Author Topic: Zodiac Turner: The Five Trials YA High Fantasy  (Read 960 times)

Offline serenawinter

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Zodiac Turner: The Five Trials YA High Fantasy
« on: February 24, 2019, 10:25:25 AM »
Hi there! I'd love some help with my synopsis and revising it. Thank you!

Akira Spring is a sixteen-year-old explorer and shapeshifter from the world of Gardian, living by the Scorpio Code. The code speaks of three rules only: never show emotions, never befriend other Signs, and never fall in love. She couldn’t fathom breaking it, in a society where Scorparians are the most-loathed tribe, and powerful magic is abundant in every person. Her elementist Ariesian sister, Avia, was the only exception she would make for the code.

That was, until she met the Chase, Hugo, and Bella, three siblings of all different Signs who coincidentally attended the same ceremony as Akira did. Her life begins to flip upside down as she finds herself accidentally befriending the eldest of the siblings, Chase, who is a diligent guildworker. To her dismay, Akira and her sister are forced to work with Hugo and Bella, the two younger siblings, after Chase decides to place them in a guild together.

A short few days following the guild’s building, disaster strikes. After almost accidentally killing an official during a land quarrel, she and her allies are pressured to leave their home to journey into an unexplored world.

All seems to go well - at first. Akira is visited by a mysterious man in her dreams, who proposes a series of five trials Akira and her allies must endure, without giving reasoning as to why they would happen. Avia is suspicious one of her old friends is pranking her, and the group shrugs it off.

As their journey continues, conflict arises. The team is faced with a pack of savage, wild dogs, which they manage to defeat with their magic. They move on, taking the course of a river to expedite their travel. On the way, they pick up a couple of peculiar cats that appear to be following the group for no reason. Shortly after, they are caught in a storm and thrown over the side of a waterfall.

After arriving at their destination, their friendships become strained as secrets are revealed regarding Chase’s magic being more powerful than he claims, and Avia not being entirely honest about the extent of hers.

Akira’s perspective on her magic shifts vastly when she wakes up one morning and unknowingly switches her sister’s sign. Her understanding of the world begins to change when she suspects she is a Zodiac Turner, an ancient magic banned long ago after it was deemed too powerful. She falls into despair at the discovery and refuses to tell anyone about it.

The five begin to hypothesize when the man infiltrates their dreams once again. While discussing the dream’s meaning, Chase’s sign is changed right before their eyes by a mysterious force, followed by the voice of the man stating it was the third trial. They quickly realize the first two trials were the pack of dogs and spontaneous storm. Akira is forced to switch Chase’s sign back, enduring his and Avia’s anger. The first rule of her code begins to fade away as she discovers more about the depth of her emotions.

The group of five is caught by officials who followed them out of Gardian. They are shot with enchanted arrows that put them to sleep, and brought back to Gardian, where the officials isolate them. However, the group refuses to be separated and manages to get back together. Shortly after, the fourth trial takes place, and Bella is tricked into attacking Akira.

During the recovery from the fourth trial, officials break into the group’s hiding place in Gardian. Haruki, the “cat” that followed them, turns out to be a human in disguise. He throws himself in front of a bullet to protect Avia. It is discovered he is immortal. Bella uses her magic to transport the six of them away.

The fifth trial follows a couple of days later, where Akira and her friends are trapped in a cloud of poisonous gas. They again manage to escape using magic, and celebrate after they believe the trials to be over.

The man from Akira’s dreams re-appears to introduce the real reason why the trials were undergone. He proposes an offer to Akira to improve Gardian’s government and their view on Scorpios. Haruki reveals the man, Blaine, was an immortal enemy of his for centuries. Akira learns that Blaine is her father, accounting for why she possesses a magic that was abolished centuries ago.

Believing Haruki’s advice, Akira rebels against Blaine. She and her friends face an army of spirits under Blaine’s command, eventually using their magic and persuasion to sway the spirits to cease fighting. Blaine is defeated by losing his own army, and Haruki removes Blaine’s immortality using an enchanted sword. The group is free, and Akira learns to not obey Blaine’s invented code.

Offline Notos

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Re: Zodiac Turner: The Five Trials YA High Fantasy
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2019, 03:19:45 PM »
Greetings serenawinter,

My initial thoughts regarding you synopsis is "less is sometimes more." From what I have read on the art of query letter writing, unless the Agent/publisher requests a full summary/synopsis you should just pique their interest, leave them asking for more.
 
