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Chris G.
September 17th, 2004, 02:27 PM
Synopsis

First off, This is not a Tolkein Lord of the Rings, Eddings, Pawn of Prophecy or Terry Brooks, Elf Stones of Shanara type fantasy. You won’t find a sword, orc, troll or any other such “genre staples” in this story.

Theme: Mankind’s origins, Evolution, Natural selection.

Prologue: Before the Elves left they decided to make a last ditch effort to reach out to the Human race by taking 5 human ‘apprentices’ who would be their emissaries to Mankind. These are the Druids (yes, the Stone Henge variety) however the effort failed, Man being too fearful and ignorant. On the night of the Elves departure for the Realm the Druids create the Earth Stone as a safe guard against possible future “re-mergence” of Earth and Realm.

10,000 years ago as Mankind was on the verge of civilization and pushing the races of Faerie aside. The 5 kings of the 5 ruling Elvin Families created the Realm and infused the Elf stones with “life energy” to hold it together. However, separated from Earth in a place of their own making they were separated from their source of life energy. Each new generation, heirs to the ruling families were to have infused their stone with life energy, but they stopped as with each infusion, the stones seemed to require more and more. Too much, it turns out, as some of the heirs became maimed and even psychologically damaged. After about three thousand years they discontinued the practice.

7,000 years after the infusions have stopped is where the story takes place and the Elves have lost their history and their knowledge of the stones, their past shrouded in myths and legends and even ‘fairy’ tales about “creatures” called “humans.” The infusions have become a distant memory practiced in ritual, though not actual, form when an heir reaches his of her “Day of Ascension” to the throne. The stones have lain mostly forgotten, their energy dwindling and the Realm is dying.

This is all revealed in discoveries made by the characters.

Over the past 7 millennia an enigmatic “blight” began to appear. Patches of “nothingness” that formed and disappeared to form again somewhere else. Not knowing what to make of it as it would appear and linger for a while then disappear for a long time only to reappear stronger and go away again, the people of the Realm have learned to live with it. However, over the past few decades it has come back and one of the Elvin Kings, King Aric Elvendouin of the Mountain Kingdom, became sort of obsessed with the blight and studied it. Not finding any answers, as a last resort he turned to his family’s neglected and forgotten stone for answers and it sickened him and he dies at the opening of the first chapter.

Aric feels that only a blood heir can glean any answers from the stone and it his dying wish to his son, Prince Aldreas, to seek those answers. Aldreas goes to his family’s Hall of the Stone and picks it up. Something people never do! It’s a sacred heirloom and symbol of their right to rule! However, feeling the contact of a blood heir, the stone latches onto Aldreas and fills him with its hunger for energy and a furious desire to gather the other stones. Aldreas sets about doing this, but the stones need energy and they turn him into a sort of “energy leech” pulling the life essences out of the Realm’s people. When he does this he creates creature minions called “Essettes” (he steals life essences, hence, the creatures are called “Essettes”) who attack other Elves and fuel Aldreas more and more. Driven by the will of the stones, Aldreas is appalled by what he is doing, but can’t stop and therein lies his conundrum. He wants to restore the Realm and make it whole, but in order to do that he needs energy and he is killing its people to get it. What’s the point? He creates a “father” image to talk to and as he gathers the stones it reveals to him that he is not going to restore the Realm, he is going to re-merge the Realm with Earth.

Henry’s & Gwendolyn’s stories take place side by side alternating back and forth through the book. Neither ever meets or even knows about the other until the one paragraph epilogue at the book’s end.

