I would love to be ready to submit to the panel next month and have already made use of the Query Kick Around and First Five Pages group so now it's onto the synopsis! I hate writing them and hope you guys can help me make this synopsis better! Thanks!
The main part of your story seems to be the girls adventure. This is just my opinion, but the whole thing with Vance and the healers doesn't seem necessary. I can't believe her parents wouldn't help. I have trouble believing she wouldn't have jewels or silver to barter with them or pay them with. The real story seems to start when she sets out on her adventure. My question, which will probably make you curse me, is can you cut the stuff about Vance and the healer and just have the princess set out on a quest for adventure because she finds life at the castle as a proper maiden stifling? You allude to her personality in the first sentence. I think that could be your set up. She could go on the adventure before she's condemned to be betrothed or something like that.
I did leave comments in the body of the synopsis, if you want to read them. I'm ducking and covering now.
Ten-year-old PRINCESS CASSANDRA prefers adventures to fashion, the wild outdoors to the stuffy castle, and her commoner friends over the ladies-in-waiting. I like this opening line much better. Good job. One morning, she and her friends, VANCE and KYLIE, ride to the Falls to look for mythological creatures. When Cassandra sees a mermaid, she guides her horse down the rocky terrain to get a better look. Vance and Kylie follow on their workhorse but cause a boulder to fall. Frightened, their horse throws them., and Vance pushes his sister Kylie out of the way before the boulder pins his leg to the ground. Cassandra and Kylie use a branch to lift the rock enough to free his leg. but he is gravely injured.
Upon returning to Sun Haven, Cassandra asks her parents for help, figuring they'll pay the kingdom's healers since Vance's family can't afford to. Unfortunately, her parents refuse, but after some persuasion, the king allows her to find work to earn the money.I still have issues with the parents refusing to pay-what type of horrible people wouldn't help a child who's hurt. I need a reason for this.
Cassandra asks the healers to help and promises she'll pay them later but they insist on payment upfront. She asks how much it will cost and tries to get a job in the marketplace only to learn that it would take her an entire year to earn enough copper. Doesn't' she have access to jewels or silver or something she can use to barter with them? Discouraged, Cassandra tries a different option. She heads to a nearby mountain, hoping the witch who lives there knows a healing spell, or if not, where some treasure may be.
Cassandra comes across a girl trapped in vines. She tries to free the girl when a wolf appears. After luring the wolf away, Cassandra returns to the girl, only she's gone. A woman comes, and Cassandra realizes she's the witch—and had been the girl, and the wolf.The witch is the girl and the wolf? Someone is siphoning the witch's power because of a treasure map she possesses. The witch gives her the map, saying the treasure will come at a price.
Cassandra returns home. Despite the warning, she makes plan to find the treasure. She convinces her parents she's ill classes and gets her handmaid to cover for her. After packing food and clothes, she leaves Sun Haven behind. She doesn't make it far when Vance and Kylie show up on their workhorse. The trio head into the Highland of Storms, a wretched land where the weather tries to kill trespassers. A large hailstone hits Vance on the head, knocking him unconscious. Cassandra sends them back to Sun Haven, to the healers. Why would the healers heal him this time? She continues on the treasure hunt, praying the healers will help Vance when they see how injured he is.
Cassandra and her horse brave the Highland to the next part of their journey, the Enchanted Jungle. They see many mythical creatures including an ant-lion and a cranky centaur. Love the cranky centaur. Then she comes across a sorcerer, the one who was stealing the witch's power. He wants the map, but before he can steal it, a manticore attacks, hungry for his flesh.
The princess and her horse flee and pass a laughing leucrota. Unfortunately, the next creature they come across is no laughing matter—it's a nasty yale. Her horse and the yale battle and her horse is victorious. As Cassandra hugs him in celebration, the centaur returns and vows she will be the death of her horse. Cassandra is horrified. She demands to know how the centaur could say such a thing, and he tells her he read it in the stars. Cassandra asks him to read them for her. The centaur agrees, but only after Cassandra promises to find him a parandrus, a large creature with the ability to camouflage itself. It doesn't take Cassandra and her horse, who she names Daydreamer, long to find it. But a hungry bear dog also has the creature in its sight. Cassandra jumps onto the parandrus' back so she'll be able to feel the creature, even if it changes its colors. She delivers the parandrus to the centaur.
