Author Topic: THE GALLOWS WAY [horror/supernatural LGBTQ] synopsis  (Read 120 times)

Offline Quincy Lee

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THE GALLOWS WAY [horror/supernatural LGBTQ] synopsis
« on: March 16, 2021, 05:23:49 PM »
Hi there! Ugh, I think I hate synopses even more than queries... they are longer, more tedious to write, arguably more difficult... Uuuuugggghhhh.  :badday: :sad: :sad2: So anyway, I appreciate any feedback and am always happy to return the favor! I'd especially like to know--is it clear? Confusing? Dull? As tedious to read as it was to write?

Thank you in advance! If you have pages or queries or anything else you'd like me to take a look at, just let me know.





THE GALLOWS WAY synopsis


When ELLIS finds a series of cryptic handwritten notes—Help! The wallpaper!—they initially dismiss the scrawls as a classmate’s prank. But after blacking out to discover their own hand doing the writing, Ellis panics, believing themself to be possessed. To uncover the meaning behind the notes, they call on the help of AUNTIE YOKO, a wandering psychic who filled Ellis’s childhood with ghost stories.

Auntie Yoko bursts back into Ellis’s life, bungling Ellis’s pronouns and exasperatingly ending every sentence with “my dear girl.” She quickly puts Ellis into a trance so she can commune with the note-writing spirit. The spirit introduces himself as WALTER. Acting through Ellis, Walter leads Ellis’s dotty aunt to an abandoned house with yellowing attic wallpaper. He tells her that things come out of the wallpaper. Things that are bad. Wrong. Things that chase him and stuff him into the wall. He pleads for her to save him. Just as Auntie Yoko is about to peel away the secret of what really lies behind the wallpaper, Walter (still in Ellis’s body) punches her and smashes her head to the floor.

Ellis wakes in the abandoned attic with scraped knuckles, remembering nothing.

Auntie Yoko, miraculously unharmed, returns home with Ellis. She claims that the blackouts will worsen until Ellis fully succumbs to Walter. To exorcise Walter, Auntie Yoko must first discover the secret of the wallpaper.

“Do not even think about him,” she warns while fussing over Ellis. “Communicating with him will give him power over you.”

Over the next two days of investigating, Auntie Yoko pieces together Walter’s history:

As a child, Walter witnessed his mother’s murder by his father. Her decaying body, hidden within the wall, caused the paper to peel. Upon growing up, Walter confronted his father and inadvertently killed him in the ensuing altercation. He concealed his father’s body in the attic. Thereafter he lived a seemingly normal life, but inwardly the horror so unhinged him that he could never escape his nightmares, not even in death. In the decades since, he has haunted the attic, reliving a nightmare of things that come out of the wall and try to drag him in. When Auntie Yoko discovers the bodies of two strangers rotting in the wall—victims of Walter’s previous possessions—she realizes the dire consequences this nightmare holds for Ellis.

Meanwhile, Ellis violates Auntie Yoko’s rule about communication after Walter writes a single word: photograph. This clue leads Ellis to discover an old family photograph showing a young Auntie Yoko before she became a psychic. Scribbled on the back of the photo is a list of predictions about their family, such as their mailbox getting knocked crooked and their adoption of a dog. Ellis realizes these predictions have been coming true one by one.

Convinced now that their aunt is hiding some dark family secret, Ellis attempts to dig into Auntie Yoko’s past. They discover she was once an attorney, but she had a mental breakdown after a run-in with a particular client who killed himself in front of her. But before Ellis can discover how this client relates to the list, they black out as Walter again takes over their mind and body.

In the decaying husk of the attic, Auntie Yoko and Walter confront one another over Ellis’s soul. She warns Walter that even though he only reaches out seeking help, his nightmare will eventually cause Ellis’s death.

Walter (puppeting Ellis) refuses to listen and stabs Auntie Yoko through the stomach, claiming he is protecting Ellis from a far greater evil. He demands Auntie Yoko reveal her secret.

And so Auntie Yoko at last shares the meaning of her list:

While working as an attorney, she had a client who claimed to be possessed by the devil. He had a vision that he would murder his own wife and son. Horrified, he told a psychiatrist—only for the psychiatrist to die violently during the course of his telling. He was tried for murder and executed. But he woke up back in his psychiatrist’s office. He told her his vision again. She died again. He was executed again. And when he woke again, he at last he realized the horror of his fate: that anyone he told would die; that anytime he died, his death would be undone. His vision could not be averted—not by telling, not by dying.

