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Author Topic: BLACKBERRY JAM: YA Contemporary Synopsis -- update in #11  (Read 1041 times)
slightlysmall
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« on: October 02, 2017, 01:28:34 PM »

I hate synopses... especially for quiet plots with interwoven subplots, many of which I have to leave out... Anyway, this is about 800 words. Any comments welcome.

***

Seventeen-year-old BLANCA’s summer plans of pruning blackberry bushes for her family and writing songs for DANIEL’s band while downplaying his crush on her disappear when her second-best friend, EMMA, finds out she’s pregnant, and her childhood best friend and lifetime crush, LUCAS, reveals he’ll be moving back to their small Oregon town.

Blanca dreams of Lucas’s arrival and a romance she believes is inevitable. When he arrives and takes her to the tree house where they spent all their time as kids, Blanca couldn’t be happier. But Lucas cuts their conversation short, then doesn’t send so much as a follow-up text. Blanca continues to pursue his company, eventually getting him to join Emma, Daniel, and a few other friends at their favorite diner. On the way, Lucas indulges her flirtation, but he intentionally ignores her in front of her friends.

Crushed, she leaves in the middle of the meal. Daniel follows her and asks her to join him for a date. In her anger at Lucas, Blanca’s latent feelings for Daniel surface and she says yes. A few weeks later, Blanca has fallen for Daniel, and their date at the county fair is the proof. Everything about their evening is perfect, until the Ferris wheel reaches its apex and Daniel doesn’t kiss her.

After Daniel drops her off, Lucas asks if he can come over. When she tells him about her perfect date and its nonexistent kiss, Lucas says he will show her how to kiss, to prepare her for the next time she sees Daniel. But what was supposed to be a single educational kiss turns into a night of blissful making out.

Wracked with guilt, Blanca reluctantly breaks up with Daniel. When she sees Lucas again, though, he isn’t interested in picking up where they left off. Instead, he has a confession: he has a girlfriend in L.A. he refuses to break up with. But doesn’t think he can be around Blanca without kissing her. Blanca knows she ruined her chance with Daniel, and she’s still convinced Lucas is her soul mate. Unhappy, but sure it’s her only choice, she kisses Lucas again, adding benefits to their friendship and agreeing to keep it a secret.

Lucas’s allure and the requisite secrecy of their arrangement make Blanca neglect her responsibilities. As she tightens her grip on a relationship that is far from the ideal she imagined, everything else is crumbling. Emma's jerk of a boyfriend has been cheating, the blackberry bushes her family relies on for their jam business are failing in a summer drought, and she hasn’t been to a band meeting to help arrange her songs since she and Daniel broke up.

When Lucas takes her on a surprise all-day date, Blanca is sure he’ll ask her out, making their relationship official and assuaging her mounting guilt. He doesn’t. Instead, they fight about the girlfriend he won’t leave. He ends their argument with the promise they’ll have his house to themselves when they return, implying exactly how they can make up.

However, they walk in on his dad with another woman. Blanca is aghast, but Lucas defends his dad’s decision to cheat. As Blanca sees what she’s been doing through the eyes of Lucas’s mother, she can’t forgive herself. Even worse, Blanca’s phone died on their date and she missed taking Emma to an important pre-natal appointment.

Devastated by her new understanding about what she’s been doing, Blanca tells Lucas not to talk to her. Her family has fallen apart, and so have her friendships with Emma and Daniel. She approaches both of them with the truth of her summer, but it only pushes them farther away.

With Lucas in her past, Blanca can see her feelings for Daniel are genuine. She begins writing a song for him. Working on it in her tree house one day, Blanca watches the compost pile by the blackberry bushes catch fire. Soon the fire spreads to the dying bushes and heads her way. She escapes. As the fire blazes, Lucas finds Blanca. He tells her he’s broken up with his girlfriend because he is in love with Blanca. While he’s speaking, the wildfire reaches the tree house, which collapses. She turns Lucas down. Daniel’s band is playing a show that afternoon, which Blanca attends so she doesn’t have to watch firefighters work to save what she knows should be destroyed. After the concert, she gives Daniel her song as an apology and a confession. He accepts her apology and they give their relationship another try.

