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A Beast in Venice


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#1 mhender668

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 05:18 AM

Most recent version at #9

Kindly critique the synopsis for my 76,000 word novel. I have it to one page. Thanks.



Synopsis: A Beast in Venice (Revised Version)

Set in the ancient streets of modern-day Venice, Brigham Stone, reformed lawyer and now painter in Venice, struggles with the culture, the language, and with fact that his life is more than half over. When he meets fellow expat Charles Raymond, he is thrown into a world of murder, blood, and cannibalism.

Brigham, gin-soaked and disgusted with the state of modern art, unable to find a gallery in the world of Italian protectionism, begins to see some strange things. Men walk through brick walls. Bodies, gutted and otherwise butchered, are pulled foul and stinking from the canals. One of his paintings begins talking to him, giving critical comment and oracular advice. His wife disappears.

Things really get out of hand, though, when he learns that Charles is not just a rich lover of things artistic, but a ghoulish creature known in Venice as a shroud eater.

Charles takes a liking to Brigham and decides to add him to his collection of interesting people. Charles offers him eternal life. To do this, however, Brigham must be converted to a shroud eater. The benefit is that he will live forever. The downside is that he must kill someone every day, and eat their flesh and drink their blood.

Although interested in eternal life, Brigham soon realizes the horrors of what he would have to do, and tries to escape it. Charles is determined, and converts Brigham against his will.

Charles and one of his colleagues come into conflict over Brigham, and they each introduce him to their own way of obtaining their daily bread. For this reason (and others), Charles decides to destroy Brigham.

As horrible as the shroud eater existence is, Brigham is warming up to the idea of eternal life. When he kills the mother of a little girl, however, he is overcome by remorse, and wishes to return to normal. He learns that there is a way to do it, but in the middle of the process, Charles appears and kills the witch who is helping him, and kidnaps Brigham and his friend, hauling them off in a boat.

After a struggle at the top of a large crane, Charles falls to his death, impaled and cut in two by the cross atop a bell tower. Brigham, who’s been shot, stabbed, nail-gunned, and has broken a leg, has about twenty minutes to finish what the witch started, or he will die. He makes it to the witch’s house and completes the process. He is human again.

Cleaned up and sober, accepting of his mortality, Brigham and his wife are reunited, and he has a very successful solo exhibition in Rome. They celebrate Brigham’s return to the world of men with a party in Brigham’s garden.

Edited by mhender668, 17 December 2012 - 10:46 AM.


#2 Morgen442

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 11:25 PM

Your book sounds very cool! I really don't have much to contribute as I'm still really trying to figure this synopsis business out myself. The one thing I read is that you should capitalize the first occurrence of each character's name. So the first time you say BRIGHAM, it should read BRIGHAM.

I think your synopsis reads well, personally!

#3 mhender668

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 11:46 AM

Thanks for the comments, everyone. You comments are all well-taken. My editor handed me my keester because it sucked. I'm at the drawing board right now.

And thanks, Morgan, maybe you would be a beta reader.

#4 mhender668

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 11:52 AM

Dear Mr./Ms. Agent:


Brigham Stone, American painter in Venice, finds a rich patron. Charles Raymond. But there’s more to Charles than the colorful silk hankie billowing from his blazer, and the cash Charles throws Brigham’s way comes with strings. Charles is a ghoul, known in Venice as a “shroud eater.” And he wants Brigham. Not as a meal, but as a colleague. Forever.

Although such a creature will never die, and Brigham is indeed having an issue with growing old, it may cost him his wife and his humanity.

Shown the gruesome truth of what being a shroud eater means, Brigham decides against it and tries to escape. One of Charles’ goons renders him unconscious in a most abrupt and inhospitable manner, and he is converted to a shroud eater against his will.

At first, he hates killing and eating human flesh. It makes him puke. The interior of the human body is a stinking pile of filth. But the prospect of eternal life trumps the beast he has become, and he begins to settle into the existence.

Meanwhile, Brigham’s wife has disappeared. Brigham believes that Charles kidnapped her, and has stashed her somewhere in Venice. While searching for her in tombs in the floor of an abandoned church, Brigham and his companions find Charles’ wife, and, through a calamity of circumstances, end up killing her.