Morning comes, and the centaur wakes Cassandra. The stars have foretold that the only way Cassandra can become the queen Sun Haven will one day need is for her to finish her quest.
Cassandra and Daydreamer march through the Jungle when they come across the bear dog again. Cassandra mounts Daydreamer, and they run away. The bear dog falls far behind, its legs too short to chase them. They run until they reach the Rainbow Mountains.
They explore the various caves in the mountain until a strange eagle-lion creature attacks Daydreamer. Cassandra manages to distract the creature and Daydreamer leaves the cave. She hurries after him, following his blood trail to the edge of a cliff.
Overcome with grief at Daydream's death, Cassandra's misery soon turns to anger. She marches back to the cave with a stone when the eagle-lion creature talks to her. He's a baby griffin, and he only attacked the horse because he was starving. His family abandoned him, and the griffin begs her to help find them. She and the griffin, Fire Eyes, make an uneasy truce: Cassandra will help him find his family if he will take her back home once she finds the treasure. This could be her "there's no place like home" epiphany.
They climb the mountainside. In a nearby cave, they find Fire Eyes' siblings and his mother, dead, their claws and feathers stripped.
Cassandra allows Fire Eyes to grieve before they move on. Before his parents left, his momma told Fire Eyes about the dragon who lives at the top of the mountain. Most likely, the treasure is within the dragon's horde. They wait until the dragon takes to the nighttime sky to enter his cave. Deep within the mountain is a large pile of gold and jewels and crowns. Fire Eyes plays with the treasure, while Cassandra rummages through it, terrified she won't recognize the specific treasure the map was written for before the dragon returns. And she doesn't.
The dragon enters the cave and roars. A hard-fought battle begins, and Fire Eyes tricks the dragon into flying into the wall. Cassandra frantically searches through the jewels and finds something strange—a small, wooden cup. Not knowing what else the map could have meant, she grabs it when the dragon kills Fire Eyes. Although she hated him at first, the two are now friends, and she cries until he stirs in her arms.
Their reunion is cut short when the dragon realizes Cassandra found his cup. He has been the cup's keeper for a long time and deems her worthy of it.
Exhausted, Cassandra and Fire Eyes find a small cave and fall asleep. The sound of gold clinking wakes Cassandra, and she's shocked that he had the courage to steal from a dragon.
Fire Eyes holds her with his talons, and they fly over the Enchanted Jungle until the griffin sees a pond. Cassandra dunks her wooden cup into the water, only it remains empty.
She came all this way for treasure and all she got was a worthless cup.
The next day, they reach the Highland of Storms. This time, Cassandra sits on Fire Eyes as he flies into a huge cloud. Massive hailstones are forming within the cloud, and Fire Eyes is hits several times, as is Cassandra, and soon she falls to the ground. Fire Eyes saves her by grabbing her with his talons. When a hailstone the size of a throne hits him, Cassandra falls a short distance to the ground. She drags Fire Eyes to the edge of Sun Haven. She is home. Finally.
Cassandra rushes to Vance's house. Kylie is thrilled to see her, having thought the princess dead when her horse returned alone. Although happy Daydreamer is alive, Cassandra only cares about Vance, and she runs to the healers. Vance's parents stand over his dead body What? Nooooo! as he lies on a bed. Cassandra cries, her tears filling the wooden cup. She forces Vance to drink. At first nothing happens, but then Vance comes back to life. That's cool.
Not wanting to intrude, Cassandra slips away as his parents rush to his side. She asks Fire Eyes for a gold coin to pay the healers, and he reluctantly gives one to her. A healer takes the coin and hands Cassandra a book. In her room, she examines the book and finds a picture of her cup with the caption: Chalice fashioned from the Tree of Life.
She climbs into bed when she realizes she hadn't paid a price for the treasure. At least, not yet. And the sorcerer knows where she lives. Surely he wouldn't give up so easily. Cassandra pushes her worries aside and falls asleep, already dreaming of her next adventure.
