1. Amaranth Iscariot

    Amaranth Iscariot New Member

    Oct 20, 2020
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    Synopsis Thoughts on my Synopsis? [Critique very welcome!]

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Amaranth Iscariot, Oct 20, 2020.

    So, I'm having a little trouble with my Query Letter. I've had some rejections already, the writing for the book itself seems fine, considering the feedback I got from it was overwhelmingly positive from proof readers, so I think I might be selling myself short or just not doing a thorough enough job.

    When asked for comparable Novels I always say three books : Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant, V.E Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic and Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.

    So, I'll leave a synopsis for the story, if anyone can help me out with this, I'll be so grateful!

    'Cirque Imaginarium' is a fast paced fantasy that encourages the reader to look at morality choices with a question everyone has asked at one time : What would happen if magic existed? And takes a look at how magic would interact with a modern day setting. It is a story of acceptance, overcoming obstacles, risk taking and sacrifice that shows that sometimes the hero doesn’t always get it right.

    The book opens at the performance of Anthony Barnum, a quick witted, sharp tongued and troublesome young Circus Ringmaster that happens to be a half-demon. He has a dream to perform at a world famous show, Carnaval. Anthony uses magic to encourage Mortals and Mages to live in harmony, whilst also using magic to boost his chances of gaining an audience. However, the governing body of the Magic community, The High Sages, disagrees with his actions and would rather use their influence and power to enslave Mortals, and anybody who tries to get in their way, even if it means getting rid of them. Anthony attempts to stop their plan whilst having to leave behind his dream of becoming a World-famous Showman, along the way he meets others like himself, including a Soothseeker who can read people’s minds, a Teleporter and an Elemental. Anthony is revealed to be a half-demon, from a deal he made when he was young with a powerful Mage, Pandora, who uses her magic to collect favours from those in need and cannot say no to her in return. Meanwhile, Talim is brewing up trouble from behind the scenes, a once feared Demi-God of Chaos and Discord that has risen from the ashes to watch from afar and will decide the fate of the World when the timing is right. Anthony’s plan to stop The High Sages fails and Magic is revealed to Mortals from a Livestream broadcasted across the World, as well as him being a half-demon. The Mortals don’t take kindly to their existence and Mages are forced back into hiding once more, where the waging war between Mortals and Mages grows tense and dangerous.
    CrimsonAngel likes this.
  2. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

    Aug 10, 2016
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    Devon UK
    Is this a query, or a synopsis?
  3. Kenny Starseed

    Kenny Starseed New Member

    Feb 8, 2021
    Likes Received:
    Los Angeles
    Currently Reading::
    Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire; Soul on Ice
    Same question as @Francis de Aguilar - you've posted a synopsis, but you state that you need help with a query. I know that sometimes literary agents/agencies request synopses in the query, so maybe that's what's going on here. As such, I'll put the question aside and focus on what you've posted.

    I would say that overall, the synopsis doesn't provide a clear enough sense of time/place (is this Earth? another planet? you state that the story takes place in a "modern day setting", but how modern? the 70s? 90s? 2010s?) or a clear enough sense of context for what is going on. It sounds like at the beginning of the story, "Mortals"/humans are not aware that they share earth/whatever planet with Mages, correct? You need to make that clear. A simple sentence like "In the year xxxx, human beings have unknowingly coexisted on earth with a race of magicians called Mages for [dozens][hundreds][thousands] of years.." Might help to explain where these Mages come from as well. Are they aliens? Or just a secret race from Earth/whatever planet?

    A few more questions/observations: what is the significance of Anthony being half-demon? Demons are typically considered to be bad, so I assume it's not positive, but that's not clear from your synopsis. Separately, while you give a description of who/what Talim is, we don't know enough about this world/what is going on to fully assess what you tell us about him/it. What do "brewing up trouble from behind the scenes" and "decide the fate of the World when the timing is right" mean? Do the others Anthony meets along the way assist him in his battle against the Mages? Assume yes, but that isn't clear from the synopsis. Finally, you mention that Anthony's plans to stop the Mages fails, but you don't give details. In a synopsis, you need to explain what happens in the book from beginning to end, and you can't omit necessary details.

    I'm not an expert on fantasy, but I know generally that for them to work, you have to give a strong sense of time and place and CLEARLY explain who everyone is and what's going on...I think it's referred to as "world building". Without careful world building, it's easy to confuse and lose the reader quickly. It's my understanding that synopses are supposed to be much longer than this. I would take the extra words to clearly build this world so we appreciate the stakes, and then also describe what happens in your book, from beginning to end. Might help to check out synopses for successful fantasy queries for examples.
    Lifeline likes this.

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