His wife, freed by the police, won’t live with him.

After the heinous nature of his most recent kill, he can’t live with himself.

Charles doesn’t want him to live at all.

My horror novel, A Beast in Venice, is complete at about 76,000 words.


Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.




#5 LKMoody

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 11:52 PM

Your second post is a query letter, not a synopsis--I'd advise having both on hand. But the query is definintely an improvement on the original synopsis, you did a really good job cleaning it up. Maybe consider using it as the bones of a totally new synopsis?

(Also, strike the "about" from "about 76,000 words." Agents know it's an approximation.)

#6 mhender668

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 12:44 AM

LK, you're right. I pasted the wrong thing here. This is the updated synopsis:


Synopsis: A Beast in Venice

Brigham Stone, reformed lawyer and now painter in Venice, struggles with the culture, the language, and with fact that his life is more than half over.

Gin-soaked and disgusted with the state of modern art, unable to find a gallery in the world of Italian protectionism, Brigham begins to see some strange things. Men walk through brick walls. Bodies, gutted and otherwise butchered, are pulled foul and stinking from the canals. One of his paintings begins talking to him, giving critical comment and oracular advice. His wife disappears.

Things really get out of hand, though, when he learns that his new patron, Charles, is not just a rich lover of things artistic, but a ghoulish creature known in Venice as a shroud eater.

Charles takes a liking to Brigham and decides to add him to his collection of interesting people. Charles offers him eternal life. To do this, however, Brigham must be converted to a shroud eater. The benefit: he will live forever. The downside: he must kill someone every day, and eat their flesh and drink their blood.

Although interested in eternal life, Brigham soon realizes the horrors of what he would have to do, and tries to escape it. Determined, Charles converts Brigham against his will.

Charles and one of his colleagues come into conflict over Brigham, and they each introduce him to their own way of obtaining their daily bread. For this reason, and others, Charles decides to destroy Brigham.

As horrible as the shroud-eater existence is, Brigham is warming up to the idea of eternal life. When he kills the mother of a little girl, however, he is overcome by remorse, and wishes to return to normal. He learns of a way to do it, but in the middle of the process, Charles appears and kills the witch who is helping him, and kidnaps Brigham and his friend.

After a struggle at the top of a large crane, Charles falls to his death, impaled and cut in two by the cross atop a bell tower. Brigham, who’s been shot, stabbed, nail-gunned, and has a broken leg, has about twenty minutes to finish what the witch started, or he will die. He makes it to the witch’s house and completes the process, making him human again.

#7 drm

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 08:46 PM

I'm not much for this kind of story, but you make it sound interesting, I suspect because Venice becomes a "character." I had no problem with this revise of the synopsis until the sixth "paragraph" in which you refer to Charles and one of his colleagues. Takes your reader out of the focus on the main character. I don't think anything would be hurt if you ditched that paragraph. Same with beginning the last graf with "after a struggle." I quote "paragraph" because you don't really have any; at least I don't think of one sentence as a paragraph, or not this many. It looks and sounds a bit choppy but you're on your way to a good synopsis.

#8 LKMoody

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 07:47 PM

LK, you're right. I pasted the wrong thing here. This is the updated synopsis:


Synopsis: A Beast in Venice

Brigham Stone, reformed lawyer and now painter in Venice, struggles with the culture, the language, and with fact that his life is more than half over.

Gin-soaked and disgusted with the state of modern art, unable to find a gallery in the world of Italian protectionism, Brigham begins to see some strange things. Men walk through brick walls. Bodies, gutted and otherwise butchered, are pulled foul and stinking from the canals. One of his paintings begins talking to him, giving critical comment and oracular advice. His wife disappears.<--and given the rest of this synopsis, Charles doesn't care. Cut her or make Charles's reaction to this more important. She's his wife!

Things really get out of hand, though, when he learns that his new patron, Charles, is not just a rich lover of things artistic, but a ghoulish creature known in Venice as a shroud eater.

Charles takes a liking to Brigham and decides to add him to his collection of interesting people by offering . Charles offers him eternal life. To become immortal do this, however, Brigham must be converted to a shroud eater. The benefit: he will live forever. The downside: he must kill someone every day, and eat their flesh and drink their blood.

