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  1. A_budding_writer
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    A_budding_writer New Member

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    Does this sound like an okay plot summary

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by A_budding_writer, Nov 25, 2015.

    "With his blonde hair and bright green eyes, most people would say Tyler is an attractive young guy. He's smart, sensitive, he can write poetry and play the guitar. He's the kind of guy any girl would love to be with. But life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. tyler grew up in intercity New York. His father was an abusive raging alcoholic and his mother worked 3 jobs just to support them. When he was 11 his father's abuse got out of hand and he was lucky to escape alive. From that point on he was free of the abuse but it's a long road to recovery. Now in his 20's he struggles to come to terms with the past and make a better life for himself. With the support of his loving girlfriend and close friends he soon finds love truly is the best medicine."

    Is it something that would draw people in and make them want to read my story? how can I make it better?
     
  2. A_budding_writer
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    A_budding_writer New Member

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    I revised it

    Plot
    With his blonde hair and bright green eyes, most people would say Tyler is an attractive young guy. He's smart, sensitive, and wise beyond his years. He can write poetry and play the guitar. He's the kind of guy any girl would love to be with. But life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. tyler grew up in intercity New York. His father was an abusive raging alcoholic and his mother worked 3 jobs just to support them. When he was 11 his father's abuse got out of hand and he was lucky to escape alive. Now in his 20's depression and anxiety take their toll on him. On top of that, his mother's cancer coming out of remission, life is seeming pretty bleak. That is until he meets Annie, A beautiful auburn haired girl. Tyler's charm and tender nature captivate her, and many others he comes in contact with. As their relationship grows, blessed with her unconditional love and support, he struggles to come to terms with the past and make a better life for himself.
     
  3. Bradley Parr
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    Bradley Parr Member

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    (Novice speaking here)
    If I am honest it doesn't 'Grip' me, but I am interested. (If that makes sense)
    The Protaganist has a strong back story to make for some decent plot development/drama etc... I assume you will be going with a "Tough Road to Final Love" route?
    Personally I would add a unique flare to either of the characters/story to really help it stand out from the rest.
    I hope this helps!
    (This message was finished with the Unrevised Plot Summary)

    Edit: Adding onto your Revised Plot. I love the small ways you have changed the wording, it sounds great!
     
  4. A_budding_writer
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    A_budding_writer New Member

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    thanks do you have any advice for making the protagonist (tyler) sound more unique? I'm actually doing the story itself in first person. I just wrote the synopsis in third because I felt it was a really good way to get the idea of his character across. I found it hard to do telling it in first person.
     
  5. Bradley Parr
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    Bradley Parr Member

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    Hey, sorry for the long reply.
    So honestly, it doesn't have to be the main character that has the 'Unique Flare'. Another word that could be used in this situation is 'Drive'. The plot is good, I can see where the story is going, but there needs to be that 'something more'. Off the top of my head, it's a tough one. I would need more information to really understand the concept.
    But in short, put your own mark on the story, something that makes you (The Author/Protagonist) stand out.
     
  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Is this a romance?

    There are two issues for me:
    • there is no hook (which Bradley alluded to)
    • where is the conflict?
    This sounds character driven, so the hook will ideally be something unique about Tyler, as already discussed in the thread. Only you can decide what makes him unique so I wouldn't recommend asking us on the forum to come up with ideas. But I can comment on the current information - I wouldn't lead with his appearance, because it's pretty much a given that the protagonists in a romance are good looking. If he wasn't, that would be a hook! Unless his blonde hair and blue eyes are somehow important to the plot, ditch them from this summary. We want to know about his personality, not his colouring.

    So what do we know about his personality? "Smart, sensitive and wise beyond his years" - He sounds like a teenager - EVERY teenager thinks they are those things. That might help a YA audience connect with him, but probably not an adult one and it's not a unique selling point. Writing poetry and playing the guitar seem like typical hobbies for a "sensitive" guy. If he was a ballet dancer who'd grown up in inner-city New York... hey, that's interesting. I am not recommending that you make him a ballet dancer. :D

    Beautiful auburn haired girls are among the most common love interests in YA novels. Nothing wrong with that (my own female romance character is a redhead) but if she's got emerald green eyes, you're in trouble! Again, you don't mention her personality. We know why she likes Tyler (although again, it sounds like she could fall in love with any nice man) but why does he love her?

