Monday, June 28, 2010

Synopsis review from Leatrice McKinney on YALITCHAT

Here is the critique I got on my synopsis from Leatrice McKinney on YALITCHAT. Very helpful. I will be posting my revised version soon.

Hi! Good morning. It's rather early for me and already I'm throwing typos all over the place, so please bear with me in my earthly endeavors.

After reading this over once just to get a feel of it, the first thing that leaps out at me is the transition from past to present, or rather Pharll to Earth, are a bit jarring. It doesn't mesh, even at the end when Brue and company, and bad guys, come to to Earth through the portal. It reads like two completely different stories that have no connection, and though that's essentially what they are until the end you have to find some sort of flow that will bind the synopsis together.

Example: Paragraph 2 going into paragraph 3, there could be some sort of set up to cushion the drop from this fantastical realm into 90's American. Try and incorporate it into the hooks, something along the lines of "Brue isn't the only one faced with troubles". Something more grabbing than that, but that's the idea. "Back on Pharll" is okay. "Switching back to Earth" give it a sort of mechanical feel. Maybe something like "while Brue and his friends manage to escape the evil goddess, on the Earthen realm Mark his friend". Show a bit of a connection between these words as we get closer to the point where they collide.

One other thing that jumped off the page was this sort of rigid take on the story, via the words chosen to express the critical points of the characters' journeys. For instance, in paragraph one we are given the tried and true teenage complication of getting the girl. Brue's goal is made all the more harder to attain by the part that he's a giant. The word challenge just doesn't seem to do the situation justice. It's too sterile. You challenge your friends to a game of mortal kombat, for Brue this is rocking his young world in all the wrong ways. It's more than a challenge, it's a disaster and whoever is reading this should get a taste of how he views it. Another example is the phrase fast-forward three years. It reads very technical. Not technology technical, but step-by-step. Like a recipe. Add 2 cups Ogre and 3 cups slaver, bake on high for 30 minutes. Sorry for the poor attempt at humor, just in a good mood today. The synopsis, as a summary of the story that dives into this wonderful world, should guide a reader through it as opposed to give directions. Maybe that's my personal edge on things shining through, I'm not sure, just giving it as how it comes across to me which is all I can do really.

Next is paragraph by paragraph. Paragraph 1: We go from reading about complications right into this issue with the slaver that has arrived in town. It's really abrupt and there's no explanation of how one situation effects the other, and with the word unfortunately beginning the transition, it hints something is troubling the waters, only here the waters are somewhere else. Maybe try "Unfortunately for Brue, Shaleana fearing him is the least of his worries". Kinda cliche but its just to make a point.

Paragraph 2: Who are these companions? Do they have names? How did they join Brue? Are they Ogres too or Elves or dwarves? Are these the same slavers from his town/village/place of residence or is this a reference to all slavers in general. Are the slavers the biggest complication on this world or are they a stepping stone in Brue's destiny as a sentinel. We get a lot of nice bits about the story but they could be a little juicer, breathe some life into it. It sounds like it is a phenomenal tale, let the synopsis reflect that.

Paragraph 3: Already addressed the transitions. This might be tapping into the manuscript and not the synopsis but being someone's next-door neighbor comes across as awkward when described as a personal connection. Are Mark and the doctor friends? If so, say they are friends and not neighbors. If they are just neighbors, and Mark is the last person to have any sort of lengthy contact with the man, then something else other than "personal" should be used to describe it. Personal gives a feeling of intimacy.

Paragraph 4: This tidbit of information about what Brue is up to is important but I think it's oddly placed. Looking over things again, I think the flow would be strengthened if the information in paragraph 4 was included in the final paragraph. The break in what is going on with Mark and the General is unnecessary unless something huge is going on. So, continued talking about mark, then come back to how Brue breaks into to the lair, big fight, they have to book and then they spot the light. That way, the tension with the face off with the Adversary isn't broken by a "meanwhile on planet earth" moment.

Paragraph 5: All's well for the most part. The only thing that nudges at me is the embezzling of billions of dollars. That just seems a bit outrageous, like no one is going to notice that much money just up and disappearing. They catch people who do much less. It just seems too fantastical and comes across as a "really? come on" moment instead of the punch I'm sure was the goal.

Paragraph 6: The light at the end of the tunnel is a huge cliche. Beware cliches. A dead end doesn't have to be in a tunnel. It could be at the edge of a cliff or getting trapped in a canyon. Also, this is the first time we've heard anything about any dark wizards and monsters. Try and introduce them somewhere else early on cause it seems like, if all of that AND a goddess was in the castle, then the guardian and his key to destroying the slavers didn't do much but land them in trouble.

All in all it's a bit stale, please don't hate me, and lacking any sense of feeling from the character. I don't feel Brue's frustration in dealing with Shaleana, nor his fear for his parents. I don't feel his drive for wanting to stop the slavers. I don't feel the peril when he goes into the castle and has to leap through this strange glowing door or face certain doom. And with Mark, I don't feel the mystery behind what he's been called to be a part of. All of the pieces of the story are here, they just have to be woven together and given a good helping of soul.

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