Yoko didn’t believe his possession was real. During the course of defending him at trial, Yoko unwittingly inherited the possession from him. Like him, she had a vision. From that vision she wrote the predictions in the list on the photograph. When the entire list is crossed off, she will fulfill her vision of killing her sister, and her beloved godchild Ellis, and finally herself. She has spent the past two decades searching for a means to exorcise the evil within, without success. And her time is running out.

There are only two items left on the list.

Walter, being already dead, is able to hear her story without dying, but when he tries to finish Auntie Yoko off by stuffing her into the attic wall, his attempt comes undone.

Meanwhile, Ellis’s consciousness vies with Walter’s for control. And as Ellis gradually awakens, they come to an epiphany: that it may be possible to save both Walter’s soul and their own. Before the things from Walter’s nightmare can come out of the wall and kill them, Ellis proposes a bargain: they will allow Walter to possess them—forever. Walter will no longer be alone with his trauma. In return, Walter will help them search for a way to destroy the evil possessing their aunt.

It is their only hope for survival.

Walter agrees.

Ellis and Auntie Yoko escape the house with Walter permanently embedded in Ellis’s consciousness. Their parting afterward is bittersweet—Auntie Yoko resumes her travels in search of a cure, and Ellis returns to their dorm, where they exchange notes with their hand, determined to change the fate that awaits at the end of that list.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2021, 04:35:43 PM by Quincy Lee »

Offline raktinope

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Re: THE GALLOWS WAY [horror/supernatural LGBTQ] synopsis
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2021, 07:05:04 PM »
I don't typically read this genre, but here's my critique since you haven't gotten one yet.

When ELLIS finds a series of cryptic handwritten notes—Help! The wallpaper!—they initially dismiss the scrawls as a classmate’s prank. But after blacking out to discover their own hand doing the writing This image is a little confusing. Do they wake up to their hand moving on its own? Do they notice their handwriting?, Ellis panics, believing themself to be possessed. To uncover the meaning behind the notes, they call on the help of AUNTIE YOKO, a wandering psychic who filled Ellis’s childhood with ghost stories.

Auntie Yoko bursts back into Ellis’s life, bungling Ellis’s pronouns and exasperatingly ending every sentence with “my dear girl.” She quickly puts Ellis into a trance so she can commune with the note-writing spirit. The spirit introduces himself as WALTER. Acting through Ellis, Walter leads Ellis’s dotty aunt Auntie Yoko to an abandoned house with yellowing attic wallpaper. He tells her that things come out of the wallpaper. Things that are bad. Wrong This seems out of place, it's almost like Walter is the voice of the words, not a 3rd person narrator. Things that chase him and stuff him into the wall. He pleads for her to save him. Just as Auntie Yoko is about to peel away the secret of what really lies behind the wallpaper, Walter (still in Ellis’s body) punches her and smashes her head to the floor.

Ellis wakes in the abandoned attic with scraped knuckles, remembering nothing.

Auntie Yoko, miraculously unharmed, returns home with Ellis. She claims that the blackouts will worsen until Ellis fully succumbs to Walter. To exorcise Walter, Auntie Yoko must first discover the secret of the wallpaper. I don't trust Walter, but I don't understand why Auntie Yoko is withholding info from Ellis.

“Do not even think about him,” she warns while fussing over Ellis. “Communicating with him will give him power over you.”

Over the next two days of investigating, Auntie Yoko pieces together Walter’s history:

As a child, Walter witnessed his mother’s murder by his father. Her decaying body, hidden within the wall, caused the paper to peel. Upon growing up, Walter confronted his father and inadvertently killed him in the ensuing altercation. He concealed his father’s body in the attic. Thereafter he lived a seemingly normal life, but inwardly the horror so unhinged him that he could never escape his nightmares, not even in death. In the decades since, he has haunted the attic, reliving a nightmare of things that come out of the wall and try to drag him in. When Auntie Yoko discovers the bodies of two strangers rotting in the wall—victims of Walter’s previous possessions—she realizes the dire consequences this nightmare holds for Ellis. So was Walter trying to make Auntie Yoko the next victim in the walls? If yes, shouldn't he have accomplished that in the second paragraph?

Meanwhile, Ellis violates Auntie Yoko’s rule about communication after Walter writes a single word: photograph. This clue leads Ellis to discover an old family photograph showing a young Auntie Yoko before she became a psychic. Scribbled on the back of the photo is a list of predictions about their family When I first read this I thought Walter wrote this list while Ellis was unknowingly possessed. Auntie Yoko needs to up her security if she's just leaving this list lying about for Ellis to find., such as their mailbox getting knocked crooked and their adoption of a dog. Ellis realizes these predictions have been coming true one by one.