    Now, the most important thing of all - where's the conflict? He has a sad past. His mother is suffering from a horrible disease. He's depressed. But he's blessed with the unconditional love and support of a beautiful girl which, in a romance, is the most important thing. What we need to know is what keeps him and Beautiful Auburn Haired Girl apart. What are the barriers to their relationship?

    If it's not a romance, the summary needs to change to reflect that. At the moment it sounds like his love for BAHG is the driving force behind the plot, which indicates a romance.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2015
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  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd ditch the first couple sentences and start with "Tyler grew up in..."
    For the rest I agree with Tenderiser. What's the hook? What's the conflict?
    It looks to me that the story is more about his inner journey, what I'd like to know is what happens in his outer world. Something He's actually DOING in the story. "Coming to terms with his past" doesn't hint on anything actually happening outside his head. And as important as that might be, I want to get a feeling of a story with something actually happening.
     
  8. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    It seems that Tyler doesn't have a goal to work towards. There is nothing wrong with the character or giving him a romance. But he is just wondering through the romance thinking well we'll see how this goes, or so it seems from what you wrote. If he had a goal to work towards rather than just seeing what will happen, it can produce more conflict, at least in my opinion.
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    With his blonde hair and bright green eyes, most people would say Tyler is an attractive young guy. He's smart, sensitive, and wise beyond his years. He can write poetry and play the guitar. He's the kind of guy any girl would love to be with. But life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. tyler grew up in intercity New York.

    The emphasis on his physical attributes - mundane ones - gives me the vibe that you're a novice. This wouldn't be a great first impression to an agent. The fact that you use "most people would say..." leads me to think there's some contrast you're going for in the next sentence, something like, "Most would say he's lucky, but..." That's not what you're going for, however. The line "He's smart, sensitive, and wise beyond his years" is pure cliche, especially the last part - says very little and you're painting him out to be the perfect guy, which gives me the impression of a flat character. "He can write poetry and play the guitar" is an irrelevant statement. You're trying too hard to paint him into the perfect guy. Portraying him as perfect and supposedly likeable does not necessarily heighten my sense of sympathy for him on discovering that he has an abusive alcoholic father, or that he unfortunately lives in intercity New York :p

    Lastly, there's unintended humour here. "But life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Tyler grew up in intercity New York."

    What you're really going for is the line following, about the abusive father - that's what you mean when you wrote life isn't all sunshine etc. By following the rainbows line with "Tyler grew up in intercity New York", you've worked in a major anti-climax that makes it funny, done by implying that it is by living in intercity New York that's made his life so woefully bad. This is not a point in your narrative when you want readers to find humour.


    His father was an abusive raging alcoholic and his mother worked 3 jobs just to support them. When he was 11 his father's abuse got out of hand and he was lucky to escape alive. Now in his 20's depression and anxiety take their toll on him. On top of that, his mother's cancer coming out of remission, life is seeming pretty bleak. That is until he meets Annie, A beautiful auburn haired girl. Tyler's charm and tender nature captivate her, and many others he comes in contact with.

    "That is until he meets Annie" - so you imply life was bleak and his depression was a burden to him until he meets Annie, who makes life better. That's fine. But then the next line: "Tyler's charm and tender nature captivate her, and many others he comes in contact with." You've changed point of view here, suddenly taking it from Annie's POV and no longer Tyler's. What's his captivating her got to do with his life being made better by Annie? "and many others he comes in contact with" is also completely unrelated to the main point of Annie making Tyler's life better. It's also vague and doesn't tell me anything at all, and can be omitted. Also, again, there's that strange emphasis on hair colour - is her auburn hair important to the plot? I doubt it. Delete. This is a plot summary, after all.

    As their relationship grows, blessed with her unconditional love and support, he struggles to come to terms with the past and make a better life for himself.

    "blessed with her... love, he struggles to come to terms with the past..." - do you see how weird that sounds? It's as if I'd write: "Blessed with good health, he struggles to complete the marathon." The word "struggles" implies difficulty and great effort - but the idea that Tyler has been blessed with unconditional love and support means I will assume Annie has made it less difficult for him. The two ideas are in conflict. "Struggle" is the wrong word to use here.

