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Author Topic: SOUND OF STONE, 137,000 fantasy  (Read 1229 times)
decision
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« on: March 03, 2018, 08:15:48 PM »

Thanks to everyone's help in query review, I'm that much closer to submitting  Smiley

First Movement: Ballad of the Shadows

Shay's skill in stonereading is requested by the region's most influential merchant, Avatlis. Shay is leary of the human-cephalopod, but feels an uncanny connection to his recent acquisition: a set of human infant's bones. Touching them, Shay glimpses the infant's last moments. But Shay's access is cut short when Avatlis trades away the sternum; the bones lose the heart of their story. Shay is furious.

There is news of a wanted Riennan escapee (Cio) in the Shadows. Avatlis finds the boy first. Shay is just in time to see them ambushed by Riennans, including of their leaders (Armis). Armis accuses Avatlis of being a human trafficker. Avatlis accuses Armis of being an accomplice to hundreds of murders. Shay helps fight off the Riennans and rejoins Avatlis. Unfortunately, they must trade the remaining bones to a troupe of wilders to remedy a poison afflicting Cio. At a chokepoint going north the party is in danger again as stories of the escapee and bones precede them. Gulem, a friend of Avatlis, binds Shay a staff to house her rasa, a variety of communication stone. Avatlis lures pursuers away to allow Shay, Cio, and the wilders to escape.

Second Movement: Known Reverberations

En route, Cio wakes up. Shay is disappointed at Cio's limited knowledge of Rienna. Cio reveals he was captured away by a member (Cadin) of a resistance movement called Haven. Before being traded to Avatlis, he witnessed the Dytan killing of a wilder (Ga'lar), the same wilder Avatlis traded the heart bone to and who used to lead this very troupe.

At the edge of the Desolates, they meet Cadin. He claims he traded the bone, promising to find and return it to the wilders.

Third Movement: Dance of the Desolates

Shay and Cio reluctantly join Haven. Shay reads rumor stones collected by Cadin in Crossrivers and he shares sketches of the self-organizing city on the shores of the Desolate's growing lava lake. But Cadin remains evasive about the heart bone, and Shay begins to suffocate under Haven's restrictions; the lack of freedom reminds her of childhood with her overprotective and secretive mother.

Shay reconnects with Avatlis and agrees to help him use foundation stones to create new stories to sell. He has heard rumors of the bones.

Fourth Movement: Quartet of Crossrivers

After a tremor brings a barrage of stones on Crossrivers and triggers factional conflict, Ryden (Haven's leader) denies Shay's offer to gather information. Shay sneaks to Crossrivers anyway. Shay's rasa staff shares vibrations nearby, but it isn't strong enough to protect her from a mercenary attack. Haven member Amada rescues Shay and tells her the secret to her rasa relationship is not to try so hard.

Despite her disobedience, Haven's leader Ryden consoles Shay with song and words. His former role as stonereader for Rienna in pursuit of the Source almost made him go mad and turned him against the city, but he sees potential in Shay. Shay wonders if her fate would have been his if her mother hadn't run from Rienna. Having given little thought to who her father is, but notes Ryden's fatherly balance of encouragement and discipline.

While waiting for a mission promised by Ryden, Shay secretly visits a Crossrivers' storytelling den. Gulem sees her and informs her of lurking danger. Shay agrees to leave, but not before expressing distaste at Gulem's sale of the half-ruby she entrusted to him when he bound her rasa staff.

Ryden challenges Shay's allegiance to Haven with a Riennan assassination mission. Shay fails and must hide with Amada in the wilder Ice Slope, an expansive structure of unmeltable ice and flora weaving between striates of the cavern's stone. A wilder shares a song sent along the ice for their ears only. (Unbeknownst to Shay, the wilders decided to perform the music in the bones sans sternum and send the song.)

Shay falls into a light sleep as she experiences the story of the infant's death in more but not decisive detail. There are tentacles and a baby falling into utter dark. Shay believes Avatlis killed the baby and is shocked by the apparent revelation.

Another tremor acutely strikes the Riennan district of Crossrivers. Shay overrules Amada to help the victims. Gulem is there too. He returns Shay's half-ruby and offers her three stones he found in the wreckage of a felled spire.

Fifth Movement: Vortexual Verses

Amada and Shay confront Avatlis, but he refuses to admit to murder. Amada holds Shay back from attacking him. Exasperated that Shay will not listen, Avatlis gives Shay a story stone. She takes it but refuses to read it.

But she does read the stones shared by Gulem, in which she learns about a place outside the Known Caverns: the roof of the world is blue and gray and bright. This is the Above. A tragedy leads a man into these caverns. Shay doesn't know it yet, but these are Armis's memories locked away from himself while he seeks redemption.