What I liked about your synopsis is that right in the first sentence you tell me who your readers are, the genre, and the jist of the conflict. Where you lost me was on "A few short days..." Again less would have been more. e.g "Days after the guild's building, disaster strikes." Go on from there with succinct highlights, you do not need to detail every plot point unless it has been specifically requested.

"Murder your darlings" While I am not entirely convinced of the veracity of this piece of advice, it does deserve consideration. Along with other sage dictums i.e. “less telling, more showing,” I am still working on that one.
 “Who Really Said You Should “Kill Your Darlings”?”, “Slate”, “By FORREST WICKMAN”, “18 October 2013”. < https://slate.com/culture/2013/10/kill-your-darlings-writing-advice-what-writer-really-said-to-murder-your-babies.html >


I have a recommendation for you, well it is actually a blog site run by an real live Literary Agent, willing to offer critiques to worthy wordsmiths, providing they adhere to the rules. < https://queryshark.blogspot.com/ >

best of fortune to you young Word Warrior
be well
Notos

Offline serenawinter

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Re: Zodiac Turner: The Five Trials YA High Fantasy
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2019, 03:51:06 PM »
Notos,

Hi there. This is not my query letter; this is my long synopsis, which is supposed to be 1-2 pages long and summarize the book and various plot points. I only send this to agents that request both the full synopsis and the query letter. I believe there may be some confusion. If you'd like to view my short synopsis/query letter, it is here.

Thank you for the link. I am sorry if there are any misunderstandings.

Offline kaperton

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Re: Zodiac Turner: The Five Trials YA High Fantasy
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2019, 04:25:59 PM »
I think this is a really good synopsis! I found it much more interesting than most synopses I read, which seem to introduce way too many characters and give too many details. I just have a few suggestions and questions of clarification. Your story is well outside of my genre, so I hope I'm not being too dense in some of my questions.

Hi there! I'd love some help with my synopsis and revising it. Thank you!

Akira Spring is a sixteen-year-old explorer and shapeshifter from the world of Gardian, living by the Scorpio Code. The code speaks of three rules only: never show emotions, never befriend other Signs, and never fall in love. She couldn’t fathom breaking it, in a society where Scorparians are the most-loathed tribe, and powerful magic is abundant in every person. Her elementist Ariesian sister, Avia, was the only exception she would make for the code.

That was, until she met meets the Chase, Hugo, and Bella, three siblings of all, all of different Signs who coincidentally attended the same ceremony as Akira did. Her life begins to flip upside down as she finds herself accidentally befriending the eldest of the siblings, Chase, who is a diligent guildworker. To her dismay, Akira and her sister are forced to work with Hugo and Bella, the two younger siblings, after Chase decides to place them in a guild together.

A short few days following the guild’s building, disaster strikes. After almost nearly just an idea to cut down on the alliteration accidentally killing an official during a land quarrel, she Akira and her allies are pressured to leave their home to journey into an unexplored world. Does someone else pressure them to leave? I assumed this was the case, until you say later that they're tracked and caught by officials. I didn't realize they were on the run. Now I'm thinking maybe they felt an internal pressure. The wording "pressured to leave their home" sounds like maybe the powers that be decided it would be better for them to leave.

All seems to go well - at first. Akira is visited by a mysterious man in her dreams, who proposes a series of five trials Akira and her allies must endure, without giving reasoning as to why they would happen. Avia is suspicious one of her old friends is pranking her, and the group shrugs it off off the dream.

As their journey continues, conflict arises. The team is faced with a pack of savage, wild dogs, which they manage to defeat with their magic. They move on, taking the course of a river to expedite their travel. On the way, they pick up a couple of peculiar cats that appear to be following the group for no reason. Shortly after, they Who? The group of friends or the cats, or both? are caught in a storm and thrown over the side of a waterfall.

After arriving at their destination, their friendships become strained as secrets are revealed regarding Chase’s magic being more powerful than he claims, and Avia not being entirely honest about the extent of hers.

Akira’s perspective on her magic shifts vastly when she wakes up one morning and unknowingly switches her sister’s sign. It might be worth saying how her sister reacts to this. Her understanding of the world begins to change when she suspects she is a Zodiac Turner, an ancient magic banned long ago after it was deemed too powerful. Cool! She falls into despair at the discovery and refuses to tell anyone about it.