    In conclusion, I agree with the others that there's no hook in the summary and no goal for Tyler either. We already know he gets the girl since you write he's been blessed with her unconditional love and support - so what else is there? You've expanded mostly on his back story, but I don't yet know what the story is - the thing I'll actually be reading, as opposed to what makes Tyler the way he is. I'm not convinced this is a plot summary at all - most of what you've written can probably be condensed into a few sentences. I'm uncertain as to whether this is mainly a romance between Tyler and Annie, or drama about Tyler and his family - if Tyler's ultimate struggle is to cope with his depression and come to terms with things, or if it's how he deals with his mother's cancer.
     
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  10. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fact. Most abusers come from abusive backgrounds.
    Fact. Depression and anxiety don't lead to people being charming, they actually tend to lead towards people becoming shut-ins. They're not likely to even meet a pretty girl, or the "many others he comes in contact with".

    My problem is the sheer implausibility of just how black his past (and present) is compared to how golden he has emerged from it.
     
  11. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    It's not something I'd find myself reading, but it's not alien to me. I've come across books with these kind of blurbs and it seems like you're on the right track. Just sort out any errors and word it to the best of your ability. Make it read as fluidly as you can. Perhaps leave out the happy ending about his GF and friends making his life complete. I'd probably rephrase it to make the reader interested in picking it up without knowing how the protagonist is going to fix his life.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It can happen - but the OP hasn't quite managed to express the complexity of this that would make it reasonable and believable.
     
  13. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, it can happen. But "depression and anxiety" are mental conditions that can take professional help to overcome. It sounds as if this MC is just a typical angsty teenager.
     
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  14. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    I think this has the potential to be a compelling story idea, but there are some things that are raising red flags for me.

    As it's mentioned above, I agree with the implausibility of abusive, alcoholic dad + [seemingly submissive] hardworking mom = sensitive, charming, handsome, musically/poetically gifted son. Tyler needs to be more real. What does he struggle with? Does he feel a lot of guilt for his mother trying to foster his musical talents by buying him a guitar she could barely afford? How is becoming a man affecting his relationship with his father--is he big enough to stand up for himself (or his mom) now, or is he hating himself for being too terrified to face him? Is he alienated from his peers because of his home life? Was he an ugly duckling who seemed to grow into a handsome young man over the course of a summer, and now that he's back in school, he's having to adjust to and interpret the female attention he's receiving? Is he ashamed of his home life and his parents, or does he defend them?

    Another thing I'd be cautious about is the manic-pixie-dream-girl trap. If he is living his life the same way every day, refusing to do anything outside of his comfort zone, and he somehow meets a quirky, bright, funny girl who brightens the world he didn't know was dark and helps him overcome his struggles by being her cheery, wonderful self, then you've fallen into the trap. Everyone has flaws, every [compelling] relationship has some degree of tension, and a key part of character development is having traits and/or capabilities within the character himself to overcome obstacles and learn from mistakes.

    I'm not saying that your story will have either of these problems listed above, but these are just some things to keep in mind while you're fleshing out your plot. :)
     
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  15. UpstateWriter
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    UpstateWriter Member

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    Others have given great advice. But I do agree that you need not start with his physical description. Publishers call this a "laundry list" and tend to avoid it.
     
  16. oTTo
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    I suffer from depression and anxiety, which can happen when you grow up as a bullied child. I also had to deal with the worst of it primarily during my early 20's (I am 30 now), when I was alone (I am married for 8 years now), and had no real responsibilities (I have 2 sons and a third on the way). It was just me, but I was also a soldier in the Army. I had outlets, I had structure, I had drive put in my face to keep my mind occupied and my body moving.

    Reading this summary about this guy, who I could relate to by age and shortcomings, I am more curious about how he found the unconditional love. My wife and I met in the Army, both soldiers, and as veterans now we are very repayable and bonded deeply. Our bond as soldiers makes our love and understanding of each other better. I have these questions about who Tyler is, but I have to say I don't like him as a person. It screams "look at me, look at me! Look at what I can do!" Mr. Sensitive-Guitar player. He grows up skilled in culture, regardless or because of the abusive father, and didn't get any hardness into him? It feels like there is going to be things happening to make him change, is that love really going to be unconditional? What about kids? Will he want any? What if she does/doesn't?

    I want to read this. You've given me emotional connection to a character. Not liking him, doesn't mean I would change him... there are plenty of characters who are the worst people and I still love the character, but hate the person they exist as in that reality.
     

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