Months later, Emma gives birth. Blanca’s family has settled into a new house with a better crop of blackberries than they’ve had in years. Daniel’s band receives a recording contract and Blanca gets a songwriting internship at the same label. They plan to move to Nashville together.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 02:36:23 PM by slightlysmall » Logged

Munley
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2017, 06:45:49 AM »

I think that the opening paragraph crams in too much diverse information for a reader to take in all at once.



Seventeen-year-old BLANCA’s summer plans of pruning blackberry bushes for her family and writing songs for DANIEL’s band while downplaying his crush on her disappear when her second-best friend, EMMA, finds out she’s pregnant, and her childhood best friend and lifetime crush, LUCAS, reveals he’ll be moving back to their small Oregon town.


But I have a question:

Are the songs she writes for Danny's band love songs about Lucas, the boy she has never stopped pining for?
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2017, 10:14:52 AM »

I think that the opening paragraph crams in too much diverse information for a reader to take in all at once.



Seventeen-year-old BLANCA’s summer plans of pruning blackberry bushes for her family and writing songs for DANIEL’s band while downplaying his crush on her disappear when her second-best friend, EMMA, finds out she’s pregnant, and her childhood best friend and lifetime crush, LUCAS, reveals he’ll be moving back to their small Oregon town.


But I have a question:

Are the songs she writes for Danny's band love songs about Lucas, the boy she has never stopped pining for?

I agree. That first paragraph is the one I'm most uncomfortable with, and I'm struggling with how to fix it.

And yes! Blanca struggles with handing over her songs because they're all about Lucas. I mention this in the query, but left it out of this already-too-long synopsis.

Any suggestions on simplifying the first paragraph and/or mentioning the conflict about Blanca's songs is appreciated.
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2017, 10:39:18 AM »

I don't have a wording suggestion right off, except, possibly leaving the pregnant friend out of the first paragraph. That problem can up the ante once you establish the initial conflict about the two guys, even if, in the novel itself, we learn about the pregnant friend first.

It would be interesting to discover right away Danny's attraction to Blanca while the love songs she writes for him to sing are about a different guy she can't forget. Plus, Lucas, the focus of her love songs, who she's been hoping to see again, is about to show up. This would create more immediate suspense in the narrative, I think.

I'd also leave out the second-best stuff, at least for now. It raises a question that's not crucial enough to consider in the plot summary, and it draws too much attention to itself at the expense of what's important to focus on, in my opinion.

I'm going to bump up a thread in the synopsis section with synopsis examples I found helpful in trimming my own summary a bit. Maybe you'll find something in those examples.
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2017, 10:48:45 AM »

Thanks, Munley!
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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2017, 02:54:42 PM »

Here, I cut Emma out of this one entirely... It's down to 656 words. I still haven't mentioned that the songs are about Lucas, but I feel it's a subplot that can be cut... even though this synopsis takes my story and makes it seem like a simple love story. Gah, these are hard.

***

Seventeen-year-old BLANCA’s summer plans of pruning blackberry bushes for her family and writing songs for DANIEL’s band while downplaying his crush on her disappear when her childhood best friend and lifetime crush, LUCAS, reveals he’ll be moving back to their small Oregon town.

Blanca is sure their romance is inevitable. Lucas arrives and takes her to the tree house where they once spent all their time, but he cuts their conversation short, then doesn’t send so much as a follow-up text. Blanca continues to pursue his company, eventually getting him to join Daniel and a few other friends at their favorite diner. On the way, Lucas indulges her flirtation, but he intentionally ignores her in front of her friends.