As a princess, Cassandra would be too irresponsible if she went on a dangerous quest on a whim after being warned that there's a price to be paid. There has to be a reason why she would risk her life to go after the treasure.
Although Cassandra's a princess, she isn't allowed near the treasury. And after she lost a valuable ring, all of her jewelry was confiscated by her mother. She's only allowed to wear them during important events or balls. I can include this into the synopsis.
As for her parents, her father doesn't think she should feel guilty since she didn't push the rock. Basically, her parents are trying to teach her a lesson about shirking her royal duties to run off with her friends. They don't approve of her being friends with commoners. Her father decides that if she wants to help, she has to earn the money herself but warns her that sometimes people will try to take advantage of a royal if they're too compassionate.
I get it now. I think you need to include this information in your synopsis because it made a huge difference for me. If you portray her as needing to prove she isn't cold hearted like her father, or irresponsible like her mother believes she is, that would go a long way to making her character more real (for me at least.)
Will do. Thanks for pointing out to me that that info needs to be included!
I like the premise you have here. My major thing is: her parents seem super callous, why would they not help Vance? Is it because she needs to learn something (like not wandering off?) And then, Vance and his healing is her whole reason for leaving--but then he and his sister join Cassandra on the adventure, even for just a short time. That's confusing. to me, at that point, she'd turn around.
Also, it'd be nice to know what she's searching for before she gets to the dragon's cave.
Watch your sentence structure--almost every paragraph starts with Cassandra, which you could fix with a little restructuring.
Overall, though, I like it. Best of luck! :)
What an imaginative tale, Nicole! I have a coupe of tweak to suggest for your synopsis.
Overal, I'd suggest you look for a couple of stronger verbs to mirro all the action in this story - a couple fo spots in the beginning stood out to me: after Vance's acciden "upon returing" - does she run home, stumble fro emotion? this might be a good place to show her feelings towards vVance in your description of the action.
ditto "came across a witch" make this more active.
a little nit: Thinks there's a phrase missing " she convinces her parents she's ill classes"
Another place to beef up your active description is when she leaves home. Instead of saying she packs her bag and leaves, how about mentioning one or two items she packs and how she leaves ie she sneaks a loaf of bread and some fruit in her bag and tiptoes out of the caste at midnight.
And what is her response to the mythical creatures is she dazzled? enchanted? You don't need much just a word or two will help us feel her world.
With Fire Eyes, you might be able to condense some of the intro so the sentences are punchier. Also there's a typo :
Fire Eyes is hits several times
At then end I wondered how she knew that Vance should drink from the cup. Bet it's a powerful scene in the book, but it could be more so here. Also, because there was so much going on with her quest, I kind of forgot about Vance. Maybe mention him at some point in the middle of a the synopsis as a motivator so we remember.
I'll bet this is an enchanting book. Another pass at this synopsis will take it from plot summary to something that really gives us the feel of the book.
Hope this helps.
I'm going to add to the other feedback:
Paragraph 1: A bit overly descriptive and lots of names thrown around. Focus on the pinnacle point but not all the details on how it happened. Also, you need a hook.
Paragraph 2: Where is the hook? Also the urgency from her?
Paragraph 3: Oooh, like this paragraph, Going to see the witch - never a good thing to do. Hook needed.
Paragraph 4: Oh, this sounds really exciting, girl in vines, wolf...And a price to be paid. Hook - how does she feel about the price? having to pay it?Paragraph 5: How did she make the decision that the price would be worth paying?Paragraph 6: Love the adventure here and hook is good - the hungry beast.Paragraph 7: Lots going on in this paragraph and the flow is good. Hook could be stronger, "She delivers the parandrus to the centaur."Paragraph 8: Hook needed. "Finish her quest."Paragraph 9: Hook needed. "reach the Rainbow Mountains"
Paragraph 11: Stronger hook needed "home once she finds the treasure"
Paragraph 12: Eww, claws and feathers stripped. You could combine these small paragraphs.
Paragraph 17: Good voice.
Paragraph 18: Hook needed to "She is home. Finally."
Paragraph 19: Like that Vance comes back to life.
Paragraph 10: Love the twist Chalice fashioned from tree of life.
Paragraph 11: I wondered what the price would be also