Henry James & the Earth Stone: The Earth Stone is sentient, it talks to him. Why Henry? He is the descendent of the most powerful of the Human Druid Emissaries. Henry is a college student in love with a girl for two years and he has never told her. They are friends. He asked her to dinner with him and spills all of his feelings for her. She rejects him. He’s a mess. When he leaves the “campus hangout” he has an attack of chest pain and whoosh, has a falling dream sensation and arrives in the Realm, on a wide open plain. Lost and confused, he thinks it’s an elaborate practical joke perpetrated by his rich room mate, though doesn’t believe this idea. He doesn’t know what to believe. It is winter in upstate NJ when he leaves, but wherever he is now, its high summer. The Earth Stone talks to him when he picks it up. It only knows what the Realm is and suspects that re-mergence has begun. But it knows nothing about the Realm or its past 10,000 years of history, nor does it know how to stop re-mergence. Together, they have to figure it out and find their way through the Realm.
Throughout the story, whenever Aldreas gets another Elf stone, Henry gets ‘pain attacks’ and his struggles against the agony keeps re-mergence from happening, but if they don’t stop Aldreas it will happen. Yet, they only slowly begin to understand what is going on and they don’t even know about Aldreas or exactly what is happening. Only that it is happening.

Along the way he will meet Figsignathalus, son of Sigfignathalus, formerly of the “Dwarven Holds” in a wood between Henry’s arrival point and the Plains Kingdom of King Garron Elfshenen.

Princess Gwendolyn Elvendon: Her story opens chapter 3 and takes place beside Henry’s, though they never meet. It’s her “Coming of Age Day” (her 21st birthday) when a young heir begins his or her rise toward their “Day of Ascension” 5 years hence. Aldreas arrives to attend the ceremonies pretending to be a suitor only to get her family’s stone and when he does, all hell breaks loose. He starts creating his first “Essettes” and

Chris G.
September 17th, 2004, 02:28 PM
King Barrion, her father, sends her to the Forrest Kingdom to get help. Barrion thinks if they can deny Aldreas the stones, they might be able to figure out a way to stop him. For Gwendolyn it is a coming of age story and she is the heroine. Along the way she will rediscover a piece of the lost Elvin legacy in the use of life energy and meet King Trystan, who will become her love interest, as well as a survivor of one of Aldreas’ “Essette Attacks.” A three year old little girl named Becca.

END: By the end of the story, his Christian faith in near shambles, Henry has come to terms with his “reality” and has discovered that there is more to himself than a silly crush on some girl and his love for his family gives him the strength to use the Earth Stone’s power to save both worlds. For the first time in his life he has to think beyond himself as he too comes of age.

The ending is hard to describe, but the separate stories of Henry and Gwendolyn do, and do not, come together. Henry has learned enough by this time that he knows he must stop Aldreas, though he doesn’t know how to do that. Filled with fear and self doubt, he resolves to try or die in the attempt in the name of his family. The self centered youth has learned there are things worth dying for and he heads to the island in the middle of the Inland Sea Kingdom with Figsignathalus and King Garron Elfshenen and 500 Dwarves from the “Dwarven Holds.”

Gwendolyn has already arrived and a defense against Aldreas’ Essettes has been planned using her new found ability in the life energy. Together with King Trystan, she will lead the defense, the girl has become Queen.

Essettes attack, rush past Henry, Fig and Garron after overwhelming the Dwarven 500 to get the last stone from the castle at the center of the island 4 hours away. Aldreas arrives and he and Henry meet. This is where things become climactic and anti-climactic as Henry and Aldreas discuss things over drinks and dinner while Gwendolyn et al fight for their lives.

Reaching an impasse in their discussions, Henry and Aldreas “battle” as Aldreas fights to re-merge the worlds while Henry struggles to keep them a part. It is not until the last line of the last chapter that Henry realizes what he needs to do and does it. End, followed by an afterward and a one paragraph epilogue.


The twist, what sets this story aside from others in its genre.
I use historical references throughout the text to correlate the “how” and “why” of this genre from an evolutionary perspective. The theme is natural selection, but it doesn’t slam the reader in the face. The reader discovers this and many other things through the dialogue streams between Henry and the stone and the other characters. Throughout the story, Henry constantly worries that he hasn’t had a psychotic break and wonders if he is suffering from dementia. Again, this doesn’t slam the reader in the face and the reader is constantly guessing along with Henry, is he nuts or is all this really happening to him? (Its is happening, but the reader doubts right up until the one paragraph epilogue.) Basically, Henry turns the Realm into a real world with all the hurts and agonies and progress that goes with that.

