Ok, so here is a rough synopsis of a novel that I have had saved and not worked on for ages. I've decided to scap what I have got and restart and this is what I have planned. Read through and tell me what you think.
Like I said it's pretty rough!
It wasn't as bad as you made out. You had enough mysterious plot twists to keep me interested to the end. The only problems are that the prose needs a little work, and the emotions of Andi need to come across more. Make sure to use active verbs, capitalize each character's name (like CHARON) the first time they're mentioned, and don't be afraid of adding a little melodrama.
Post a comment on my homepage if you revise, and I'll take another look and give you a line-by-line. :-D
Hey, thanks Laura for your input!
Originally I wrote this as a kind of plan so I know what was going to happen, but I can see where you are coming from. I'm glad you don't think that it's not too bad - I seriously thought that I would have to scrap the whole thing and start again!
Thanks for all your suggestions - I hate having to write these kinds of things; I either write too much or not enough, I can never find a comfortable middle!
Cheers - Sophie
since i can't zip back and forth between the pdf and the reply space, i just copied the whole thing below and i'll post my comments in caps. i am not shouting at you! this sounds like a great read. and i suck at synopses myself, but here's my take:
A Death’s Apprentice Novel
Verdandi Brooks (Andi) is a seventeen NEED A -year NEED A -old girl on her way home from a movie with her friends. HOW ABOUT "SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD ANDI IS ON THE WAY HOME FROM A MOVIE WITH HER FRIENDS WHEN . . . " THE SLOW STEP-BY-STEP TO GET IN TO THE STORY SLOWS DOWN THE WHOLE PACE -- YOU WANT THIS TO SOUND AS EXCITING AS IT IS.
They are all discussing the movie, going on about how bad the special effect were and how cheesy
the romance was. As they are going through an intersection, a car runs a red light a hits them. Andi
can see her friend Nikki is conscious DO YOU MEAN UNCONSCIOUS? and her other two friends are freaking out but she can’t hear
anything. A witness has run over and everything is starting to go fuzzy. As the paramedics arrive,
Andi notices a dark, cloaked figure standing behind them; in his hand he is holding an hour glass. As
the glass starts to crack, Andi’s vision starts to fade in and out before hearing her friend Nikki call out
When Andi come’NO APOSTROPHEs to, she finds herself at the base of a huge stair caseONE WORD that seemedSHIFT IN VERB TENSE to just go on and
on. Next to her is the cloaked man who tells her that Charon will show her the rest of the way before
disappearing before her eyes. Charon arrives and demands payment to show her up the stairs. All
Andi has is a slinky and she has to explain how it works before Charon takes it as payment. LOVE THIS When
they get to the top of the stairs they meet a man named Peter and Charon evaporates into thin air.
Peter then explains to Andi that she has died and she is standing at the gates into OF heaven. At first
Andi believes that Peter is telling a joke and that he has been put up to it by her older brothers. After
some convincing, Andi is shocked to find out that she is dead. After taking the anger reaction to her
death, Peter suggests they take a walk so he can further prove that she is dead. As they walk away
Andi asks why the gate isn’t glowing and Peter explains that it has yet to be repainted. Andi sulks
that she dies before she is able to see the fully glowing gates.
Peter takes her into what seems to be a very posh apartment. She tries to introduce herself to the
man who is there only to find that he knows exactly who she is. When she asks who he is he replies:
‘I go by many names, Andi,’ He said and started to walk toward me. I'D CUT THIS -- IT'S REALLY CONFUSING ‘To the Celtics I am known as
L’Ankou. To the Polish I am known as Śmierć and the Lithuanians have named me Giltiné and the
Hindu have named me Yamraj. To the Greeks I’m known as Cronus and to the Romans I am known as
Saturn. I am also known as Father Time. But you, Andi, will know me as either the Grim Reaper or
Death,’ He explained and held out his hand.DITTO -- DON'T CUT AND PASTE A PART OF THE NOVEL ‘But I prefer to be called Julius.”
Julius then takes Andi into the hourglass room and shows her her hourglass which is still cracked.
Julius explains that he doesn’t know how the hourglass cracked as normally the sand just stops
running but it is almost like someone had paused it. They then go and have tea and Julius makes her
an offer. Either she can go back with Peter and go through the gates and live the rest of eternity in
heaven, or she can stay with him and learn how to become the next Reaper, as he has started to
consider retiring soon – in the next hundred years or so. Andi agrees.
Andi is introduced to Jean Claude and Andi begins her training – learning how to collect souls, handle
the hourglasses and so on. She also meets Liv (aka life CAPITAL L?) – a woman who is in charge of giving life to
new souls or recycling the old ones if they wish to take on a new adventure.