Crushed, she leaves in the middle of the meal. Daniel follows her and asks her to join him for a date. In her anger at Lucas, Blanca’s latent feelings for Daniel surface and she says yes. A few weeks later, Blanca has fallen for Daniel, and their date at the county fair is the proof. Everything about their evening is perfect, except Daniel doesn’t kiss her.

After Daniel drops her off, Lucas asks if he can come over. When she tells him about her perfect date and its nonexistent kiss, Lucas says he will show her how to kiss, to prepare her for the next time she sees Daniel. What was supposed to be a single educational kiss turns into a night of blissful making out. Wracked with guilt, Blanca reluctantly breaks up with Daniel. When she sees Lucas again, though, he has a confession: he has a girlfriend in L.A. he refuses to leave, but he doesn’t think he can be around Blanca without kissing her. Blanca knows she ruined her chance with Daniel, and she’s still convinced Lucas is her soul mate. Unhappy, but sure it’s her only choice, she kisses Lucas again, adding benefits to their friendship and agreeing to keep it a secret.

Lucas’s allure and the requisite secrecy of their arrangement make Blanca neglect her responsibilities. As she tightens her grip on a relationship that is far from the ideal she imagined, everything else is crumbling. The blackberry bushes her family relies on for their jam business are failing in a summer drought, and she hasn’t been to a band meeting to help arrange her songs since she and Daniel broke up.

When Lucas takes her on a surprise date, Blanca is sure he’ll make their relationship official and assuage her mounting guilt. He doesn’t. Instead, they fight about the girlfriend he won’t leave. He ends their argument with the promise they’ll have his house to themselves when they return, implying exactly how they can make up. However, they walk in on his dad with another woman. Blanca is aghast, but Lucas defends his dad’s decision to cheat. As Blanca sees what she’s been doing through the eyes of Lucas’s mother, she can’t forgive herself. Devastated by her new understanding about what she’s been doing, Blanca tells Lucas not to talk to her. Her family has fallen apart, and so have her friendships.

With Lucas in her past, Blanca can see her feelings for Daniel are genuine. She begins writing a song for him. Working on it in her tree house, Blanca notices a wildfire catch in her yard. The fire spreads to the dying bushes and heads her way. She escapes. As the fire blazes, Lucas finds Blanca. He tells her he’s broken up with his girlfriend because he is in love with Blanca. While he’s speaking, the wildfire reaches the tree house, which collapses. Blanca turns Lucas down. Daniel’s band is playing a show that afternoon, which Blanca attends so she doesn’t have to watch firefighters work to save what she knows should be destroyed. After the concert, she gives Daniel her song as an apology and a confession. He accepts her apology and they give their relationship another try.
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2017, 11:57:57 AM »

I think you need to make the opening more dynamic. Maybe:

When seventeen year old Blanca's childhood crush, LUCAS, returns to their small Oregon town, her plans for a sweet summer of song writing and working in the family black berry business goes awry.


Certain of a brewing romance, Blanca embraces LUCAS's company, but is crushed when he ignores her.  is sure their romance is inevitable. Lucas arrives and takes her to the tree house where they once spent all their time, but he cuts their conversation short, then doesn’t send so much as a follow-up text. Blanca continues to pursue him his company, eventually getting him to join her close friend, DANIEL  and a few other friends at their favorite diner. On the way, Lucas indulges her flirtation, but he intentionally ignores her in front of her friends.  Crushed, she leaves in the middle of the meal. Daniel follows her and asks her to join him for a date. To retaliate, Blanca’s accepts [s Daniel's invitation for a date surface and she says yes.

