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KatG
September 21st, 2004, 12:55 PM
I'm moving you over to another thread, Holbrook, as Chris' synopsis is a weighty thing. :) Hope that's okay.

KatG
September 21st, 2004, 12:58 PM
As to the synopsis I suggest you write a chapter breakdown, then condense it down to a 1,000 words then down to 500 words. Then compare the 500 with the book to see if you have got all the points. The newer version is better, but still waffles a lot. I will try and look at it later, but very busy to day.

This is an early version of the synopsis for my Novel "The Hat Man" warts and all... I think it was about the 8th effort.

Synopsis for “The Hat Man”

The Gods, Time, and the World had decided not to make it easy for Albert. He could only remember bits and pieces of his past at any given time. Most of his knowledge had been lost a thousand years ago when he had lost his mind.

All he knew for sure was that he had been waiting for centuries, waiting for something very important. And now it was finally time ... time to meet the three most important people in his life. They would not know or remember him, of course, but the vague memories he had of them were all that had prevented him from dying many times.

Albert never minded being mad, though. It was useful and far preferable to what he had previously been. Being a High Mage certainly had not been all it was cracked up to be. In his life as a High Mage he had become responsible for a war that tore the heart out of the land he loved, killing hundreds of thousands and ending the time of the all-powerful High Mages. The members of the Mage race that had survived had turned away from trying to manipulate the world. It was even said that their powers had significantly waned in the thousand years that had past since the great battle of Linstock.

So now, when the first of the three walked past him on the Dock of Mistwart Port, Albert knew it was time. Jack Tumbledown, royal spy and the youngest of the King’s brood of children would once again be by his side. Albert would have to watch, wait, and nudge things in the right direction. But he could nudge pretty strongly ... and he intended to.

The young Jack would soon hire onto the first convoy of the season to cross the Weeping Lands.(A magical badlands, which in reality was a huge pill, curing the world of magic) His mission was to take to his father, the King, a puzzle box that had once been the possession of the last Great High Mage (who just happened to have been Albert). It was also a box that many would stop at nothing to obtain and that would bring Jack and Albert together again for the first time.

Albert knew he would have to stand by and watch the young man battle to save the life of a young noble woman, Lady Elena. She was the second of the three. Albert would also have to stand by and let Jack catch the eye of his own beloved “Black Lady,” the strange and rather cat-like Alisha.

Elena’s betrothed, Barnaby Clifford and her mother were not only against Jack Albert and Alisha’s friendship with Elena; they were after the box and would foolishly release the prisoner within.

Albert would also have to deal with Alisha’s pompous brothers and numerous others. But what would be the worst for the once High Mage, was that he would have to lead the three people he cared about into to a trap set by his archenemy, Mallen. Here he would have to allow Time, the World, and the “powers that be” to take over again ... for these had all been waiting for this moment ... for Albert and his three companions to come together. There was work for them to do in the past, the present, and the future.

For Albert’s companions had to go back in time and fight with Albert/Alastar when he was a High Mage at the Battle of Linstock. They had to win, for if they lost the Weeping Lands would not be formed and the world would become Mallen’s plaything.

And win they did but at a price, Barnaby Clifford would too fall through time and become the killer of Jack’s father, the King, leaving our four companions to return to a Kingdom in confusion.

(Moved from ChrisG synopsis thread, originally posted by Holbrook.)

JRMurdock
September 21st, 2004, 05:32 PM
Beautifully crafted Hol. I've only one question (and Kat, you may have the answer).

Aren't Synopsis supposed to be in present tense?

I'm off to condense my chapter-by-chapter blow of my book. Wish me luck. :)

KatG
September 21st, 2004, 07:53 PM
Getting compared to Terry Pratchett is not the worse thing in the world. However, I understand that you don't want to set up that image because Pratchett's Disc world is broad comic spoof, whereas your book is more like the film "Pirates of the Carribean" -- swashbuckling adventure with lots of humor. Of course, that's perhaps a comparison that you personally don't want to make, but it would at least tell them what sort of story you're doing, whereas this synopsis (and I'm not clear if this is your latest version or not,) gives no indication that there is anything humorous in the story. In fact, it sounds really grim and sad, even a little pretentious. :)

Now I know that Albert is very important to the story, but I'm not sure that he's the protagonist. It sounds like Jack might be the protagonist, in which case you're being rather unfair to Jack. I don't know anything about him except that he's a prince and a spy. Is he irreverent, proud, soft-spoken, chubby, good at cards? I mean, who is this guy? Why is he taking dad the puzzle box?