After months of training Andi is finally given her first assignment – she is to cross over a seventeen
year old boy name Matthew. When she arrives in his room and finds him trying to hang himself she realises that she can’t just stand around and let him kill himself, so she reveals herself. After scaring
him half to death, Andi explains why she was there and asks the reason why he was trying to kill
himself. He explains that he is so sure that he is going crazy because for the past few months he has
been seeing his dead mother all over the place, or at least her dopple ganger.
Andi decides to help Matthew find out what is going on and together they start to track down all the
records of what happened to his mother. Eventually, Andi realisedKEEP VERB TENSE CONSISTENT that something doesn’t add up
and decides to check the hour glass room. When she gets there she finds that Matthew’s mother’s
hourglass is still running and she isn’t dead. When she goes to tell Matthew what she has found out,
she arrives just as a couple of large men are trying to kidnap him. After creating a distraction, they
get away and Andi finally tells Matthew what she has found. They follow the men and find out the
Matthew’s mother went into hiding from her family who believe that when she left Brazil she took
documents linking them to drugs ???? and they believe that Matthew knows where she is.
Back at Matthew’s home they catch a woman searching through the study and find that it is
Matthew’s mother. She explains everything, from her leaving Brazil to finding out that her family
was after her to making a deal with the police. She needed to come back for the notes to give the
police so that the men could finally be arrested. At that moment the men arrive and Andi sneaks out
to phone the police as no one but Matthew is able to see her. The police arrive just in time to save
Matthew and his mother. At the hospital, Andi is watching the family reunion when Julius arrives. At
first she thinks that he is going to get mad at her but then he explained that he is proud of her and
how she handled the situation. Julius then takes her to her parents’ house and is able to say her final
goodbyes to them before leaving them for good.
The novel ends:
I remember reading Harry Potter and Dumbledore said “To the well organised mind, death it IS
but the next adventure”. Well I’d hate to burst Dumbledore’s bubble, but death isn’t an
adventure. All it is is a process which takes you to the spiritual world where you can sit and
have a sandwich with Elvis or talk modern art with Michelangelo. Death isn’t an adventure;
it’s just the beginning of a more relaxing era.
How do I know this?
My name is Verdandi Brooks, but you can call me Andi, and I am a Grim Reaper in
Or what Julius calls a Death’s Apprentice. I'M NOT SURE YOU CAN DO THIS, BUT CHECK WITH OTHER PEOPLE. I KNOW ONLY THAT AS A READER, THIS PATCHWORK OF EXCERPTS FROM THE NOVEL AND STRAIGHT THIS-HAPPENS-THEN-THIS-HAPPENS IS CONFUSING ENOUGH TO MAKE YOUR NOVEL SEEM POTENTIALLY CONVOLUTED AND HARD TO FOLLOW.
good luck -- you have a great premise here!
Interesting that we have a seventeen-year-old grim reaper. Very different and catchy.
My biggest suggestion is to take out all of the quotes (Also as a point of punctuation, don't use single quotes unless they are inside double ones.) You want to introduce your main characters and their main conflicts and weave them together in the narrative. Try to capture the voice of your character and show how she moves from being one person at the start of your story and ends up being another. The specific lines from the book aren't necessary.
Keep trying. These are hard.
I think you should start with the last paragraph, it really grabbed me. You give a lot of backstory in the first page. Where it picked up for me was when she met the boy and stopped his suicide. I am no expert at synopsis, but I'm always hearing that a synopsis isn't a list of events: this happened, then this happened, etc. I'd gloss over the details about the boys mom and talk about how she helps him solve the mystery even though this might get her fired or worse by the boss grim reaper.
Sounds like a fun book.
I'm really torn. I really like starting with the last two lines, but I've heard that a synopsis should be in third person. If I was to summ your story in a few sentences it seems like. Girl becomes grim reaper. Girl saves boy's life. Girl helps boy find missing mother. Girl disappears. I'd focus more on this and put less details in about the car wreck. I'd leave out the bit with the slinky and Charon. (doesn't seem like a major plot point) I agree with Stephanie about tightening up the part where she meets Julius. You can say he has many names, but don't list them, just say she might think of him as the grim reaper. and look at putting more of Andi's voice in the rest of the piece.
If you try first person I would do this. Start with " My name is Verdandi Brooks, but you can call me Andi, and I am a Grim Reaper in training, or what Julius calls a Death’s Apprentice." Maybe go into... "It all started with a car wreck."