A few weeks later,
Blanca has fallen falls for Daniel, and their date at the county fair is the proof. Blanca and Daniel enjoy a date at the county fair, but she is confused when he doesn't kiss her. Everything about their evening is perfect, except Daniel doesn’t kiss her. Later, After Daniel drops her off, Lucas calls. asks to see her.  Now together, Blanca recounts When she tells him about her perfect date and its nonexistent kiss; Lucas says he will show her how to kiss, to prepare her for the next time she sees Daniel. What was supposed to be a single educational kiss turns into a night of blissful making out. Wracked with guilt, Blanca reluctantly breaks up with Daniel.  But Lucas confesses to having a girlfriend in L.A. When she sees Lucas again, though, he has a confession: he has a girlfriend in L.A. , but is drawn to Blanca. he refuses to leave, but he doesn’t think he can be around Blanca without kissing her. Convinced Blanca knows she ruined her chance with Daniel, and she’s still convinced Lucas is her soul mate. Unhappy, but sure it’s her only choice, she kisses Lucas again, adding benefits to their friendship and agreeing to keep it a secret.

Consumed with the allure and Lucas’s allure and the requisite secrecy of their arrangement relationship, make Blanca neglects her responsibilities to the black berry business her family relies upon. As she tightens her grip on a relationship that is far from the ideal she imagined, everything else is crumbling. The blackberry bushes her family relies on for their jam business To make matters worse, the bushes are failing in a summer drought, and she hasn’t been to a band meeting to help arrange her songs since she and Daniel broke up.

When Lucas takes her on a surprise date, Blanca is sure he’ll make their relationship official and assuage her mounting guilt. They argue about   about the girlfriend he won’t leave. The argument ends with a trip to Luca's house to "make up."  He ends their argument with the promise they’ll have his house to themselves when they return, implying exactly how they can make up. Instead, However, they walk in on his dad with another woman. Blanca is aghast, but Lucas defends his dad’s decision to cheat. As Blanca realizes the effect of cheating, sees what she’s been doing through the eyes of Lucas’s mother, she can’t forgive herself. Devastated by her insight into the nature of her relationship with Lucas, Blanca breaks up. new understanding about what she’s been doing, Blanca tells Lucas not to talk to her. Her family has fallen apart, and so have her friendships.

With Lucas in her past, Blanca discovers can see her feelings for Daniel. are genuine. To convey her regrets to Daniel, she works on a song in her tree house. She begins writing a song for him. Working on it in her tree house, While in the tree house, a wildfire breaks out, and Blanca notices a wildfire catch in her yard. The fire spreads to the dying bushes and heads her way and heading for her tree house.  She escapes.

Lucas races to find Blanca, and tells her .  As the fire blazes, Lucas finds Blanca and  tells her he’s broken up with his girlfriend because he is in love with Blanca. But the While he’s speaking, the wildfire reaches the tree house, which collapses.  Blanca refuses  turns Lucas down.

Devastated at the loss of the black berry bushes, Blanca goes to watch Daniel’s band.  is playing a show that afternoon, which Blanca attends so she doesn’t have to watch firefighters work to save what she knows should be destroyed. After the concert, she gives Daniel her song as an apology and a confession. He accepts her apology and they give their relationship another try.

My suggested edits aren't perfect - lunch hour coming to a close, but hope this helps!
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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2017, 01:26:00 AM »

I think Drose made excellent editing suggestions.

There is a general content matter that bothers me -- Blanca has no apparent identity apart from which boy she is attached to at any time, and even that seems to be more which boy picks her.

All we know about Blanca apart from the 2 guys is that she is supposed to be helping with her family's blackberry business, but neglects her job when things with the boys get too tangled. And she also neglects her songwriting duties to Daniel's band. We don't know whether she loves or hates these jobs, or whether she loves or looks forward to anything in life in general.

Nothing wrong with wanting a mate, for sure, but with or without a mate a person would have some individual qualities, talents, ambitions, likes, dislikes, flaws, hopes.

The boys seem to take all of the initiative (Lucas takes her here, Daniel takes her there, Lucas says he'll show her how to kiss. “When Lucas takes her on a surprise date, Blanca is sure he’ll make their relationship official and assuage her mounting guilt.” (Whether it becomes official is solely up to the boy.)
   Blanca seems incredibly passive, so it's hard to appreciate her guilty feelings for what she's been doing, when she seems to be simply buffeted about by whatever the guys do or don't do. She doesn’t come off (in the plot summary) as some sort of schemer who rightfully feels ashamed of her own machinations as reflected back to her by the cheating of Lucas’s dad.