The five begin to hypothesize when the man infiltrates their dreams once again. You say "once again", but before, he was just in Akira's dream, right? This seems like a significant change if he's in all of their dreams - or more than one or theirs. While discussing the dream’s meaning, Chase’s sign is changed right before their eyes by a mysterious force, followed by the voice of the man stating it was the third trial. They quickly realize the first two trials were the pack of dogs and spontaneous storm. Akira is forced to switch Chase’s sign back, enduring his and Avia’s anger. I'm confused about this. Why do you say "forced"? Does she not want to switch his sign back, and if so, why not? Why is her sister angry about it?...Okay, after rereading, I think I get it. You say "forced" because she didn't want to reveal her ability to anyone, but in order to help Chase, she needs to reveal that she can switch signs. Is that right? And is her sister angry to find out she has that ability? Maybe say something like, "She is forced to reveal her power/ability when she switches Chase's sign back." The first rule of her code begins to fade away as she discovers more about the depth of her emotions. Are only Scorparians not allowed to show emotions? I don't know if it's worth putting in a line about the others showing emotions when she can't. Are the others allowed to befriend people of other signs? If she has restrictions that they don't, I think that's worth mentioning because it shows that her internal trials might be greater than those of others in her group.

The group of five is caught by officials who followed them out of Gardian. They are shot with enchanted arrows that put them to sleep, and brought back to Gardian, where the officials isolate them. However, the group refuses to be separated and manages to get back together. Shortly after, the fourth trial takes place, and Bella is tricked into attacking Akira.

During the recovery from the fourth trial, officials break into the group’s hiding place in Gardian. Haruki, the “cat” that followed them, You mentioned "cats" (plural) earlier. turns out to be a human in disguise. He throws himself in front of a bullet to protect Avia. It is discovered he is immortal. Bella uses her magic to transport the six of them away.

The fifth trial follows a couple of days later, where Akira and her friends are trapped in a cloud of poisonous gas. They again manage to escape using magic, and celebrate after they believe the trials to be over.

The man from Akira’s dreams re-appearsreappears to introduce the real reason why the trials were undergonethey had to undergo the trials [for active voice - although I don't love this so maybe just stick with your original wording!]. He proposes an offer to Akira to improve Gardian’s government and their view on Scorpios. Why? Haruki reveals the man, Blaine, was an immortal enemy of his for centuries. Akira learns that Blaine is her father, accounting for why she possesses a magic that was abolished centuries ago.

Believing Haruki’s advice, I'm not clear on what advice that is. If you mean that Blaine was an enemy of his, "advice" doesn't seem like the right word Akira rebels against Blaine. It seems weird that she would pick her father over a guy she's only known a few days, even if she didn't know her father. Maybe a word or two why she would side with him--well, I guess he did save her sister. But I don't know - some piece of info or some wording seems to be missing here. She and her friends face an army of spirits under Blaine’s command, eventually using their magic and persuasion to sway the spirits to cease fighting. Blaine is defeated by losing his own army, and Haruki removes Blaine’s immortality using an enchanted sword. The group is free, and Akira learns to not obey Blaine’s invented code. So the code was created by Blaine? Did everyone follow this code or did he teach it only to her?
When you said "Believing Haruki's advice..." I assumed Haruki would be wrong/lying, but Blaine really is bad? I'm still not sure why exactly he's bad, though. Or do I just accept that he is?


« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 04:40:48 PM by kaperton »

Offline serenawinter

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Re: Zodiac Turner: The Five Trials YA High Fantasy
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2019, 08:34:37 PM »
Thank you so much for your suggestions and feedback, kaperton! I really appreciate it! Here is the revised synopsis; I have highlighted in color what I rewrote in order to make some things more clear, regarding your questions.

Akira Spring is a sixteen-year-old explorer and shapeshifter from the world of Gardian, living by the Scorpio Code. The code speaks of three rules only: never show emotions, never befriend other Signs, and never fall in love. She couldn’t fathom breaking it, in a society where Scorparians are the most-loathed tribe, and Zodiac-based magic is abundant in every person. Her elementist Ariesian sister, Avia, was the only exception she would make for the code.

That was, until she meets Chase, Hugo, and Bella, three siblings, all of different Signs who coincidentally attended the same ceremony as Akira. Her life begins to flip upside down as she finds herself accidentally befriending the eldest of the siblings, Chase, who is a diligent guildworker. To her dismay, Akira and her sister are forced to work with Hugo and Bella, the two younger siblings, after Chase decides to place them in a guild together.

