In our regular series The Long Road to Publication, winner of our First Page Competition Andy Smith describes the stages of his journey, the highs, lows and bits where nothing happens. This week, he's taken the brave step of sharing his synopsis.The Triskele Books team went through it in detail and below, we offer some suggestions for improvement.
Name: Andrew Smith
Title: Breaking the Lore
Word Length: 90,000
Title: Breaking the Lore
Word Length: 90,000
Triskele: First things first, add the vital detail in the top right hand corner. Also use Times New Roman and 12pt font. Ideally the synopsis should fit on one page.
Triskele: This opening is less powerful than the opening of the book. We suggest using your first two lines instead.
Discovering fairies at the bottom of the garden is supposed to be good luck. Except when the fairy’s been crucified.
The detective’s rational mind struggles to cope with
such an irrational situation. Triskele: That is a great line! When
another victim is found – a centaur Triskele:
How did it die? A beheaded centaur? A centaur shot through the heart? – he
seeks expert advice. Cassandra du Mort CASSANDRA DU MORT
is a witch, a free spirit who the stuffy Inspector finds hard to handle. She
views the bizarre proceedings as an big Triskele: Pick a word she herself might use enormous/enchanting adventure , to his chagrin.
Faced with conflicting evidence and more weird events, Triskele: Weak filler. Give a couple of examples of weird events? Paris tries to find answers without losing his marbles.
until he Finally he pieces everything
together. Demons from the mystic realm are planning to
invade. want to invade ours.
Triskele: Now we need to up the tension.
At the same time he comes to appreciate, and rely
upon, If he
is going to repel the demonic invasion, he needs the help of his fantastical
friends. the magical creatures he is working with. He is also
taking a shine to Triskele: This is telling. Show us with a
hint. Cassandra, even though he still thinks she is bonkers, has quite a nice smile/lovely green eyes. The novel’s
underlying theme is how people different from yourself are not always a threat
and can actually make a valuable contribution. Paris’ journey takes him to this
realisation. And he thought he was simply solving a case. Triskele: This is not the right place or
tone for this.*
Demonic activity increases until they launch their main assault. Paris discerns their weakness, allowing the British army to drive them back. As they retreat, they take a hostage Triskele: Who? Why do we care?: his best friend and right-hand man, Bonetti (We added Bonetti in paragraph one so this kidnap makes us care). Accompanied by a motley collection of magical beings, Paris ventures into the mystic world
on a rescue mission
him. Cut loose from all he knows, Paris realises
people different from himself yourself
are not always a threat and can actually make a valuable contribution.. And he
thought he was simply solving a case.
Their mission is successful, but the group are betrayed. Captured, they
have to face the fearsome demon king, who
reveals his . A new plan to conquer mankind is revealed. Paris
has to stop it. Triskele: Need
something stronger here. The only thing stopping
him is Inspector Nick Paris. Realising logic will not help, he opts for
the illogical. He challenges : challenging
the king to combat. A drinking contest. Paris wins. Humanity is saved by the
power of whisky. Triskele: Terrific
ending and totally tied to character.
The Vanethria disperse. Liberated magical races celebrate as Paris and Cassandra’s relationship blossoms. A whole new journey awaits. Triskele: Perfect end lines to lead us to the sequel.
In tightening the synopsis, we focused on these things:
- Hit those dynamic nouns and verbs, cut all the fluff.
- End each line on a punchy word.
- Capitalise names when introducing characters.
- Try to make sentences active rather than passive. Eg: 'he reveals his plan' not 'his plan is revealed'
- Avoid repetition, eg: the word ‘bizarre’ twice in two paragraphs.
- Keep the tone of the novel.
- Add intriguing details/examples.
- Vary sentence length and patterns.
- Stay in the story and don’t be tempted to explain as author.*
- Ensure the synopsis follows the tension of the novel – set the scene, complicate and all the drama of the final act.
Authors, don't forget! You can win a year's mentoring from the Triskele Books team by entering our Big Five Competition. Deadline is 7th July.