It’s pretty disingenuous of Lucas to offer to kiss her so that she knows how to do it next time she's with Daniel. It's fine to have that in the story, but Blanca doesn't seem to have any insight or judgment of her own about him offering a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. The problem, as she had plainly explained it to Lucas, wasn’t her not knowing how to kiss, but of Daniel simply not doing it. Yet, with no apparent insight or objection to Lucas’s disingenuous offer, she just goes along with it.

The book itself may show Blanca more in the ways she is her own person, but the plot summary, as written, doesn’t. Who is she apart from her involvement with a guy? If she is the main character, someone you hope a reader will root for, I think she needs to come off as having something she herself really wants out of life. Or, maybe, at least realize, at some point, that a girl is entitled to set her sights on something personally meaningful. It can be a something she hopes to share with a partner some day, but the boys themselves seem to be Blanca’s only goals.

She does make her own decision at the very end in turning Lucas down, so it’s good to see her take initiative there based on her own insight that the “soulmate” she once pined for is not the right partner for her after all. If you could work in more of her personal identity, personality, and goals all along, I think that would improve the plot summary.
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2017, 06:38:49 AM »

I think Drose made excellent editing suggestions.

There is a general content matter that bothers me -- Blanca has no apparent identity apart from which boy she is attached to at any time, and even that seems to be more which boy picks her.

All we know about Blanca apart from the 2 guys is that she is supposed to be helping with her family's blackberry business, but neglects her job when things with the boys get too tangled. And she also neglects her songwriting duties to Daniel's band. We don't know whether she loves or hates these jobs, or whether she loves or looks forward to anything in life in general.

Nothing wrong with wanting a mate, for sure, but with or without a mate a person would have some individual qualities, talents, ambitions, likes, dislikes, flaws, hopes.

The boys seem to take all of the initiative (Lucas takes her here, Daniel takes her there, Lucas says he'll show her how to kiss. “When Lucas takes her on a surprise date, Blanca is sure he’ll make their relationship official and assuage her mounting guilt.” (Whether it becomes official is solely up to the boy.)
   Blanca seems incredibly passive, so it's hard to appreciate her guilty feelings for what she's been doing, when she seems to be simply buffeted about by whatever the guys do or don't do. She doesn’t come off (in the plot summary) as some sort of schemer who rightfully feels ashamed of her own machinations as reflected back to her by the cheating of Lucas’s dad.

It’s pretty disingenuous of Lucas to offer to kiss her so that she knows how to do it next time she's with Daniel. It's fine to have that in the story, but Blanca doesn't seem to have any insight or judgment of her own about him offering a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. The problem, as she had plainly explained it to Lucas, wasn’t her not knowing how to kiss, but of Daniel simply not doing it. Yet, with no apparent insight or objection to Lucas’s disingenuous offer, she just goes along with it.

The book itself may show Blanca more in the ways she is her own person, but the plot summary, as written, doesn’t. Who is she apart from her involvement with a guy? If she is the main character, someone you hope a reader will root for, I think she needs to come off as having something she herself really wants out of life. Or, maybe, at least realize, at some point, that a girl is entitled to set her sights on something personally meaningful. It can be a something she hopes to share with a partner some day, but the boys themselves seem to be Blanca’s only goals.

She does make her own decision at the very end in turning Lucas down, so it’s good to see her take initiative there based on her own insight that the “soulmate” she once pined for is not the right partner for her after all. If you could work in more of her personal identity, personality, and goals all along, I think that would improve the plot summary.


This is why I hate summarizing this book in 500 words... by necessity, I have to focus on one plotline, and by necessity, it has to be the one the makes it come off like the book is about a love triangle.