Natural Selection: The Story reveals that Elves and Dwarves created Mankind. But why? In the book, it is determined that it was an “accident.” Real reason revealed in book 2, Realm World.


Rules of the Realm: “Magic” has rules.
Rule #1: The Realm has no magic! No spells or cauldrons of boiling bat’s eyes. Nadda, zip, zilch.
Rule #2: On Earth, the Elves were the users of “life energy.” Once upon a time, they did use it as “magic” but its 10,000 years later and they are in the Realm. They are just people now and have no memory of their lives on Earth.
Rule #3: The Dwarves are technology users, but low level and they were an old race alongside the Elves so the Elves took them to the Realm with them.
Rule #4: The Realm is not a real world, it’s a place. Hence, no life energy and Aldreas’ conundrum. He needs life energy to fix the Realm, and save its people, but he is taking their life energy and killing them to fuel his efforts. Slowly, he becomes aware through the ghost of his father that re-merging Earth and Realm will restore the lives he is taking (his father is lying).
Rule #5 Elves: 200 year life spans, can only have one child in one life time. Biologically unable to have more.
Rule #6 Dwarves: 300 year life spans, live apart from Elves, only one child per life time.

The Realm: Five ruling Elvin families/five kingdoms: Elvendouins(Aldreas)The Mountain Kingdom/Elvendons (Gwendolyn, Barrion, Arianna)Valley Kingdom/ Elfshenens (Garron)Plains Kingdom/ Elvardens( Trystan)Forest Kingdom and the Elverlings (Virella) Inland Sea Kingdom.

I have sketched a map that I can send to you once I have it scanned. Warning, I’m a writer, not an artist…sorry.

Henry/Earth Stone dialogue speculation (actual truth) The Realm is a “perfect” place. No war, disease, even bad weather. Elves left out all the “bad” stuff, but accidental death & injury do happen. Elves are people and people are flawed and so is their “perfect place.” They didn’t think of everything.

Characters:
Protagonist - Henry James/side kick is a dwarf named Figsignathalus (Fig) son of Sigfignathalus.
Princess Gwendolyn Elvendon: side kicks, Malena, Lady in waiting/Cedric-bard Opening starts on her 21st birthday…her “Coming of Age Day” Never meets Henry…separate story along side main story.
King Barrion Elvendon(non-heir, married in)Queen Arianna Elvendon(heir)
Figsignathalus: Henry’s guide through the Realm/friend.
King Garron Elfshenen (not an heir, married in, wife & daughter dead, insane) Joins Henry & Fig.
King Trystan Elvarden: Becomes Gwendolyn’s love interest.
Prince Aldreas Elvendouin: Primary antagonist. Becoming insane…i.e. Hitler character…speculation of Hitler by Henry at book’s end.

Danger of Reemergence: Many levels. Physical destruction of both worlds the least. Psychological, religious, mystical implications revealed in the book.

Note: Humans are Men. Elves and Dwarves are Elfen and Dwarfen hence they are called “fen” both singular and plural according to the context of the sentence. Females are “fenna.”

MY Qualifications: I have been teaching History and Social Studies for 10 years. I use my knowledge of history and sociology to approach the genre.

Expendable
September 17th, 2004, 08:07 PM
Your story has great potential although I'm confused about some things in it.

The Elves created the Realm using five stones they charged at some unnamed source on Earth with "Life Energy". But the Realm itself doesn't have access to this source of "Life Energy" so from time to time the elves would replenish the stones with their own life energy - except the stones began pulling too much life energy out of them. So the Elves eventually stopped replenishing the stones.