A few days following the guild’s building, disaster strikes. Fearing punishment after a near-deadly skirmish with an official, Akira, her sister, and the siblings are pressured to leave their beloved home into an unexplored land.

All seems to go well - at first. Akira and the group are visited by a mysterious man in their dreams, who proposes a series of five trails they endure, without giving reasoning as to why they would happen. Avia is suspicious one of her old friends is pranking her, and the group shrugs the dream off.

As their journey continues, conflict arises. The team is faced with a pack of savage dogs, which they manage to defeat with their magic. They move on, taking the course of a river to expedite their travel. On the way, they pick up a couple of peculiar cats that appear to be following the group. Shortly after, they and the cats are caught in a storm and thrown over the side of a waterfall.

After arriving at their destination, their friendships become strained as secrets are revealed regarding Chase’s magic being more powerful than he claims, and Avia not being entirely honest about the extent of hers.

Akira’s perspective on her magic shifts vastly when she wakes up one morning and unknowingly switches her sister’s sign, Avia completely oblivious to the shift. Her understanding of the world begins to change when she suspects she is a Zodiac Turner, an ancient magic banned long ago after it was deemed too powerful. She falls into despair at the discovery and refuses to tell anyone about it.

The five begin to hypothesize when the man infiltrates their dreams once again. While discussing the dream’s meaning, Chase’s sign is changed before their eyes by a mysterious force, followed by the voice of the man stating it was the third trial. They quickly realize the first two trials were the pack of dogs and spontaneous storm. Akira is forced to reveal her power when she turns Chase’s sign back, enduring his and Avia’s anger. The first rule of the Scorpio Code begins to fade away as she discovers more about the depth of her emotions.

The group of five is caught by officials who followed them out of Gardian. They are shot with enchanted arrows that put them to sleep, and brought back to Gardian, where the officials isolate them. However, the group refuses to be separated and manages to get back together. Shortly after, the fourth trial takes place, and Bella is tricked into attacking Akira.

During the recovery from the fourth trial, officials break into the group’s hiding place in Gardian. Haruki, one of the “cats” that followed them, turns out to be a human in disguise. He throws himself in front of a bullet to protect Avia. It is discovered he is immortal. Bella uses her magic to transport the six of them away.

The fifth trial follows a couple of days later, where Akira and her friends are trapped in a cloud of poisonous gas. They again manage to escape using magic, and celebrate after they believe the trials to be over.

The man from Akira’s dreams reappears to introduce the real reason why the trials were undergone. He proposes an offer to Akira to improve Gardian’s government and their view on Scorpios after being dented from a war in the past. Haruki reveals the man, Blaine, was an immortal enemy of his for centuries. Akira learns that Blaine is her father who she'd never met, accounting for why she possesses a magic that was abolished centuries ago.

Haruki exposes the corruption that Blaine unleashed on the Scorpio tribe a few hundred years before that changed them forever, and Akira rebels against Blaine. She and her friends face an army of spirits under Blaine’s command, eventually using their magic and persuasion to sway the spirits to cease fighting. Blaine is defeated by losing his own army, and Haruki removes Blaine’s immortality using an enchanted sword. The group is free, and Akira learns to not obey the Scorpio Code - the same code her corrupt father invented.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 08:39:02 PM by serenawinter »

Offline kaperton

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Re: Zodiac Turner: The Five Trials YA High Fantasy
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2019, 11:11:58 AM »
I think these changes are fantastic and make it much clearer! I know I suggested it, but I think it would be fine to just say "the group" go over the waterfall rather than including the cats. I was just concerned that it could possibly read as only the cats going over the waterfall.  And now that I reread it, I think you could say "thrown over a waterfall" rather than "thrown over the side of a waterfall."

"Blaine is her father who she'd never met" - should be she's to keep in present tense. And I'm really bad with who/whom but I think maybe it should be whom? Then again, maybe people don't care about who/whom anymore. I'm a grammar stickler in many ways but I use who for everything.

Offline serenawinter

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Re: Zodiac Turner: The Five Trials YA High Fantasy
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2019, 11:42:03 AM »
Thank you so very much once again, kaperton!! I really appreciate your time and help, and going out of your way to make suggestions. I will make those few small corrections, and check up on the who/whom. :)