On a thematic level, the book is about how the stories we tell about our lives—the ones that we'd like to believe but aren't necessarily true—come back to haunt us, and potentially ruin us. Every character deals with the theme in some way, and I think it only really works when the four or five subplots fit together in the end.

That said, you make excellent points that will take some time to think over.

And drose, your line edits are great. I really appreciate them.
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« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2017, 07:10:34 AM »

I think Drose made excellent editing suggestions.


This is why I hate summarizing this book in 500 words... by necessity, I have to focus on one plotline, and by necessity, it has to be the one the makes it come off like the book is about a love triangle.

On a thematic level, the book is about how the stories we tell about our lives—the ones that we'd like to believe but aren't necessarily true—come back to haunt us, and potentially ruin us. Every character deals with the theme in some way, and I think it only really works when the four or five subplots fit together in the end.

That said, you make excellent points that will take some time to think over.

And drose, your line edits are great. I really appreciate them.

This is why I made a point of how the plot summary -- and not necessarily the novel itself -- read to me.
And, yes, I'm pretty much in the same boat with not having the space leeway to include many of the elements that would, I think, show my book in a more complete and better light. Alas. I'm allowing myself 800 words. Cheating, I know.

The theme in your book is profound and a good one to base a story on.

Sticking with my concerns about showing Blanca more fully as an individual person, I'm wondering whether, in addition to whatever guilt she feels for letting others down -- her family, for neglecting her part in the business, her pregnant friend (not mentioned in this plot revision), Daniel, for hooking up with Lucas -- does she have any sense of letting herself down in some way?

It seems to me that she lets herself down most of all, but takes no notice of that (in the plot summary). If all she does is give her relationship with Daniel a new chance after turning Lucas down, it reinforces, for me, that she has no sense of other things in life personally important besides being connected to a boy. Sure, it's fine to take up with Daniel again, but maybe also return to something personally and privately special she neglected.

Having the ending include that detail is one suggestion I have.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 07:16:06 AM by Munley » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2017, 12:23:43 PM »

Munley, your advice is, as always, spot on. Blanca follows a disillusionment arc—she starts the book out excited and sure that her worldview is accurate and realizes at the end she's been deceiving herself. Throughout the book, she discovers how those she is close to deceive themselves and ruin their lives because of it. I can definitely revise with your thoughts and Drose's line edits in mind.
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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2017, 02:31:45 PM »

Here's an iteration that injects a bit more theme and neglects the romance at the end.

***

When seventeen-year-old Blanca's childhood crush, LUCAS, returns to their small Oregon town, her plans for a sweet summer of songwriting with her friend DANIEL and working in the family blackberry business go awry.

Certain of a brewing romance, Blanca embraces LUCAS's company, and is shocked when he avoids her. Blanca shirks her duties to pursue him, eventually getting him to join Daniel and a few other friends at their favorite diner. Lucas indulges her flirtation when they’re alone, but intentionally ignores her in front of her friends. Crushed, Blanca accepts Daniel's invitation for a date, which they enjoy in the sun of a growing drought.

Despite having always wanted to write a fairy-tale romance with Lucas, Blanca falls for Daniel. They go on a nearly perfect date to the county fair, but she is disappointed when he doesn't kiss her. Later, Lucas texts and asks to come over because his parents have been fighting. Once together, Blanca recounts her perfect date and its nonexistent kiss. Lucas remembers Blanca’s idealistic focus on receiving her first kiss from when they were kids and offers to show her how, to prepare her for the next time she sees Daniel.

What was supposed to be a single educational kiss turns into a night of blissful making out. Wracked with guilt, Blanca reluctantly breaks up with Daniel. Lucas then confesses to having a girlfriend in L.A., but he is drawn to Blanca. Convinced Lucas is her soul mate, she kisses Lucas again despite his girlfriend. It’s the only way to get the fairy-tale ending she wants, and she knows middles are wracked with conflict.

