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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015

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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Okay F-List: I need your help!

Especially, but not exclusively a_belletrist, adelynne, anissaannalise, cloister27, cloverdew, dr_pretentious, dragonlaire, floralfallal21, kikiduck, littledupont, tharyn, tyrybaby, and xjenavivex.

I have to submit the synopsis and sample chapters for Security & Exchange before I leave for London on Friday. I really need your comments on the synopsis. Help me make this a killer that the critics have to notice. I've posted both a web-page and a word file (old version) for you to read. If you want to mark it up and send it back to me, use the word file. If you want to read on-line and comment back here, use the htm file. Here are the addresses:

Security & Exchange Synopsis webpage.

Security & Exchange Synopsis Word file.

You've all commented through the whole development cycle, NaNoWriMo, and reading since. I'm really depending on you to comment now. Writing a synopsis is hell. And yes, it does have spoilers because according to the rules of synopsis writing, you have to include the ending. I've cut every possible subplot and twist in the story and have tried to paint a fast-paced adrenalin-rush in the requested 5 pages. Let me know if I've succeeded, and if not, where you think I could improve.

I've re-written and tightened the first three chapters of the story which will be submitted as well, but if you'd like to read them at Security & Exchange you'll get the essence of what goes with the synopsis in the submission.

Oh yes! This is a submission to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Competition. Submissions are due by the 20th, but I'm leaving town the 16th. Last year I sent my submission from Barcelona, but this year I'd like to get it off before I leave.

Thanks a lot! You are the best friends list I've ever had. I promise I'll return the favor!

Comments

Overall that matches what I remember reading in November.

When you mention BKL, though, you borderline state that it's BKL because of those three people's initials, which I seem to remember turns out not to be true. So I was expecting, later in the synopsis, a revelation that BKL was really Brenda's monogram. The synopsis doesn't really touch on the degree to which Brenda was pulling all the strings, so you might want to add that in, and change the first BKL reference so that it doesn't sound quite like a statement of fact. Something more like "...digging into Simon’s business, BKL Inc., and his business partners Brenda Barnett, Bradley Keane, & BillyRay Lamb." (sorry I can't remember Lamb's real name off the top of my head). That way you imply what "BKL" means while still leaving the reveal for later without making the reader feel like you've lied to them.

Near the end, you have this part: "Dag disconnects himself from the monitors in the hospital and leaves, catching a cab back home." In the book, that sequence was very harrowing and poignant, and I think the synopsis would be well served by a suggestion of how difficult that was for Dag. More broadly, I think the end could stand to spell out that Dag knows full well he's signing his own death warrant when he decides to leave the hospital and make clearer that Dag in fact dies.
I don't know if I can make BKL more clear without getting muddier. I cut so many things in order to make the 5-page limit. (It's Barnett (Simon), Keane (Bradley), and Lamb (Brenda, maiden name). Also happens to be Brenda K. Lamb. The ending scene, however, I should really do something about. I need to make sure some of your points are covered. I'll probably have to cut something someplace else.
Thnx.
I read somewhere that you can allow one synopsis page for every 25 you've written. Yikes. That doesn't seem like a lot.
It's the very least I could do for you giving Maizie a starring role in the story! I'll get right on it :)

PS: I'm excited, I get to be an editor again. :)
PSS: When do you need the comments by? (I know you want to submit before Friday so you need some time to make changes, if needed) I need to set a deadline!

(Anonymous)

I'll be doing edits on Wednesday evening and printing the finals Thursday to take to the P.O. Thanks. I'm looking forward to your comments!
Yeah, that was me.
I'm sending it to your email right now! I wrote a lot of stuff :)
I've never read (or written!) a synopsis before ... so input will be minimal, I'm afraid.

The beginning seemed a little choppy ... and that may very well be the nature of the beast. However, about 1/4th of the way through, the words started flowing as you got into the meat of the story. That excitement, that energy pulled me in, even though I've read! The last half, especially, made me want to read it again.

And that's the point, isn't it?

Bravo to you for doing this! Best wishes for both the process and the adjudication!

It's difficult to comment about your synopsis since the submission rules haven't been explicitly stated. A five page limit? That sounds like a very extensive plot summary. Most agents and publishers advise new authors to limit outlines of their stories to a page and a half of text, certainly a thousand words or less.

My initial reaction, however, is that you've included too many specific details; it's the old maxim of missing the forest for the trees. I would build a synopsis synthetically. Begin with a skeleton of the basic plot and then add details to flesh out the structure. Providing too many unfamiliar characters and particular details tends to obscure the main thread of the story. Your synopsis begins effectively and creates interest, but about half way in, I found it increasing difficult to follow the plot because of the profusion of details.

That's just a quick and dirty reaction. Had the two of us more time, I would try to be more constructive. Good luck for now.