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Author Topic: Seeking Mythras - YA Fantasy  (Read 2114 times)
HWainer
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« on: January 01, 2018, 01:09:41 PM »

Thanks for any help folks can give me to make my synopsis sparkle - Heidi


TAVA is a foundling raised at Atornum, an order of women with magical aptitude, the only home she has ever known, but because she perceives magic different from her peers and teachers, she feels disabled and alone.

Eighteen years after the end of the Great War against the sorcerers from the adjacent kingdom, Tor Salone, the sorcerers attack again. Atornum castle collapses. Despite losing control of her magic, Tava rescues two survivors. JAEKA is a snooty, apprentice healer from a noble family, and RANI, is the brilliant apprentice librarian on the autism spectrum. As they escape, an elderly woman gives them a book, containing poetic clues to finding a legendary staff said to vanquish evil from the land. Broken apart centuries before, pieces of the Stave of Mythras were hidden throughout the realm. Tava, Rani and Jaeka team up with JERROL, a snarky young forester to find and reassemble the stave and take it to the queen.

Poetry and prophecy lead them to a piece of the stave hidden in a sea cave near the small village of Caro. When Tava learns that “war babies” with coloring similar to Tava’s fill the countryside, she concludes her mother abandoned her because Tava’s father was Tor Salone. After Tava’s use of magic to save a child exposes them as Atornum witches, sorcerers open a sunrise portal and attack. The girls combine their magic to find the cave moments before spells destroy the entrance. Trapped inside, they collect the first piece of the stave, but Tava overextends her magic and hallucinates an angel. When she awakens, Jerrol is carrying her through underground tunnels. His closeness sparks romantic feelings Tava did not know she had.

Three fishermen capture them after they emerge in the forest. Tava and her friends work together to escape and steal a boat. She discovers that while her magic is different, her skills are valuable. Even her hallucination helps Rani locate of the next piece of the stave amongst ancient ruins in the north. As they travel, Tava struggles to control her power and to understand her growing feelings for Jerrol.
 
At the ruins, stone statues come alive and swarm. A traditional school prayer quiets the horde and they find the second piece of the stave. When a Tor Salone portal opens with the sun, Tava and her friends hide under the ruins. They trigger a portal of their own, which takes them to an underground labyrinth.
In the tunnels giant rodents that smell magic attack the group. Rani realizes they are close to the third piece of the stave. Trail markers only Tava can see lead them to a cavern of living stone. The flowing rock moves aside for Tava and grabs hold of anyone else daring to touch the third piece of the stave, amplifying her self-worth. To escape the mountain, Tava spars with an apparition resembling her angel. Tava bargains for their escape along with information about the fourth and final piece of the stave. When Tava acts on her growing feelings for Jerrol however, she discovers the magical consequences of a physical relationship, forcing her to stifle her feelings so she doesn’t hurt him.

The caretaker of the royal hunting lodge helps them sneak into the city. At the royal temple a mural shows that the stave will kill the Tor Salone and a window depicts the goddess holding a flame, the last piece of the stave. The image once again resembles Tava’s angel. 

Sorcerers immobilize them in magic. At the palace the Tor Salone’s leader, the Chevalier, tortures the Queen until she reveals that the name of their daughter - Tava. Tava is dumbstruck, understanding why her magic is different and why her mother hid her away. After the Chevalier kills the queen, his attempt at killing Tava, reveals her identity. She uses her hybrid magical abilities to dissolve the spell imprisoning her and escape with her friends.

Since only a direct royal decedent can wield the stave, Tava must work the spell. Tava believes her willingness to kill the sorcerers means she’s inherited their evil, therefore she will die along with them. She chooses to sacrifice herself to stop the Tor Salone’s atrocities.

Together Tava and her friends fight through guards and sorcerers to reach the tower. When they place the stave in its socket at sunrise, magic flares across the land, killing the sorcerers. Because Tava’s altruism and empathy have overcome the evil in her ancestry, she survives the spell. She is crowned Queen and kisses Jerrol without losing control of her magic.

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mafiaking1936
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2018, 01:45:59 PM »

Hi there. I'll give this one a shot. From what I see your big issue here is you've got a list of things that happen. This, then this, then this, etc. But you don't want a summary of the plot, you want a summary of the story, which are not the same things. You've crammed a massive list of things that happen in here but a lot of them are not relevant to the overall story. The story is who is the character? What does she want? What's stopping her and how does she overcome it? The synopsis should serve the story, using only as many plot points as necessary. She wants this, therefore she does that. But because of this, thus that and the final result is this.  What you have here is too long- you really want to keep it below 600 words, since agents have the attention spans of goldfish. But if you stick to the important aspects of the story I think you can do that without too much trouble. 

A few line-specific examples might help:

Thanks for any help folks can give me to make my synopsis sparkle - Heidi


TAVA is a foundling raised at Atornum, an order of women with magical aptitude, the only home she has ever known, but because she perceives magic different from her peers and teachers, she feels disabled and alone. Perceives how? This is a bit unclear. Also break up this long sentence.

