to Isabella’s home and Mary receives more information about the Ware family.  Isabella is asleep on the couch but wakes just in time enough to hear Mary mention Emma Porter, whom she knows.  Isabella begs Mary to allow her to go with her to check on Emma.  Mary leaves Minaku in the Leeford’s care.

 

Upon arriving, Emma’s sister asks Mary to take Emma with her for her own protection although she refuses to explain why. They return to Mary’s hotel and rent a room for Emma. Later the Bone Workers set a fire hoping to kill all three girls but they escape. Mary notices someone standing away from the crowds. Their gazes lock and he runs. Mary follows. The man attacks her using constructs and both Isabella and Emma join Mary in the fight, their enemy runs away. Isabella uses her power to take control of one of his constructs in order to use it to track him down.

 

The three return to Isabella’s home where Emma receives a letter from Ginny,((this is the problem with all these names and characters, I'm confused by who is who)) explaining that she is with a group of Bone Workers who refuse to continue helping the other members of their faction.  Later after dark, Mary and Isabella use the construct and find their enemy holed up in a dilapidated house on the other side of the city. The police have followed them but instead of sending them away, they deputize both girls and enter the house.  The Bone Worker has several constructs attack them and during the fight, Mary chases him upstairs and he jumps out the window and into a canal below. 

 

As the police are dragging the canal, dozens of constructs come out the water.  Many escape but others attack.  Mary and Isabella help fight them off but the constructs that left the scene concerns Mary.  She instructs Isabella to use her construct to track them.  They follow them to the headquarters for the magicians.  The Bone Workers are starting a preliminary strike made to silence every Songstress. The purpose being there will be no one to oppose the one they have chosen—Isabella’s sister, to sing the dark song that will draw out negative emotions in those who hear it, leaving them unable to react. ((I'm still wondering what Mary has got to do with this. Personally, I mean. I don't know her background or who she is or why she wants to solve the mystery.))

 

 When Mary and Isabella arrive, the police have surrounded the building, where the constructs broke in.  The constructs attack.  Mary and Isabella join the fight and during this, someone calls Ginny’s name.  They’ve found her but Ginny leaves in pursuit of the Bone Worker leading the attack.  Mary and Isabella follow and they arrive on the scene where a coach is sitting and the woman Ginny is pursuing brings out Isabella’s sister.  She sings, and the sound has them drowning in their painful memories.  In an act of desperation, Mary shoots Isabella’s sister in the shoulder and then shoots the Bone Worker.  Whoever is in the coach flees. 

 

The police take Mary and her companions in for questioning and afterward they all return to Isabella’s home.  Ginny tells them of joining forces with the separated faction of Bone Workers and that they received intelligence that the others plan to attack again, using an old church and a graveyard outside the city as their base of operations.  Ginny leads them to her companions and they agree to fight together. 

 

Mary, the other girls, and the local police go to the graveyard and the battle begins. Mary and Isabella find the other kidnapped Songstresses but only one has survived.  As the enemy falters, the true leader of the Bone Workers, SIMONE WARE-KADWELL, ((their identity was hidden and it felt like it was to be a plot twist or revelation, but then you introduce her here, at the very end, and I'm not sure why her identity is even relevant since we haven't heard of her before. that I can remember at least.)) confronts Mary and tells her this strike is only the first of many plans to topple the government. Mary challenges Simone but she escapes and her followers are taken into custody or killed. 

 

Mary spends time in the hospital because of her injuries. Isabella’s reunion with her sister is bittersweet, she is alive but the Bone Workers have destroyed her spirit. Isabella joins the military so she can continue to fight and halt Simone’s schemes. Isabella invites Ginny and Emma to stay. When the four gather at Isabella’s home, Mary tells them that now she is a part of the fight against the Bone Workers and will return. Mary escorts Minaku home while knowing that Simone is watching.  ((what did Mary gain with all this? what did she learn about herself? how did she grow? why was mary the one that had to solve all this? why not another character? what makes her special? why her? I feel like I know all the other characters a lot more than I know the main character. ))

 

 

 

Your story sounds very interesting and the synopsis has a nice structure. But the one thing lacking is Mary's characterisation. I don't know who she is or why she wants to solve the mystery or what she gains personally with it. Why her is my question. Why Mary, and not any other character? The rest of the secondary characters had a lot more to gain and lose, their stories were personal and I understood them. But not Mary. Why is she part of this story? These are the most important questions agents will be looking for you to answer in the synopsis. 

 

Anyway, I hope this has been useful. :)

Also, if you had time, could you take a look at my query? 