Consumed with the allure and requisite secrecy of their relationship, Blanca neglects her responsibilities to the blackberry business her family relies upon. As she tightens her grip on a relationship that is far from the ideal she imagined, the bushes are failing in the summer drought, and she hasn’t been to a band meeting to help arrange her songs since she and Daniel broke up.

When Lucas takes her on a surprise date, Blanca is sure he’ll make their relationship official and assuage her mounting guilt. They argue about the girlfriend he won’t leave. The argument ends with a trip to Lucas's house to "make up." Instead, they walk in on his dad with another woman. Blanca is aghast, but Lucas defends his dad’s decision to cheat. As Blanca sees what she’s doing through the eyes of Lucas’s mother, whom she has always adored, she can’t forgive herself. Devastated by her insight into her own character, Blanca breaks up with Lucas.

Having removed her tunnel vision focused on a specific iteration of happily ever after, Blanca sees how many potentially happy futures she ruined. While she can’t resurrect the dying blackberry bushes, she hopes she can do better by the rest of what she pushed aside in her pursuit of Lucas. To convey her regrets to Daniel, she works on a song in her tree house. While there, a wildfire breaks out and spreads to the dying bushes. She escapes.

Lucas races to find Blanca, and tells her he’s broken up with his girlfriend because he is in love with Blanca. But while he’s speaking, the wildfire reaches the tree house, which collapses. Blanca refuses Lucas.

Daniel’s band is playing a show that afternoon, which Blanca attends so she doesn’t have to watch firefighters work to save what she knows should be destroyed. After the concert, she gives Daniel her song as an apology and a confession. Working together, they receive a record deal and prepare to move to Nashville as a musician and a songwriter.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 02:39:25 PM by slightlysmall » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2017, 10:28:04 AM »

Content-wise, this version does a lot more to illustrate the theme you intend. Some of the expressions are more suited to an analytical academic essay than a narrative, IMO, and there are a few places that could simply be trimmed. I don't think you should mention Blanca neglecting the family business until later, when she's actually more single-mindedly pursuing Lucas.

I like the new ending.

I found it too time-consuming to do strike-outs and replacements on a piece this long, so I just pasted an edited version in. You can compare them paragraph by paragraph if you want to note what I cut out. If you cut out my comments and the confusing sentence I suggested leaving out, my revision takes the plot summary down to 510 words from 605 and attempts to tighten some connections, as well – especially regarding Blanca’s devastated reaction to L’s dad cheating on L’s mother.

Of course, you should change any wording that you don’t feel fits. My revision is mostly to show places where I think things can be trimmed somehow.


====================================

When seventeen-year-old Blanca's childhood crush, LUCAS, returns to their small Oregon town, her plans for a sweet summer of songwriting with her friend DANIEL and working in the family blackberry business go awry.

Certain of the romance she was always sure would happen, she’s shocked when Lucas avoids her. Her undaunted pursuit seems to pay off when he joins her and the band for supper at a diner. But Lucas ignores her in front of her friends. Crushed, Blanca accepts Daniel's invitation for a date.

Blanca falls for Daniel. They go on a nearly perfect date to the county fair, but she’s disappointed when he doesn't kiss her. Later, Lucas, wanting to escape the house because his parents are fighting, texts and asks to come over. When he hears about Blanca’s perfect date with Daniel and its nonexistent kiss, he remembers kissing Blanca for the first time when they were kids, [a some noun] for both of them. He offers to show her how, so she’s prepared for Daniel next time.  [It still seems odd to me that she doesn’t notice anything odd about him “showing her how,” when how is not the problem. The problem is that Daniel didn’t do it.]

This “educational kiss” turns into a night of blissful making out. Wracked with guilt, Blanca reluctantly breaks up with Daniel, only to have Lucas confess to having a girlfriend in L.A., while insisting he is drawn to Blanca. Convinced Lucas is her soul mate and sure she can weather any conflicts on the way to the fairy-tale ending she wants, she kisses Lucas again.