When the Elves moved into the Realm, the Druids that the Elves taught decided that it would be a bad idea if their teachers ever came back. So the Druids created the "Earth Stone" to somehow prevent that from happening.

Only after 7,000 years without charging, the stones that maintain the realm have begun to fail and 'holes' are appearing here and there - its begining to sound like the Realm is begining to integrate itself with Earth again because Henry stumbles across one and winds up in the Realm. With the Earth Stone that's suppose to somehow prevent the realm from integrating.

Why though is Henry the only human? Why haven't others stumbled across them?

How is the Earth Stone going to prevent the integration of the Realm with Earth if its in the Realm? It sounds like what the realm needs is to have the stones recharged but how is that possible if they can't access the source on Earth and the elves not enough to satisfy the stones?

Chris G.
September 17th, 2004, 08:35 PM
Thats the point....the Earth Stone doesn't know how to stop re-mergence and, of course, neither does Henry. I was trying ti tantalize you and it seems I have.

Score one for me.
:)

About Henry "falling into a patch of blight."

No, read it again. The blight does not form on Earth while it is forming in the Realm and the Druids did not create the Earth Stone to keep the Elves from coming back. They created it to save the Realm should something ever go wrong and henry does that by transforming the Realm into a TRUE world. I state that at the end.

Thanks for your response :)

Holbrook
September 18th, 2004, 03:12 AM
Chris This is just my thoughts on the first read through, you don’t have to take any notice and nothing is personal. I have taken out the sections of your text, but my comments follow the line of your synopsis. The idea is a strong one, but you seem unsure, even hesitant of it. You have to be bold, say this is my story. It begins here and ends there and in between give the publisher an idea of the progression, themes and the journey the characters make. Also don’t tantalise, the publisher wants a good strong idea of what your book is about.


Synopsis

First off, This is not a Tolkein Lord of the Rings, Eddings, Pawn of Prophecy or Terry Brooks, Elf Stones of Shanara type fantasy. You won’t find a sword, orc, troll or any other such “genre staples” in this story.

Get rid of this above; don’t go round comparing your work to other authors. Try and think on your synopsis and covering letter as a job application, stick to the facts of your story.

Theme: Mankind’s origins, Evolution, Natural selection. ok short and too the point remember at best a publisher states 2 to 3 pages for a synopsis some say a page, one agent I know states 300 words!

Prologue: Best remove this, and the other references to chapters, you are not consistent in the use of them. At the moment this is a mixture of a synopsis, chapter breakdown, covering letter and character list.

These are the Druids (yes, the Stone Henge variety) Eeerrr… going to get a bit historical here. There is no proof that the Celtic Druids used Stonehenge, one word not two by the way ;) The “modern Druids” started using it in the middle of the 19th century. It is also not “old enough”. The last building stage started about 3000 years ago; research suggests it could have been under construction for about 1000 years prior to that at the most. So you are looking at 4,500 years at the very outside. One problem with using “real world” places and events, you need to have stuff in the ball park. You mention 10,000 years, this puts your beginning well before Britain became an island and at the tail end of the ice age. Stonehenge is an enigma. Druids link you to the pre-Roman Celtic communities and carry all the baggage that word conjures up

The following bit is good and gives a good glimpse of the history behind the realm.


This is all revealed in discoveries made by the characters. This is a given, it is what the book is about so the statement is redundant.

Over the past 7 millennia an enigmatic “blight” began to appear. Patches of “nothingness” that formed and disappeared to form again somewhere else. Not knowing what to make of it as it would appear and linger for a while then disappear for a long time only to reappear stronger and go away again, the people of the Realm have learned to live with it. However, over the past few decades it has come back and one of the Elvin Kings, King Aric Elvendouin of the Mountain Kingdom, became sort of Suggest you remove the “sort of” he is either obsessed or he isn’t obsessed with the blight and studied it. Not finding any answers, as a last resort he turned to his family’s neglected and forgotten stone for answers and it sickened him and he dies at the opening of the first chapter. Again suggest you remove the mention of the chapter you need to give a logical progression of the story you tend to jump about a bit. The following section is good, but it does give the feel that Aric is your main character, not Henry


Henry’s & Gwendolyn’s stories Who the heck is Gwendolyn?:D I had to look to the end of the piece to find out… as said before, the synopsis should follow the flow of the book.