#15 Author CJ Black

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 07:35 PM

Your story sounds very interesting and the synopsis has a nice structure. But the one thing lacking is Mary's characterisation. I don't know who she is or why she wants to solve the mystery or what she gains personally with it. Why her is my question. Why Mary, and not any other character? The rest of the secondary characters had a lot more to gain and lose, their stories were personal and I understood them. But not Mary. Why is she part of this story? These are the most important questions agents will be looking for you to answer in the synopsis. 

 

Anyway, I hope this has been useful. :)

Also, if you had time, could you take a look at my query? 

 

Hello again, W.P.  Thank you for having a second look! I'll be happy to look at your query.  Please supply a direct link at your earliest convenience.

 

To answer your questions, Mary is the type of person who rises to the occasion when someone asks for help.  People can tell she's a down to earth no nonsense type of person.  She agrees to help the others because she discovers they're fighting against the same enemy.  Google the historical figure of Stagecoach Mary Fields to learn more about her.  The work focuses on the four women overall but Mary is the oldest and becomes sort of a mother figure to the rest.  If you have any suggestions to better convey this I would appreciate it.  Have a great week!


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#16 W.P.

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 12:47 PM


Here’s the link: http://agentquerycon...en/#entry356397
Thank you for taking a look.

Interesting! I actually didn’t know she was an historical figure. But I still do think there should be a “set up” paragraph regarding her. This is a fictional novel and all stories need a set up paragraph. Even if the agent knows who Mary is, they don’t know how much of her real life was kept or changed in this novel. And even if the readers have an idea of how Mary was like, Mary the character needs a motivation and characterization like the other characters in the book. Because this is fiction (I hope).
But take my advice with a grain of salt, of course. I suggest checking what others think since what doesn’t work for me might work for them. :)

#17 cmmg

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 11:59 AM

Managed to get it down to 1097 words with the help of Grammarly and ProWriting Aid.  I don't know if I can cut anymore.  As always comments are appreciated and I will return the favor if you leave a link .

 

At seventeen, STAGECOACH MARY FIELDS (her name is stagecoach?) is an Earth Shaker, possessing the ability to crush solid objects with her force of will. What starts out as a search for a missing Songstress (this is unrelated to the first sentence. Maybe it's missing a connection), a Blackfoot girl named Minaku (you mean MINAKU if that's her name, right?) places her in conflict with a group of magicians known as Bone Workers. (not sure how well this sentence works. You could say "And Mary uses those skills to look for a missing Songstress, a Blackfoor girl named MINAKU, but there are some people who don't want her to be found." or something since "placing her in conflict" is pretty weak as a construction)

 

Mary’s investigation takes her to Edai (and Edai is? Is the name of this place super important? If you need to cut wordcount, it's these details that either have to be justified or cut, because right now, I'm not sure why the name is important). Once there, she speaks with some locals and they tell her about Bone Workers (These two sentences could be punched up and concise, why is it important she talk to locals, why not " Mary's investigation leads her to a group called the Bone Worker" and then you don't have to mention them in the first paragraph, since the name doesn't do anything there.). Practitioners of a vile magic, they create constructs of rotting flesh and bone, brought to life by the souls of people taken as sacrifices.(I think this wording could have more action "souls of people they've sacrifices" implies more action on the Bone Workers vs just, the souls were sort of just taken.)  Decades ago, during a war they betrayed the government in an attempted coup.  A Songstress brought victory to Edai’s military. As punishment, the government exiled those involved. (Why is this information important? I get the missing girl->evil Bone workers, but does it matter what happened to the military? I already don't like the bone works, is it super important that they were punished)

 

Mary takes a room at a small hotel and rescues ISABELLA LEEFORD from a demon (this is again unlrelated. Have some connecting sentences "While continuing to dig into the history of the Bone Workers (if you feel the history is SUPER important), Mary takes a room at a hotel where a girl is being attacked by a demon. Mary saves the girl, ISABELLA LEFORD" even if it's a synopsis this needs to read as an action summary not a listen). Isabella, is a Straw Master capable of manipulating people like puppets,  She tells Mary that her own sister, another Songstress is missing.   They agree to work together to investigate the sudden rash of missing Songstresses.

