Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Synopsis Project: #1 and #2

Okay, I've done some work on these--many of you will note that #2 is familiar. It's been a successful blurb so far, so I just reworked it a little.

These aren't true synopses so much as blurbs, but I think that's okay at the sentence/paragraph level. The whole shebang will be laid out in the 1-pager and above.

So what do you think? Feedback, please!

The Murderess's Tale, by Susan Adrian


One Sentence

In 1387 England, Katherine Middleton learns too late that she trusted the wrong man—and now she must pull herself, and her family, out of a dangerous tangle.

One Paragraph

When 16-year-old Katherine Middleton catches her father in flagrante delicto in Durham Cathedral, it is not just an embarrassment; in fourteenth-century England it is a sin, and a crime. For Katherine it is both utter betrayal and a spur to do what she has yearned for: marry Thomas Rode, a charming older man. When Thomas takes Katherine to his mother in York she expects a warm welcome, a joyous wedding, and a new family to replace the one she has left behind. Instead she finds a household mired in secrets and fear. Why are the servants so afraid of Thomas’s mother? Why is Thomas so distant, continually putting off the promised wedding? Who informed the authorities of her father’s crime…and where has he gone? In this longed-for new world, she encounters black magic, an unwilling concubine, a royal child, a rogue monk or two, and—possibly—the true nature of trust, and love.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Susan:
This stuck out for me:
"A spur to do what she has yearned for" - maybe "A spur to do what she has yearned to do?" or "A spur to get what she has yearned for"?
One of the things I thought was so good was the phenomenal growth of Katherine, and how, through experience and hardship she comes to a greater depth of understanding, and thus forgiveness. Can you work that in there? :o)
I haven't read your whole post yet, if I get a chance I'll come back later.
Cindy D

Susan Adrian said...

Cindy:

Hmmm, that spur line could use some work. Maybe just "a spur to get what she wants". {s}

And that's a very nice comment about Katherine. Don't know if I can wedge that into the blurb, but if not maybe I can quote you sometime...

Susan Adrian said...

Cindy:

Oh, and thank you!

Julie K said...

Like both a lot...and I have to agree with Cindy that the 'spur' line sticks out...hmmm, maybe point, or propel.. "and propels her to take the risk and do what she has yearned for most: marry Thomas Rhode." Hmmm, let me ponder and see if I come up with anything else.

I like the "a rogue monk or two" - very nice and evocative and it lightens the end of the paragraph a bit.

In the middle, maybe the 'household is mired in secrets, fear and a wealth of quesitons." I dunno about that suggestion, but it could help lead into the series of questions.

I always worry that I'm just playing with words - I could do this forever in my own writing. Susan, I think this is a very strong paragraph - so feel free to take any and all my suggestions with a grain of salt [g]!

Julie

Susan Adrian said...

Thank you, Julie! I really appreciate your suggestions. I'll play with it a little more...

Suze

Anonymous said...

Susan,

I'm not all that familiar with your book---how old is Thomas? The way he's described, "a charming older man," I picture him as middle aged or even older. Is he that much older than Katherine, or is he more like 25 to her 16? I don't know how much it matters, but you might not want Thomas to come across as a graying substitute father figure.

Julianne

sara said...

Susan,

The one sentence version struck me as a bit vague. Let me play with it, maybe it'll give you some ideas:

When Katherine Middleton catches her father _in flagrante delicto_ in Durham Cathedral--in 1387 England--the crime propels her into trusting the wrong man, and soon she must fight to save her family, the life of a royal child, and herself.

(Is Isabelle the royal child? And you might want to put in exactly what she's fighting against, there, if not too clunky.)

The blurb is great as is, IMO! Some minor minor comments:

>>in flagrante delicto in Durham Cathedral, it is not just an embarrassment; in fourteenth-century England it is a sin, and a crime.<<

Since the crime part is so much stronger, do you need to mention the sin? It strikes me as implied already. "in fourteenth-century England it is a crime".

>>For Katherine it is both utter betrayal and a spur to do what she has yearned for:<<

a spur to follow her heart and marry Thomas Rode?

>>marry Thomas Rode, a charming older man.<< I agree with Julianne that if he isn't middle aged, you might want to rephrase.

>>Instead she finds a household mired in secrets and fear. Why are the servants so afraid of Thomas’s mother?<<

"and fear" and "so afraid" strike me as a bit redundant. Maybe just "mired in secrets?"

Anyway, great blurb! I'm dying to read the book now! (Well, I was already dying to read it _before_ this, but still... it's irresistible.)

/Sara E.

Susan Adrian said...

Julianne:

Good point! I just added that, but he's definitely not middle-aged. I'll fix.

Thanks!

Susan Adrian said...

Sara:

Ooooh, some good nits. Thank you very much! I'll attack it again today. And you're right, the more detailed sentence--going backwards from the paragraph, really--is stronger.

Thank you! (And I'm thrilled it makes you want to read it!)

Beth said...

Am I too late to comment on these?

The first one is a little bland.

The second one ROCKS.

Susan Adrian said...

Thanks, Beth! Never too late. {g}

Fortunately, the first was just for practice; the second is what I use on my query letters.