Shay confronts Cadin, but Cadin reveals he recently traded the bone for a route to the Above.

Near despair at her failure, Shay decides to help Cio return to Rienna, but Cio won't let her go with him. Cio encourages her to see about the bones, even if it means risking her life.

In the Bazaar, Armis claims to be Shay's father. He has the bones. Inexplicably, he also has her mother's half-ruby and needs Shay's to reanimate the bones of her dead sister. She goes with him.

At the lava lake's center, Avatlis intervenes and demands an explanation. Shay finally reads the stone Avatlis gave her. Shay is shaken; Armis murdered the wilders to get the bones.

Armis thrusts the gems and bones into the vortex of and a fire elemental awakens. Shay drops her blind hope of bringing her sister back to life and fights the corrupted creature. She also sacrifices something she cares deeply about: the truth about who killed her sister, and why, and who her father is, all to defend these Known Caverns from the chaotic Source entity breaking out of its dungeon.
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Custodian
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2018, 10:04:58 AM »

From what I can tell most agents are looking for a 1-2 page synopsis, so with that in mind yours is a little on the long side.  It's good to have a few synopsis of different lengths, but I still think you should cut this down a bit.

It is standard to write character names in all caps on first appearance, and try to keep proper names to a minimum (five seems to be a good number to aim for). If you can get away with using a title for someone rather than their name, you should go with that. I also recently learned that place names should also be kept to minimum, so keep that in mind as you revise because you use quite a few names and it gets confusing.
 
First Movement: Ballad of the Shadows

Shay's skill in stonereading is requested by the region's most influential merchant, Avatlis. Shay is leary of the human-cephalopod, but feels an uncanny connection to his recent acquisition: a set of human infant's bones. Touching them, Shay glimpses the infant's last moments. But Shay's access is cut short when Avatlis trades away the sternum; the bones lose the heart of their story. Shay is furious.
I think you can really trim down the details. For example: SHAY, a stonereader, is hired by an influential merchant to read the bones of a human infant. Touching the bones, Shay glimpses the infant's last moments. When the merchant trades the sternum, Shay is furious because she can't read the bones without it. This sort of structure still gives all the important information without bogging us down in details. Also because it is so much shorter you now have more space to expand on the important info. This paragraph raised some questions for me. Like: why does the merchant want the bones read? If he wants the bones read, why does he trade away the sternum before Shay is finished her reading? Why does Shay care so much that she didn't get to finish?

There is news of a wanted RiennanI don't understand what this is. A country? A city? An organization? This is a good example of why titles are better than names when trying to boil down a novel into 600 words escapee (Cio) in the Shadows I'm not sure how this connects to the last paragraph. Avatlis finds the boy first Before who? And why does it matter? Why does he want the boy? I think this is someone who doesn't need to be named, just call Avatlis 'the merchant'. Shay is just in time to see them ambushed by Riennans, including of their leaders (Armis). Armis accuses Avatlis of being a human trafficker. Avatlis accuses Armis of being an accomplice to hundreds of murders. Shay helps fight off the Riennans and rejoins Avatlis. Unfortunately, they must trade the remaining bones to a troupe of wilders to remedy a poison afflicting Cio. At a chokepoint going north the party is in danger again as stories of the escapee and bones precede them. Gulem, a friend of Avatlis, binds Shay a staff to house her rasa, a variety of communication stone. Avatlis lures pursuers away to allow Shay, Cio, and the wilders to escape. I really got lost in all the names in this paragraph, and found it unclear what actually happens. I've tried to pull the meat out of it but I'm not sure if I've managed it.
Trying to find the sternum, Shay follows the merchant and discovers him helping a wanted man, CIO. Shay sees the merchant and Cio ambushed by Riennans (whatever they are needs to be explained) and helps to fight them off. Cio has been poisoned. The merchant trades the remaining infant bones in exchange for the remedy, and then lures away their pursuers so that Shay and Cio can flee.


Hopefully this is enough to help direct your revisions. I totally understand the frustrations of trying to condense a large fantasy novel into such a restricted format, but you're off to a good start. Try and look at your synopsis as if you have no knowledge of the world your story is set in, because the agents you submit to don't have any and it has to both make sense to them and compel them to want to read the pages. So keep in mind words like "Riennan" that don't have meaning without context. If it's crucial you use the word then make sure you provide the context, otherwise replace the word with something simpler.
Also read other people's synopses, and the comments they've received, to see what works and what doesn't.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 10:07:44 AM by Custodian » Logged
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