 

They return to Isabella’s home and on the way, Mary sees four thugs following them who they lose (this kind of makes me go "so what" because there's no conflict. You could say she sees four thugs following them. and then we're like, "oh no, the thugs!" instead of saying that they lose them which is a little "so what?" because you eliminated the threat. Later it seems the threat might be  "who sent them" I think it'd be better to have the type of threat there when it's introduced. "As they reutned to Isabella's home, Mary realizes that four thugs have attempted to follow them, but who could have sent them?" or something. But if we don't care who sent them, it doesn't matter and it's not worth mentioning since this is easily solved. Again, if you need to cut word count, I think this is a place you could snip). She cautions Isabella’s family about the thugs and figures that someone must finance the Bone Workers (these are unrelated. Like, completely unrelated clauses unless the thugs are financing the Bone Workers). They get information about a house on the docks where Bone Workers were staying (how? from who?)Following a tip (this works better, get the feeling of things. This isn't a list of events.), Mary goes there first to search for clues but finds nothing. (I don't know if there is one thing in this paragraph that I really feel is important after coming to the end, does it matter that Mary finds nothing? Doesn't seem like it. I think all the information here could be cut.)

 

Mary enters a bar and meets EMMA PORTER, who is searching for her friend, GINNY CHAMP These are a LOT of characters and names).  Emma tells Mary that Ginny is seeking revenge for her father’s death at the hands of the Bone Workers.  Emma fears for her friend’s life as she left to confront the Bone Workers and never returned. Mary agrees to find Ginny as well since it involves the Bone Workers.  Afterward, Mary escorts Emma home.(I get the feeling that you're focused on accuracy here and chronicling EXACTLY what happened instead of condensing and telling a story. Does it really matter that Mary walked her home? Are people going to wonder "but WAIT how did Emma get home?" no. )

 

The next day, Mary meets withand Isabella and they(take out the filler actions where people are meeting and just have this more ACTION. It's not important that they meet first) search the names of wealthy families connected to the Bone Workers. One name stands out—Ware(Why are only some of the names capitalized here. shouldn't it be WARE). Mary travels outside town to the Ware mansion but leaves Isabella behind. Worried for her, Isabella uses a spell to transport herself to the house. (if Isabella is going to show up anyway, so literary agents at the query stage REALLY need to know that Mary tries to leave her behind? Will the whole synopsis fall apart without it?)

 

Mary enters the mansion first and finds Minaku chained in the basement with a Bone Worker guarding her. They fight (this is the blandest way possible to describe this) and Mary gets injured.but Isabella comes to save her. The Bone Worker escapes and they find Minaku’s voice stolen(for all the random things mentioned, it's not mentioned how a Songstresses powers relate to their voice and until now I didn't think there was a connection). They return to Isabella’s home and Mary receives more information about the Ware family .  Isabella is asleep on the couch but wakes just in time enough to hear Mary mention Emma Porter, whom she knows.  Isabella begs Mary to allow her to go with her to check on Emma.  Mary leaves Minaku in the Leeford’s care as she receives a tip about Ware, involving Emma Porter and dashes to find answers. (It's not important that they return home and saying that Mary receives information but not what that information is, is annoying and the fact taht Isabella is asleep but then wakes up? Not important. Literally, she's asleep. Being clear and concise is more important than 100% accuracy at this stage.)

 

Upon arriving, Emma’s sister asks Mary to take Emma with her for her(who? Emma's? Mary's? Emma's sister? There are 3 girls here) own protection although she refuses to explain why. They return to Mary’s hotel and rent a room for Emma. Later thebut Bone Workers set a fire hoping to kill all three girls. but Narrowly, they escape. (Try to connect things, so it's not just "this happened. This happened." I think more cause and effect will help it read better even if it's long. Connection)Then, Mary notices someone standing away from the crowds. Their gazes lock and he runs and Mary follows speds after him (action! cause and effect! connection). The man escapes by attacking her using constructs and even as both Isabella and Emma join Mary in the fight, their enemy runs away. Isabella uses her power to take control of one of his constructs in order to use it to track him down. (Why is this man attacking her important? This is like the thugs. If it's not the central mystery of the Bone Workers, immediately, you can cut it.)

 

The three return to Isabella’s home where Emma receives a letter from Ginny, explaining that she is with a group of Bone Workers who refuse to continue helping the other members of their faction.(What does this even mean? One of the things that not working here is that there are so many things that happen and then stop (the thugs, Marying finding a clue but then it's nothing, this attack that then has no consequences) is that it's hard to know what's important to pay attention to. A query should follow the same "yes, but" / "no and" structure of a novel. "yes, they succeed and finding out about Ware and rescuing Minaku, but then they find out their friend is invovled!" from the previously paragraph works well. If that's how I understand it. But all these other "they fought, then they escaped. Then end" doesn't help because it's not complicating, advancing the plot. Or at least, it's not explained how it is. I think there's lots of little things that can be cut here.)  Later after dark, Mary and Isabella use the construct and find their enemy holed up in a dilapidated house on the other side of the city.  The police have followed them but instead of sending them away, they deputize both girls and enter the house. (I'm not sure the presence of the police is super important here) The Bone Worker has several constructs attack them and during the fight, Mary chases him upstairs andbut he jumps out the window and into a canal below.  (again, make things more action-y, cut extra words, and have more connections that are cause and effect)

