1. Viserion

    Viserion Senior Member

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    Synopsis Would you read this novella based solely off the synopsis?

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Viserion, Dec 1, 2020.

    What the title says. Would you read this?

    ________________________________
    In the Imperium of Andea, one in a thousand men can ride a dragon. Such men have a bond with a fire-breathing monster capable of laying waste to entire cities. Those who do so are second only to the Imperial Family, and gain the chance to prove themselves in battle.

    Three riderless dragons are available, and three people are willing to face the fire.

    Jacerion is a noble bastard, and all he wishes is to be acknowledged by his father. The only way for a bastard to be made legitimate is to tame a dragon.

    Iriena’s parents wish to marry her off when she turns sixteen. To escape that fate, she dresses in her dead brother’s clothes and escapes in the night to try her luck.

    Aren’s father died facing a dragon many say is untamable. Aren himself will not live out his days as a simple fisherman. He wishes to succeed where his father failed.

    Drawn together by fate or chance, they are soon tossed into a war that spans continents, and not everyone will make it out alive...
     
  2. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    No, I wouldn't. There are tons of books out there about dragon tamers and dragon-human bonds that, to me, have a more interesting synopsis. So if I read this in amongst all them, while it does interest me because I like these stories, I would likely choose The Dragon Tamer or The Ice Dragon. They just appeal more to me. It's not whether someone would read it based on the synopsis, it's that they would choose yours over other available work. That's the tricky bit.
    I hope this was helpful to you
     
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  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    i pretty much agree with cosmic - theres nothing new being presented here.. three dragon riders.. so what ? I'd suggest the blurb needs to establish some stakes, why do they need to become dragon riders and what will happen if they fail ?
     
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  4. Viserion

    Viserion Senior Member

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    It was, thank you.

    Gotcha.
     
  5. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'd centre upon what each character gains and loses - personally I find the characters' backstories and motivation compelling. The premise itself with the dragons is not. Something like "But only one will succeed, but at what price?" (don't use such a cheesy line, you know what I mean) I think what I'm missing from the blurb (it's not a synopsis) is who I'm meant to root for, and what's the deeper conflict when inevitably one wins and the other two lose? I'm looking for the connection - I don't mean that they're all connected by the need to tame a dragon - but the deeper, thematic connection.

    Personally I found Iriena and Aren intriguing. I don;t Jacerion's struggle with being a bastard didn't resonate with me at least partly because I don't know what it means to be a bastard - how does he suffer, what does it mean for his life, that he is a bastard? So that I can sympathise with his need to become legitimate. It doesn't feel like taming a dragon would fix his relationship with his father really.
     
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  6. ruskaya

    ruskaya Active Member

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    not a pro, yet very curious
    I agree with the others as well, the problem this novella has is that it is just a list of common tropes. However, if you add for example a side story line that contrasts with what is going on, creating a sense that the novella could go in unexpected directions, then it could work.
     
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  7. Viserion

    Viserion Senior Member

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    I see what you’re saying.

    Essentially, taming a dragon is about the only way to be made legitimate. There’s a lot of stigma against bastards, especially seeing as his mother’s a ‘lady of the night’. Jace hasn’t really had any sort of relationship with his father either way- the only reason he knows he’s his father’s son is because he looks identical to him.
     
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  8. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I think what everybody is saying here is 'what's your story?'

    So far, you've sketched your three main characters and told us what they bring to the story, but not much else. Who are the antagonists? What is the conflict about, exactly? 'A war that spans continents' isn't enough.

    An effective synopsis encapsulates the main story's conflict, as well as setting and main characters. A conflict has two sides. I'd see what you can do to bring the 'other side' into it. What does the other side 'want?' Is there a main character on the other side? A person or persons whom these three main characters will be dealing with?
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2020
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  9. Viserion

    Viserion Senior Member

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    Essentially, the characters are all drawn into the War they’ve ben hearing about all their lives and seeing what that means. The people they’re fighting are just like them, and before long they’re ordered to participate in what is essentially genocide. A lot of the conflict stems from the fact that their commander is very good at keeping her more insane impulses a secret (not to mention that she’s the Emperor’s sister), so all they can show is technically acceptable orders from her.

    Not to mention magic is beginning to appear for the first time, causing chaos.
     
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  10. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    It's not me who needs to know this stuff ...it needs to appear somewhere in your synopsis.

    Does the commander have a name? Why does she favour genocide? So does this mean your characters will be opposed to her from the start? Is their (secret, and unifying) mission to stop this genocide in some way? Or is the conflict about them discovering, too late, and to their horror, that their commander is actually insane—and they've been helping her? What does she do to trigger that rude awakening? And now your three dragon riders need to make amends before things go beyond repair?

    Identify the conflict, and make that clear in the synopsis. Be careful about generalities...like 'insane impulses.' What insane impulses ? Be as specific as you can, because it will draw the reader in. Of course you will be leaving lots of it out as well ...people will need to read the whole story to get the picture ...like maybe about the magic, etc. We don't really need to know about magic being used for the first time, in order to get a sense of the conflict, do we?

    Focus on the specific conflict. The rest will take care of itself, as far as the synopsis is concerned.
     
  11. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    I feel like this is something completely different from your synopsis. So the story isn't about taming dragons at all, but about fighting a war (using dragons as a tool in it).

    I'm also unsure as to what it is you're trying to write. As I said, what you have is not a synopsis. A synopsis is the complete outline of the entire novel, including all twists and the ending. What you have isn't truly a query either, I feel. What you have reads like a back cover blurb. If you identify what it is you're actually trying to write, it might help. A blurb needs only to entice readers, and that's not so hard, and buzz words are allowed. A query would need to clearly state the stakes and goals in about 200 words and essentially detail roughly the inciting incident plus midpoint. A synopsis, as I said, is merely an outline of the whole book. The type of writing you need to do for each is vastly different.

    I'll show you the structure I took from a book called Save the Cat. I wrote my query based on this structure and I've had one full request as of yesterday - admittedly just one, but hey, my query can't be too bad? (disclaimer: only been querying for a month so many of my submissions have had no response yet)

    The structure is as follows:

    Paragraph 1: Set up, flawed hero, catalyst
    Paragraph 2: Inciting incident / fun and games
    Paragraph 3: Theme stated / Midpoint / All is lost​

    Give it a go and see if it gives you better direction in what you need to include. If you look at my signature, I used another template from Save the Cat, one for loglines, whose structure is as follows:

    On the verge of [stasis = death] moment, a flawed hero [breaks into 2]; but when the [Midpoint] happens, they must learn the [Theme stated] before the [All is lost].​

    I've found these templates to be very helpful. And if you find you can't answer the questions needed to fulfill the template, then chances are your book has structural problems.
     
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  12. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    That's really helpful, in my opinion!
     
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