She’s soon consumed with the allure of Lucas. Though their relationship is far from the ideal she imagined, she tightens her grip on him behind his girlfriend’s back, while skipping the band meetings where she’s supposed to help arrange her songs, and neglecting the blackberries shriveling in a drought. [I thought the summary needed more emphasis on going behind the girlfriend’s back in order to be convincing that Blanca’s downright devastated later when she sees how injurious it is for Lucas’s dad to be cheating on L’s mother.]

When Lucas takes her on a surprise date, [Very confusing. How can this be a surprise? She’s been “tightening her grip on a relationship” with him, which would be dating him, no?] Blanca is sure he’ll make their relationship official and assuage her mounting guilt. [I still don’t like the “he takes her” guy-in-charge wording , and female leaving it up the male to “make the relationship official.” Maybe reword it to the effect of him finally taking the relationship as seriously as she does. I suggest leaving the statement out altogether and just moving on to the sentence below.]
An argument about the girlfriend Lucas won’t leave ends with a trip to his house to "make up." When they walk in on his dad with another woman, Blanca is aghast. Lucas defends his dad’s cheating, but Blanca, seeing her own underhanded doings through the eyes of Lucas’s wounded mother, can’t forgive herself. She breaks up with Lucas.

Once free of her happily-ever-after notions, Blanca sees the damage in the wake of her single-minded pursuit of Lucas as she slipped from being a trustworthy person, neglecting her own gift for songwriting as well as obligations to people dear to her. She retreats to the tree house she had once hung out in with Lucas as a child and begins writing a song for Daniel. While she’s in there, a wildfire breaks out and spreads to the dying blackberry bushes. Lucas, racing toward her as she escapes from the tree house, tells her he loves her and has broken up with his girlfriend. Blanca turns him down. The tree house collapses in flames.

Daniel’s band is playing a show that afternoon, which Blanca attends so she doesn’t have to watch firefighters work to save what she knows should be destroyed. After the concert, she gives Daniel her song as an apology and a confession. Working together, they receive a record deal and prepare to move to Nashville as a musician and a songwriter.



« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 10:51:08 PM by Munley » Logged
drose
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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2017, 08:44:55 AM »

Daniel’s band is playing a show that afternoon, which Blanca attends so she doesn’t have to watch firefighters work to save what she knows should be destroyed.

Overall, I think your synopsis is much improved. Along with Munley, however, this point is a bit troubling to me. Character arc is essential to a strong plot; here Blanca appears to end up shirking the devastation that seems to be her fault.

I'm assuming the fire is the climax. If Blanca is a strong character (by the end at least) I feel you should show her taking responsibility at the very least, and probably should come up with a way to make things right (could she promise her contract would go to the family so they could begin again?).
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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2017, 04:49:38 PM »

Daniel’s band is playing a show that afternoon, which Blanca attends so she doesn’t have to watch firefighters work to save what she knows should be destroyed.

Overall, I think your synopsis is much improved. Along with Munley, however, this point is a bit troubling to me. Character arc is essential to a strong plot; here Blanca appears to end up shirking the devastation that seems to be her fault.

I'm assuming the fire is the climax. If Blanca is a strong character (by the end at least) I feel you should show her taking responsibility at the very least, and probably should come up with a way to make things right (could she promise her contract would go to the family so they could begin again?).

I'm thinking at this point my problem might be my title. And the subplots I'm leaving out. But anyway:

At the climax (which, yes, is the fire and Lucas's confession), the blackberries burn and so does her tree house. Blanca was clinging to her past via her tree house, and her mother was clinging to her past via the blackberries. Leaving to let them burn and seeing her future as songwriting is a huge character improvement for a girl who's spent her whole life focused on her future as represented in the now-burning tree house.

Like, really, if I could've told the story in less than 85,000 words, I would have... Smiley
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