And then you've got time-travel, which always gets rather difficult to describe. Does Albert "know" Jack, Elena and Alisha because they went into the past with him and fought by his side (the end of the book,) and if this is the case, then doesn't Albert know that they will be there because they were there? Why would he have to nudge them to get them to a place they already are destined to be? Who's the prisoner in the box? Why does Barnaby want the box? How exactly are the Weeping Lands set up? Is Albert in love with Alisha? Does she come to love Albert or is she in love with Jack? Why is she called "The Black Lady"? Who is she exactly? Who is Mallen? Why is he so powerful? Is he in the box?

You clearly know all the implications, but the synopsis does not cough them up. It focuses on Albert's mission and not as much on what occurs in the plot. It tells us something in vague terms about the symbolic roles of these characters, but not much about who they are, how they feel, and why their situation is important and interesting. And I'm really unclear how they fight the battle at the end. What, do they end up with lightening bolt powers or something?

So start with that --what happens in the story? Who are these people? Where's the humorous part? And please, please do not tell me that it's too complicated for you to describe or I will have to come and whack you with a feather duster.

Holbrook
September 22nd, 2004, 02:05 AM
Thanks Maus.

KatG;

Will give it a try. Hopefully to day...

Holbrook
September 22nd, 2004, 12:30 PM
Ok what follows is rough and I mean rough.... I have reworked the synopsis from the comic point of view. It is also a simple version of the plot, the chapter breakdown has a lot more of the twists and turns, but I think I have got the main points and events.

In the novel not once do I use Albert's POV. I have used mainly Jack's and a few other characters here and there. Albert is Albert and I wanted the reader to form their own opinon of him, not have him tell the reader who and what he is.

The novel on the whole is light hearted, does not take itself seriously and pokes a lot of fun at fantasy work in general, without I hope being too over the top...

Anyway.... here goes....

Prince Jacquin, youngest son of the King of Hecklestom had for most of his youth been at a loose end. So he had plenty of time for hanging around on the “wrong” side of town. But on his twentieth birthday his father decided Jacquin should put his hard earned talents to work for the country.

So Jacquin became Jack Tumbledown, a member of the Royal Assessment and Clearance department; a spy. And Jack was a good one, or a lucky one, sometimes he, himself, was not sure which.

One spring evening Jack arrived in Mistwart Port. Before the next morning, he had prevented a stranger in a large hat from being killed; nearly been killed himself upon taking charge of a parcel from his dying supervisor and then found wounded in the street by the man in the hat, who called himself Albert.

All in all more luck than spying skill and Jack knew it. Jack also felt his luck was about to get worse when he opened the parcel. For it contained, a bag of gold and a note to take the third item contained therein to the King. The item was a small rosewood puzzle box, with the crest of the last and supposedly greatest High Mage, Alastar.

To get the box safely to his father Jack had to cross the Weeping Lands. The Weeping Lands were accidentally created, an after effect of a war one thousand years ago. Warped and twisted by magic, but rumoured to contain much that could make a man’s fortune and the dwelling place of creatures half man and half animal. More importantly they were not a place to travel alone in. So Jack decided to hire on as a guard to the first wagon convoy, under the command of Captain Carlisle, which would be crossing the Weeping Lands that spring.

He wasn’t the only one.

Albert had hired on too and the past and present are about to collide.

For Albert is Alastar, or rather used to be Alastar, before he fell out of his tree, as Albert’s companion, Daniel, the firedrake puts it. Albert can’t remember everything that has happened, yet he knows enough to know that things in this time are about to begin happening, because he saw the result of them a thousand years ago during the battle for Linstock.

Albert knows that at his side at Linstock were three people, whose actions turned the tide of the battle against Albert’s once dear friend and companion, High Mage Mallen. One was a woman called Alisha, who was, like her soul sister Elena, “Weeping Land dwellers” or rather people of mixed mage and human blood that had “evolved” who had both an animal and a human side. Alisha’s being a winged black panther and Elena’s a gold dragon. The third was a swordsman, who would bring down Mallen; that was Jack.

The problem was Jack did not know anything about this; he just wanted to get this puzzle box to his father. And Albert couldn’t quite remember how it would all happen anyway, because the people here were not as he partly remembered them to be.