 

As the police are dragging the canal(what does dragging the canal mean), dozens of constructs comeburst out the water.  Many escape bu and others attack (punch it up with action!).  Mary and Isabella help fight them off but the constructs that left the scene concerns Mary.  She instructs Isabella to use her construct to track them.  They follow them to their headquarters for the magicians. It turns out,  The Bone Workers are starting a preliminary strike made to silence every Songstress (connecting words. This isn't a list.). The purpose being there will be no one to oppose the one they have chosen—I(This is so wordy) Thi way Isabella’s sister, to can sing the dark song that will draw out negative emotions in those who hear it, leaving them unable to react(unable to react to what? Also, Emma and Ginny seem super unimportant to the main plot and almost everything concerning it except that one line that makes them take her to a hotel, but that could easily be rearrange to not include her and just stick with Isabella and Mary).

 

 When Mary and Isabella arrive, the police have surrounded the building, where the constructs broke in .  The constructs attack.  Mary and Isabella join the fight and during this, someone calls Ginny’s name.  They’ve (who? I still don't care about Ginny. She's unrelated to the main plot and I keep forgetting what she's doing. I would say her entire subplot is cuttable but if you really want her in, it's still not working this way)found her but Ginny leaves in pursuit of the Bone Worker leading the attack.  Mary and Isabella follow and they arrive on the scene where a coach is sitting and the woman Ginny is pursuing brings out Isabella’s sister.  She sings, and the sound has them drowning in their painful memories.  In an act of desperation, Mary shoots Isabella’s sister in the shoulder and then shoots the Bone Worker.  Whoever is in the coach flees. (I feel like this paragraph could be simplified to "When Mary and Isabella arrive a the headquarters, the constructs attack. They try their best to fight them off, but a mysterious woman in a coach strikes pre-emptively, bringing our Isabella's sister to sing her dark song. The song drowns them in memories and in act of desperation, Mary shoots Isabella's sister and the Bone Worker too." If you really wanted to include the police you could add at the end "by this point police have arrived at the scene" or something. But again. you have all these little clauses that can be cut and simplified.)

 

The police take Mary and her companions in for questioning and afterward they all return to Isabella’s home.  Then Ginny tells them of joining forces with the separated faction of Bone Workers and that theyshe received intelligence that the others plan to attack again, using an old church and a graveyard outside the city as their base of operations.  Ginny leads them to her companions and they agree to fight together. (This feels like a too late plot development. Also it's pretty obivious by the next paragraph they're going to attack and the question of the police doesn't advance the Bone Worker plot)

 

Mary, the other girls, and the local police go to the graveyard and the battle begins. Mary and Isabella find the other kidnapped Songstresses but only one has survived.  As the enemy falters, the true leader of the Bone Workers, SIMONE WARE-KADWELL, confronts Mary and tells her this strike is only the first of many plans to topple the government. Mary challenges Simone but she escapes and her followers taken into custody or killed. 

 

Mary spends time in the hospital because of her injuries.(there's a lot of "but then Mary is injured" which I think is supposed to serve as consequence but if she recovers, it doesn't matter, we can assume the battle was bloody.) Isabella’s reunion with her sister is bittersweet, she is alive but the Bone Workers have destroyed her spirit. Isabella joins the military so she can continue to fight and halt Simone’s schemes(this feels like a good ending for Isabella honestly). Isabella invites Ginny and Emma to stay(I have no idea why this would matter). When the four gather at Isabella’s home (It's not important we know that that THEY know this, so the invitations to the home, Mary telling them, doesn't matter. It only matters what they do know), Mary tells them that now she is a part ojoins the fight against the Bone Workers and will return. Mary escorts Minaku home while knowing that Simone is watching.

 

 

I think this REALLY needs to be pared down. There's a lot of details and events here recounted to no consequences. The central plot is the Bone Workers, can plot event that does not lead to a development in how we understand that can be cut. I mean, sure, character detail can stay. But the police questioning someone and then them leaving doesn't change or complicate the Bone Worker plot and so it can be cut and the plot still understood without it. This is the information that can be pared down.

 

So much here could be cut even without you doing major overhauls. I think focusing on REALLY paring down would help. Not just cutting words, but subplots too. There isn't really room for subplots when you have a main plot with two character arcs (Isabella and Mary).


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