Henry James & the Earth Stone: this sounds like another book? And very Harry Potterish.

The following is good, but as Henry is your main character I feel his part of the story in this synopsis needs to be made stronger

END:again loose the “end” Also no mention is made before of the challenge to Henry’s Christian faith, is this a major theme, if so it needs to be brought out earlier

The ending is hard to describe, don’t say that :eek: you give the impression you don’t know what your story is about. And again I feel this section needs to be worked into the rest. This does hop about a lot.


The twist, what sets this story aside from others in its genre.
I use historical references throughout the text to correlate the “how” and “why” of this genre from an evolutionary perspective. If you are using historical references make sure they are spot on. One mistake and you and your publisher will have egg on your face. It is plain you see this as a selling point, linking it to “real life” so it has to be tight.

To be honest the following bit lost me totally.
Natural Selection: The Story reveals that Elves and Dwarves created Mankind. But why? In the book, it is determined that it was an “accident.” Real reason revealed in book 2, Realm World.



Why the rules? And they are more like statements than rules to be honest. The information could be blended into the rest. Same goes for the details of the realm; logical progression following the story line is in my opinion, the best way to go. Additional information can be put in your chapter breakdown/character list.


This end bit belongs in your covering letter not your synopsis
MY Qualifications: I have been teaching History and Social Studies for 10 years. I use my knowledge of history and sociology to approach the genre.

Holbrook
September 18th, 2004, 03:24 AM
Chris I would suggest you take a look at this site... some good information.

http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/pubsubs.htm

Chris G.
September 18th, 2004, 07:13 AM
The book is GOOD...not just "not bad for a first effort" but good!

And so far, the sequel is even better. While writing Earth Stone I felt like someone else were working through me. Getting all that down into a query letter or even a synopsis is driving me MAD!

PLEASE tell me you know what I am talking about. :eek:

lego
September 18th, 2004, 09:29 AM
First of all, Chris, I applaud you to have written a synopsis. I tried one myself a few days ago and it ended in a chapter per chapter break-down. So I know how hard this can be!

Now to the bad news: I read your synopsis and to be honest, I felt as though you covered the backstory but left out the plot. I learned a lot about the history of your world and Aldreas' schemes but almost nothing about the rising conflict or the climax. What exactly are the adventures Henry discovers in the Realm? Those are the parts the reader wants to know about, aren't they?

Take for example these two paragraphs:

Throughout the story, whenever Aldreas gets another Elf stone, Henry gets ‘pain attacks’ and his struggles against the agony keeps re-emergence from happening, but if they don’t stop Aldreas it will happen. Yet, they only slowly begin to understand what is going on and they don’t even know about Aldreas or exactly what is happening. Only that it is happening.

Along the way he will meet Figsignathalus, son of Sigfignathalus, formerly of the “Dwarven Holds” in a wood between Henry’s arrival point and the Plains Kingdom of King Garron Elfshenen.

This seems to be the main plot-line of the novel. Nevertheless you shrug it off in two short paragraphs and on top they are written in such an abstract way, they tell me nothing concrete except that Henry meets a dwarf (aside -- I'm sorry, but the dwarf's name sounds a little cheesy. It might fit in a humorous tale a la Terry Pratchett, but I got the feeling your novel belongs into the epic fantasy category. If that is the case, I would suggest you reconsider whether a character named Figsignathalus can be taken seriously).