For, Alisha was just the youngest sister of two pompous Mages, guiding Captain Carlisle’s convoy over the Weeping Lands, and she viewed the world like a startled kitten. Even as such Albert was attracted to her as much as he was to her fiery other self.

Elena was the spoiled daughter of Lord and Lady Macfee, betrothed to one of the richest men in the country, one Lord Barnaby Clifford. Elena cared little about others and was bent on enjoying her first trip across the Weeping Lands. Which wasn’t quite right as Elena was the caring heart of the four of them.

And as for Jack; he was Jack with his luck being strained to its limit, which somehow wasn’t the forceful and sure man that had led the final attack on the Castle of Linstock.

Albert was puzzled, but no more than Jack when disaster after disaster hits the convoy.

For Barnaby Clifford and his mentor Lady Macfee ally themselves with a band of robbers and take control of the convoy, stealing the puzzle box and releasing the contents. One flea set in piece amber, which in reality is the prison of High Mage Mallen; a prison from which Mallen soon escapes.

This sets in motion the events that has our four battling to save the present; it is their part failure that opens the way for three of them to fall into the past, leaving Albert to finally settle things with Mallen in the present.

For, Jack flung into the past feels used and betrayed. Alisha is lost and very confused as her two “sides” keep wanting to split apart, as the Weeping Lands that she is a part of do not yet exist. Elena has the hiccups, which for someone who can’t stop changing into a dragon of various sizes can be rather dangerous to all concerned.

All this leads the then High and Mighty Mage Alastar to suspect they are Mallen’s spies. King Gavin and his Queen believe otherwise and things get off to a shaky start. Thing get even shaker as Jack finds himself torn between telling Alastar about the future and not doing so. In the end he tells the Mage enough to ensure the man has some memory.

The four do what history had them doing, much to Jack’s surprise, but at a cost. Alastar, Albert of the past is left badly wounded in the ruins of Linstock as the three are snatched forward. Mallen has been sealed in the amber ready to do the same evil work again in the future and worse, the three were not the only one to fall through time.

Barnaby Clifford, also fell back some four years and enacts his revenge by killing Jack’s father and beginning his own plans for revenge and conquest against the four.

KatG
September 23rd, 2004, 01:12 PM
Alright, you will have perhaps noted that I was pretty hard on Chris in his synopsis thread, and then Chris went off and read other synopses and figured it out, so I'm not getting medieval on this one. (Plus, I really, really wouldn't mind other people chiming in, here.)




Prince Jacquin, youngest son of the King of Hecklestom had for most of his youth been at a loose end. So he had plenty of time for hanging around on the “wrong” side of town. But on his twentieth birthday his father decided Jacquin should put his hard earned talents to work for the country.

So Jacquin became Jack Tumbledown, a member of the Royal Assessment and Clearance department; a spy. And Jack was a good one, or a lucky one, sometimes he, himself, was not sure which.

One spring evening Jack arrived in Mistwart Port. Before the next morning, he had prevented a stranger in a large hat from being killed; nearly been killed himself upon taking charge of a parcel from his dying supervisor and then found wounded in the street by the man in the hat, who called himself Albert.

All in all more luck than spying skill and Jack knew it. Jack also felt his luck was about to get worse when he opened the parcel. For it contained, a bag of gold and a note to take the third item contained therein to the King. The item was a small rosewood puzzle box, with the crest of the last and supposedly greatest High Mage, Alastar.

To get the box safely to his father Jack had to cross the Weeping Lands. The Weeping Lands were accidentally created, an after effect of a war one thousand years ago. Warped and twisted by magic, but rumoured to contain much that could make a man’s fortune and the dwelling place of creatures half man and half animal. More importantly they were not a place to travel alone in. So Jack decided to hire on as a guard to the first wagon convoy, under the command of Captain Carlisle, which would be crossing the Weeping Lands that spring.

Not bad here, in my opinion. Note how Jack sounds a lot more interesting. And the humor is getting through without it sounding completely comic.


He wasn’t the only one.

Albert had hired on too and the past and present are about to collide.

For Albert is Alastar, or rather used to be Alastar, before he fell out of his tree, as Albert’s companion, Daniel, the firedrake puts it. Albert can’t remember everything that has happened, yet he knows enough to know that things in this time are about to begin happening, because he saw the result of them a thousand years ago during the battle for Linstock.