Convinced now that their aunt is hiding some dark family secret, Ellis attempts to dig into Auntie Yoko’s past. They discover she was once an attorney, but she had a mental breakdown after a run-in with a particular client who killed himself in front of her. But before Ellis can discover how this client relates to the list, they black out as Walter again takes over their mind and body.

In the decaying husk of the attic, Auntie Yoko and Walter confront one another over Ellis’s soul. She warns Walter that even though he only reaches out seeking help, his nightmare will eventually cause Ellis’s death.

Walter (puppeting Ellis) refuses to listen and stabs Auntie Yoko through the stomach, claiming he is protecting Ellis from a far greater evil. He demands Auntie Yoko reveal her secret.

And so Auntie Yoko at last shares the meaning of her list:

While working as an attorney, she had a client who claimed to be possessed by the devil. He had a vision that he would murder his own wife and son. Horrified, he told a psychiatrist—only for the psychiatrist to die violently during the course of his telling. He was tried for murder and executed. But he woke up back in his psychiatrist’s office. He told her his vision again. She died again. He was executed again. And when he woke again, he at last he realized the horror of his fate: that anyone he told would die; that anytime he died, his death would be undone. His vision could not be averted—not by telling, not by dying. So no matter what the person in the vision would die? So he always killed his son and wife and would be executed for it?

Yoko didn’t believe his possession was real. During the course of defending him at trial, Yoko unwittingly inherited the possession from him. Like him, she had a vision. From that vision she wrote the predictions in the list on the photograph. When the entire list is crossed off, she will fulfill her vision of killing her sister, and her beloved godchild Ellis, and finally herself. She has spent the past two decades searching for a means to exorcise the evil within, without success. And her time is running out.

There are only two items left on the list.

Walter, being already dead, is able to hear her story without dying, but when he tries to finish Auntie Yoko off by stuffing her into the attic wall, his attempt comes undone. Why does Walter care about Ellis? There are two people in the wall already that he killed. Also, how does Walter know about these visions? I'm not sure what triggered Walter to defend Ellis from their Aunt.

Meanwhile, Ellis’s consciousness vies with Walter’s for control. And as Ellis gradually awakens, they come to an epiphany: that it may be possible to save both Walter’s soul and their own. Before the things from Walter’s nightmare can come out of the wall and kill them, Ellis proposes a bargain: they will allow Walter to possess them—forever. Walter will no longer be alone with his trauma. In return, Walter will help them search for a way to destroy the evil possessing their aunt. This seems like...not that great of an idea. Walter's getting all of the very minimal benefit, Auntie Yoko gets no guarantee that the list won't come true, and Ellis is getting royaly screwed.

It is their only hope for survival.

Walter agrees.

Ellis and Auntie Yoko escape Escape from what? Aren't they all working together now? the house with Walter permanently embedded in Ellis’s consciousness. Their parting afterward is bittersweet—Auntie Yoko resumes her travels in search of a cure, and Ellis returns to their dorm, where they exchange notes with their hand, determined to change the fate that awaits at the end of that list.

Walter's motives just don't make sense to me. Initially he contacts Ellis about the wallpaper then switches to Auntie Yoko's list. Was Walter's goal from the get go to stop Auntie Yoko's list from being complete? It doesn't seem that way from the way the synopsis reads. Also, the other victims in the wallpaper confuse me. Is Walter repeating past bad behavior or is he pacifying the spookiness trying to get him from within the walls. I'm assuming that's what he planned to do to Auntie Yoko? Did the previously possessed people have fates similar to Ellis?

Again, horror is 2spooky4me, but I wasn't very satisfied with this synopsis.

Also since you offered, my synopsis is here if you want to get it a review: https://querytracker.net/forum/index.php?topic=25066.0

Offline Quincy Lee

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Re: THE GALLOWS WAY [horror/supernatural LGBTQ] synopsis
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2021, 03:16:35 PM »
Thank you! It's incredibly helpful to know what is unclear. I will work on clarifying the answers to those questions you asked, especially re: Walter's motives. Thank you for the feedback!

Offline raktinope

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Re: THE GALLOWS WAY [horror/supernatural LGBTQ] synopsis
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2021, 06:51:34 PM »
Good luck with revisions. Unfortunately the synopsis topic is as popular as the others so I understand how hard it is to get feedback.