Although interested in eternal life, Brigham soon realizes the horrors of what he would have to do, and tries to escape it. Determined, Charles converts Brigham against his will. <--why is Charles so determined? What makes Brigham so special to Charles? It seems to me that creating another immortal predator is something that would be done very carefully.

Charles and one of his colleagues come into conflict over Brigham, and they each introduce him to their own way of obtaining their daily bread. For this reason, and others, Charles decides to destroy Brigham.<--Wait, because someone else shows him stuff, suddenly Charles wants him dead? Charles went through the trouble of converting Brigham against his will (for a shroud eater, it seems to me it would've been way easier to kill him while he was human)--I feel like we need a explanation of the "and others" that incline Charles to undo his own hard work.

As horrible as the shroud-eater<--should this have a hyphen? It doesn't above existence is, Brigham is warming up to the idea of eternal life. When he kills the mother of a little girl, however, he is overcome by remorse, and wishes to return to normal. He learns of a way to do it, but in the middle of the process, Charles appears and kills the witch who is helping him, and kidnapings Brigham and his friend.

After a struggle at the top of a large crane, Charles falls to his death, impaled and cut in two by the cross atop a bell tower. Brigham, who’s been shot, stabbed, nail-gunned, and has a broken leg, has about twenty minutes to finish what the witch started, or he will die. He makes it to the witch’s house and completes the process, making him human again.


Much better. Given how exciting this story is, though, I feel like the synopsis should be more exciting--should use action verbs to really pull us along. I'd also like just a little glimpse into Brigham's reaction to being converted against his will--you jump right to the Charles's conflict, but Brigham is the central character of the synopsis.

There are also a few characters who show up just once in the synopsis, with no explanation--his wife, his friend who gets kidnapped with him. Mention of them should either be eliminated as extraneous (what I would suggest now) or expanded, if they're important.

Every agent wants a different length synopsis, but this is slightly less than 400 words. I would say you probably have at least another 100 words to play around with fleshing out Brigham's motivations and to clear up the plot.

#9 mhender668

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:45 AM

Thank you for all your comments. Here is a revised version.


Synopsis: A Beast in Venice

Brigham Stone, reformed lawyer and now painter, lives in Venice with his wife and two dogs. He struggles with the culture (have they not heard of mixology?), the language (conjugation?), and with fact that in middle age, his life is more than half over. He also struggles to find a gallery in the world of bad art and Italian protectionism.

One night while searching for a decent martini, he sees a man walk through a brick wall. At the same time, bodies, gutted and strangely butchered, are floating in the canals. One of his paintings begins talking to him, giving critical comment and oracular advice.

His gondolier friend believes that these things mean that ancient ghouls, known in Venice as “shroud eaters,” have returned. They need to do something. Brigham doesn’t believe this, but out of curiosity buys an ancient book on the subject of vampires in Venice. A woman sees him reading the book at a café, and invites him to an underground vampire club.

When he returns home from the club, his wife finds a blonde hair on his jacket. Assuming the worse, she kicks him out. The next day, he discovers his wife has gone missing.

Then he learns that his new patron Charles is not just a rich lover of things artistic, but is himself a shroud eater. Charles likes Brigham, decides to add him to his collection of interesting people, and offers him eternal life. The benefit: he will live forever. The downside: he must kill every day, and eat human flesh and drink human blood. Although interested in eternal life, Brigham realizes the horrors of what he would have to do, and tries to escape it. Charles converts him to a shroud eater against his will.

At first, Brigham has trouble adjusting to the horrible and bloody existence of a shroud eater. Killing and devouring people makes him sick. But he adjusts. He will, after all, live forever. He slips into a world of murder and near madness.

Finding clues as to where his wife might be (the police fail in this respect), Brigham and his friends search for her. When they find Charles’ wife, lying in a tomb, she attacks Brigham, and they are forced to kill her. For this reason, and others, Charles decides to destroy Brigham.

When his wife is finally rescued by the police, she refuses live with him as a shroud eater. He knows a way to reverse it, but is not sure he wants to. Evil as it is he has eternal life. But when he kills the mother of a young girl, he is overcome by remorse, and decides to return to normal. In the middle of being restored to human, Charles appears and kidnaps Brigham and his friend.