Eighteen years after the end of the Great War against the sorcerers from the adjacent kingdom, Tor Salone, the sorcerers attack again. Atornum castle collapses. Despite losing control of her magic,Again, losing it how? You only make vague references to this, but THIS is actually a big part of your story! Tava rescues two survivors. JAEKA is a snooty, apprentice healer from a noble family, and RANI, is the brilliant apprentice librarian on the autism spectrum. As they escape, an elderly woman gives them a book, containing poetic clues to finding a legendary staff said to vanquish evil from the land. Any evil at all? That's handy, why didn't they go get it before?Broken apart centuries before, pieces of the Stave of Mythras were hidden throughout the realm. Tava, Rani and Jaeka team up with JERROL, a snarky young forester to find and reassemble the stave and take it to the queen.

Poetry and prophecy lead them to a piece of the stave hidden in a sea cave near the small village of Caro. In general, if a name shows up once in a synopsis or query and never again, best to just leave it out- less for the agent to remember When Tava learns that “war babies” with coloring similar to Tava’s fill the countryside, she concludes her mother abandoned her because Tava’s father was (from?) Tor Salone. After Tava’s use of magic to save a child exposes them as Atornum witches, sorcerers open a sunrise portal and attack. Say what? Either explain in more detail or leave it out. Is the method of attack important? It may be, so it deserves some explanation. In fantasy you want to be sure to give context for supernatural events so readers know what they're dealing with. The girls combine their magic to find the cave moments before spells destroy the entrance. Trapped inside, they collect the first piece of the stave, but Tava overextends her magic and hallucinates an angel. Ditto. What does this mean? When she awakens, Jerrol is carrying her through underground tunnels. His closeness sparks romantic feelings Tava did not know she had. How would she, if they were just sparked? Don't sacrifice clarity in order to use a catchy phrase. I also have trouble with doing this.

Three fishermen capture them after they emerge in the forest. Tava and her friends work together to escape and steal a boat. Perfect example of what I mean- this event is irrelevant and has no impact on the overall story. Leave it out of the synopsis.She discovers that while her magic is different, her skills are valuable. Even her hallucination helps Rani locate of the next piece of the stave amongst ancient ruins in the north. As they travel, Tava struggles to control her power and to understand her growing feelings for Jerrol.
 
At the ruins, stone statues come alive and swarm. A traditional school prayer quiets the horde and they find the second piece of the stave. Again, the wording is confusing without context. When a Tor Salone portal opens with the sun, Tava and her friends hide under the ruins. They trigger a portal of their own, which takes them to an underground labyrinth. Same here.

In the tunnels giant rodents that smell magic attack the group. Rani realizes they are close to the third piece of the stave. Trail markers only Tava can see lead them to a cavern of living stone. The flowing rock moves aside for Tava and grabs hold of anyone else daring to touch the third piece of the stave, amplifying her self-worth.Bad wording, leave that out. To escape the mountain, Tava spars with an apparition resembling her angel. Tava bargains for their escape along with information about the fourth and final piece of the stave. When Tava acts on her growing feelings for Jerrol however, she discovers the magical consequences of a physical relationship, forcing her to stifle her feelings so she doesn’t hurt him.What are the consequences? This IS part of your story.

The caretaker of the royal hunting lodge helps them sneak into the city. At the royal temple a mural shows that the stave will kill the Tor Salone and a window depicts the goddess holding a flame, the last piece of the stave. The image once again resembles Tava’s angel. 

Sorcerers immobilize them in magic. At the palace the Tor Salone’s leader, the Chevalier, tortures the Queen until she reveals that the name of their daughter - Tava. Tava is dumbstruck, understanding why her magic is different and why her mother hid her away. After the Chevalier kills the queen, his attempt at killing Tava, reveals her identity. She uses her hybrid magical abilities to dissolve the spell imprisoning her and escape with her friends. Could she not do this before?

Since only a direct royal decedent can wield the stave, Tava must work the spell. Tava believes her willingness to kill the sorcerers means she’s inherited their evil, therefore she will die along with them. She chooses to sacrifice herself to stop the Tor Salone’s atrocities. Ah! THIS is good.

Together Tava and her friends fight through guards and sorcerers to reach the tower. When they place the stave in its socket at sunrise, magic flares across the land, killing the sorcerers. Because Tava’s altruism and empathy have overcome the evil in her ancestry, she survives the spell. She is crowned Queen and kisses Jerrol without losing control of her magic.

My own synopsis for my 114K-word MS is 539 words, and it really hurt to cut as much plot as I did. But it still sums up the story of the character (at least the character I based the query on, who is NOT the only main character, but that's how queries go it seems). I think you should try to rewrite with this goal in mind, focusing on the character's goals and motivations, her journey and how it concludes. If it helps any you've made a better start on a synopsis than I did!

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