Back to Henry. You tell me Aldreas acquires several Elf stones but you don't tell me how he got them or whether this is a difficult task. Did he kill the previous owners? Did he steal the stones? More important: how does Henry try to prevent Aldreas from getting more stones? Remember, a protagonist must protag, but yours doesn't seem to do ANYTHING.

Then you say, "Henry gets ‘pain attacks’ and his struggles against the agony keeps re-mergence from happening, but if they don’t stop Aldreas it will happen." Huh? What re-merge will happen? If you mean Earth and the Realm will become one world, then please say so. And why did you put pain attacks in quotes? Are they pain attacks or are they something else? To me that seems as if you haven't made clear to yourself what happens to Henry. Why should I read a book if not even the author is sure what is going on?

In my opinion, the story of Gwendolyn needs more work, too. Right now I don't have any idea why you even included her in the novel. Is she a second protagonist, a story on the sideline, or just the woman to drool over because every novel needs a pretty girl? Yes, Gwendolyn comes of age, but what makes her grow up and how does she change in the process? And why should I even care about her? From the synopsis it seems her whole character could be cut without loss to the plot.

I hope that wasn't too harsh, but the synopsis is the piece that will sell your novel. So make it easy to understand, don't linger on side-plots, and concentrate on Henry, his actions and his motivations.

KatG
September 18th, 2004, 03:07 PM
Thats the point....the Earth Stone doesn't know how to stop re-mergence and, of course, neither does Henry. I was trying ti tantalize you and it seems I have.

Score one for me.

No, that's a demerit, not a point. What I said in the query letter thread continues to apply -- if you try to tantalize and be coy, if you are not clear about the plot of your story, they will reject your synopsis. They don't have time for vague game playing. If Expendable and others are confused about your synopsis, then your synopsis isn't working.

You said you were ready for tough, and tough does seem to be what you're getting here, and I'm going to add some more tough, if that's okay:

1) No author likes writing a plot synopsis. It's a skill you have to learn and there's no use whining about it and how it doesn't do your novel justice. The point of the synopsis is not to make you happy. It's to give agents and editors clear information about your property.

2) Elves, dwarves and magic stones are all staples of the genre. Your story is not particularly unique or unusual, including the natural evolution, elves made us angle. (See Arthur C. Clarke's "2001.") In fact, this type of story -- man or woman falls into alternate realm and has to become big hero -- was exceedingly popular in the 1980's and continues to make appearances today (in both fantasy and science fiction.) Tad Williams just did one in his "The War of the Flowers." And right now, I'm reading R.A. Salvatore's "The Demon Awakens," which is not an alternate realm story, but does center around power residing in life-stealing magic stones and elves training humans to be special warriors. So welcome to the fold. That doesn't mean that your story is not saleable or interesting, but it would be prudent to drop the approach that your work is revolutionary and to get rid of the "I'll change the genre" rhetoric.

Which also means, as has been noted, that it's a good idea not to trash other authors. First off, it's totally irrelevent to agents and editors if you think you're better than David Eddings or anybody else. Such remarks have no place in a query letter or synopsis. Second, it's a small community. If you trash an author, you also trash his publisher -- the publisher who you want to publish your work. In non-fiction, you tend to compare your work to big names in the field and say why your work is different and better than theirs. But in fiction, you compare your work to well-known authors in the field and say why your work is like theirs, and so would attract a similar audience.

3) As others have pointed out, your synopsis, like your query letter description, almost completely ignores Henry and we have little idea what actually happens to him in the story. Also, the natural history angle that is so important to you, is also left out of the plot description. And now we've got Princess Gwendolyn, whose role and the size of that role in the story is unclear. It's understandable that you're centered on Aldreas, as he's the lynch pin around which the action is spinning, but it is Henry who is your protagonist. So what have you got so far:

Chris G.
September 18th, 2004, 03:42 PM
I'm NOT trying to trash those other authors. They're my personal favorites. I'm trying to say this isn't hard core swords and wizard towers fantasy ala dungeons and dragons.