After a struggle at the top of a towering crane, Charles falls to his death, impaled and cut in two by the cross atop a bell tower. Brigham, who’s been shot, stabbed, nail-gunned, and has a broken leg, has twenty minutes to finish the conversion, or he will die. With the help of his gondolier friend, he is able to complete the transformation, and save his life. Cured of his ghoulish ways, he and his wife reconcile, and he gains success with an art exhibition in Rome.

#10 Diana C

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:21 PM

Thank you for all your comments. Here is a revised version.


Synopsis: A Beast in Venice

Brigham Stone, reformed lawyer and now painter, lives in Venice with his wife and two dogs. He struggles with the culture (have they not heard of mixology?), the language (conjugation?), and with fact that in middle age, his life is more than half over. He also struggles to find a gallery in the world of bad art and Italian protectionism. what's protectionism? Only wanting to show italian work?

One night while searching for a decent martini, he sees a man walk through a brick wall. At the same time For me, at the same times means that the guy went through the wall as the bodies are butchered and floating., bodies, gutted and strangely butchered, are floating in the canals. One of his paintings begins talking to him, giving critical comment and oracular advice. Oracular?

His gondolier friend believes that these things mean that ancient ghouls, known in Venice as “shroud eaters,” have returned and they must be stopped.. They need to do something. Brigham doesn’t believe this, but out of curiosity buys an ancient book on the subject of vampires in Venice. A woman sees him reading the book at a café, and invites him to an underground vampire club. Where what happens?

When he returns home from the club, his wife finds a blonde hair on his jacket. Assuming the worse, she kicks him out. The next day, he discovers his wife has gone missing.

Then he learns that his new patron comma Charles comma is not just a rich lover of things artistic, but is himself a shroud eater. Name sounds cool, but a shroud is a garment a body is wrapped in bur burial. Why eat that? Charles likes Brigham, decides to add him to his collection of interesting people, and offers him eternal life. The benefit: he will live forever. The downside: he must kill every day, and eat human flesh and drink human blood. Not one of those vamps with self-control, huh? Although interested in eternal life, Brigham realizes the horrors the concept of what he would have to do repels Brigham. , and He tries to escape it.comma but Charles converts him to a shroud eater against his will.

At first, Brigham has trouble adjusting to the horrible and bloody existence of a shroud eater. Killing and devouring people makes him sick.that's a new and different slant. But he adjusts. He will, after all, live forever. He slips into a world of murder and near madness.

Finding clues as to where his wife might be (the police fail in this respect), Brigham and his friends search for her. When they find Charles’ wife, lying in a tomb, she attacks Brigham, and they are forced to kill her. For this reason, and others, Charles decides to destroy Brigham. Wait, why does she attack him and why kill her? A vampire can't control her?

When his wife is finally rescued by the police,you said Brigham killed her in the last para she refuses live with him as a shroud eater. He knows a way to reverse it, but is not sure he wants to. Evil as it iscomma he has eternal life. But when he kills the mother of a young girl, he is overcome by remorse, and decides to return to normal. [In the middle of being restored to human],a bit awkward Charles appears and attempts to kidnaps Brigham and his friend. What condition are they in that this can happen?

After a struggle at the top of a towering crane, Charles falls to his death, impaled and cut in two by the cross atop a bell tower. Nice. Brigham, who’s been shot, stabbed, nail-gunned, and has a broken leg,all of that was done by Charles? Didn't think bullets or knives could hurt a vamp. has twenty minutes to finish the conversion, or he will die. With the help of his gondolier friend, he is able to complete the transformation, and save his life. He doesn't die from all the wounds.Cured of his ghoulish ways, he and his wife reconcile, and he gains success with an art exhibition in Rome.


Nice story. Love this kind of stuff. A few concerns. One thing, on a synopsis, you should introduce each character's name all in caps. After that, regular. It's sure a lot harder getting help on the synopsis than the query. I would love your input on mine, Spectre Seekers. I have Gerald's Nightmare too, but one it totally fair. Good luck.

Thanks,

Diana




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