Albert knows that at his side at Linstock were three people, whose actions turned the tide of the battle against Albert’s once dear friend and companion, High Mage Mallen. One was a woman called Alisha, who was, like her soul sister Elena, “Weeping Land dwellers” or rather people of mixed mage and human blood that had “evolved” who had both an animal and a human side. Alisha’s being a winged black panther and Elena’s a gold dragon. The third was a swordsman, who would bring down Mallen; that was Jack.

The problem was Jack did not know anything about this; he just wanted to get this puzzle box to his father. And Albert couldn’t quite remember how it would all happen anyway, because the people here were not as he partly remembered them to be.

For, Alisha was just the youngest sister of two pompous Mages, guiding Captain Carlisle’s convoy over the Weeping Lands, and she viewed the world like a startled kitten. Even as such Albert was attracted to her as much as he was to her fiery other self.

Elena was the spoiled daughter of Lord and Lady Macfee, betrothed to one of the richest men in the country, one Lord Barnaby Clifford. Elena cared little about others and was bent on enjoying her first trip across the Weeping Lands. Which wasn’t quite right as Elena was the caring heart of the four of them.

And as for Jack; he was Jack with his luck being strained to its limit, which somehow wasn’t the forceful and sure man that had led the final attack on the Castle of Linstock.

You're losing me here a little. Are you trying to say that Albert remembers Elena as a caring, strong-hearted woman, Alisha as a fierce cat warrior, and Jack as an experienced, confident leader, but right now, they're not any of those things? If Alisha is a cowardly sort, why is she guiding the caravan through the Weeping Lands? Does Elena's family live in the Weeping Lands, and if so, why would they have to be part of a caravan to cross it? We're missing details here, and you may produce "huh's." Would it work to leave Albert's pov out of it altogether, since you don't use it in the novel itself, and just maybe mention Albert madly telling them they aren't themselves or something? Because trying to explain Albert's amnesiac prophecy seems to trip you up. I get the gist of it; I'm just not sure all readers will.


Albert was puzzled, but no more than Jack when disaster after disaster hits the convoy.

For Barnaby Clifford and his mentor Lady Macfee ally themselves with a band of robbers and take control of the convoy, stealing the puzzle box and releasing the contents. One flea set in piece amber, which in reality is the prison of High Mage Mallen; a prison from which Mallen soon escapes.

Still don't know WHY Barnaby and Macfee do this. Presumably, they're working for Mallen?


This sets in motion the events that has our four battling to save the present; it is their part failure that opens the way for three of them to fall into the past, leaving Albert to finally settle things with Mallen in the present.

Okay, if you say so. Not sure I really get what happens here though.


For, Jack flung into the past feels used and betrayed. Alisha is lost and very confused as her two “sides” keep wanting to split apart, as the Weeping Lands that she is a part of do not yet exist. Elena has the hiccups, which for someone who can’t stop changing into a dragon of various sizes can be rather dangerous to all concerned.

Like the idea of Elena hicupping into various forms of dragons, sort of follow the idea of Alisha splitting in two and don't really know what Jack's problem is. Again, there seems to be missing info here to give us more context about what the characters are going through.


All this leads the then High and Mighty Mage Alastar to suspect they are Mallen’s spies. King Gavin and his Queen believe otherwise and things get off to a shaky start. Thing get even shaker as Jack finds himself torn between telling Alastar about the future and not doing so. In the end he tells the Mage enough to ensure the man has some memory.

Maybe this is the spot to say that Albert turns out to be High Mage Alaster? Who is King Gavin?


The four do what history had them doing, much to Jack’s surprise, but at a cost.

And what did history have them do?


Alastar, Albert of the past is left badly wounded in the ruins of Linstock as the three are snatched forward. Mallen has been sealed in the amber ready to do the same evil work again in the future and worse, the three were not the only one to fall through time.

Barnaby Clifford, also fell back some four years and enacts his revenge by killing Jack’s father and beginning his own plans for revenge and conquest against the four.

Okay, so Jack, Elena, and Alisha fall from the past back into the present. Alastar/Albert defeats Mallen in the present. Barnaby went back to the past too? Or does Barnaby fall from the present four years into the future? Exactly where has Barnaby been while the heroes were in the past?

So I still think you need to work on the time travel issues, specifically in regards to the transformations of the main characters. Alisha is the most confusing. But it is clearer overall.

Holbrook
September 24th, 2004, 02:43 AM
Thanks KatG will work on it, but can't promise it will be today or even this weekend......