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  1. #1
    Jean Bonifacios

    Synopsis *Blaughck*

    It's 900 words. Thanks.

    As a professional, Josie can fix any situation no matter what you throw at her but her personal life is an absolute disaster.

    If only she could manage her love life as well as she manages the dysfunctional sports athletes she works PR for because when Josie is in charge, problems disappear. After her fiancé of seven years, Kevin, leaves her, she’s completely devastated and unable to function. Josie’s little sister, Anna, is a free-spirited airhead who always turns to Josie to bail her out of her latest mess. A typical phone call from Anna, which would usually incite exasperation, leads Josie to take a chance when Anna suggests a similar heartbreak. Packing her bags, she leaves the big city of Atlanta and returns to her childhood home, deep in the sticks of Central Florida, which she has avoided since her grandma’s death six months prior. Instead of equality, she finds Anna is not only dumped but also pregnant.

    Bowing to the inevitable, she contacts her colleague, Andrew, and arranges a working leave of absence to take care of her helpless sister. Her work is the only thing she can feel good about and control. Settling into the ridiculous and grueling task of the “mothering” role to her sister, it doesn’t help that her long time neighbor, Mark, who used to torment and tease her while growing up, is still living right next door. As she reluctantly acclimates to small town living and after some pestering from Mark, she finally agrees to go out on a date with him. Adding the humiliating reality of dating seems like a bad idea but Mark surprisingly provides the patience Josie needs to be okay with it.

    To Josie’s immense relief, Anna begins ready to embrace imminent motherhood and maturity. True to form, Josie is entrusted to woo a potential client, Monica, a high-strung diva and rising golf star, in the nearby city of Orlando. Unfortunately, Josie knows absolutely nothing about golf, which prompts Andrew to fly down to help. Josie is thrilled to see her partner but is alarmed as sparks immediately begin to fly between Andrew and Anna. Also, Andrew doesn’t seem to buy the identity of the father of Anna’s baby and he begins to react jealously. Unwilling to be more specific with Josie, he refuses to give details to her before flying back to Atlanta.

    Anxiously awaiting for a second meeting with Monica, Josie’s relationship with her sister is changing. They feel like equals for the first time and she’s really happy about it but Anna seems sad. Mark is also turning into someone special and isn’t really such an egotistical windbag anymore. When Andrew returns to close the deal with Monica, both he and Josie are shocked when the deal turns into a job offer to work with her instead. The decision to accept the offer is easy as Josie feels Atlanta no longer feels like home with its glittering lights. Her career and personal life are finally getting along splendidly and living in the sticks of Central Florida isn’t really that bad.

    Before embarking on their new career, they must settle some final clients back home and Josie plans to pick up some stuff from Kevin at her old home. During one last night in Atlanta, Andrew gets drunk and admits he believes Mark is the father of Anna’s baby. As Andrew lays out the details, Josie incredulously pieces through the clues she missed and realizes Andrew must be right. When Mark calls, she tells him that it’s over and he should take care of Anna and his baby.

    Waking up the next day and facing the reality of Mark and Anna’s betrayal, her enthusiasm of combining her career and personal life has waned. She still decides to go with the task of packing up her old life back at Kevin’s house. At her lowest point yet and realizing she has come full circle, Kevin and Mark show up at almost the same time. Confronting Mark with Anna’s pregnancy, the reaction she expects from Mark comes from Kevin. He is dumbfounded with Anna’s condition and starts asking peculiar questions that leave Josie with the correct conclusion. Mark isn’t the father of Anna’s baby, Kevin is. Her devastation turns to rage and only Mark’s intervention prevents her from killing Kevin.

    An apologetic Josie flies back home with Mark, dreading the thought of facing Anna again. Mark asks her to stay with him and she agrees, knowing she can still keep an eye on Anna from next door. A couple weeks go by and realizing what she has, she confidently and bravely asks Mark to marry her. With a new love and a new career, the only thing not under control is her relationship with her sister. Josie thinks she’s resigned herself to a life without her sister. After Anna begins to hemorrhage and is rushed to the hospital for an emergency delivery, Josie hysterically hurries to her side. Out of danger, Anna delivers a healthy baby girl.

    Spending a quiet moment together, Josie admits it would take a very long time to forgive Anna but she still loves her. It’s hard to be angry forever. Looking at the baby, who is a spitting image of Anna, she sees her as a new beginning and a second chance. Returning home with Mark, she’s ready and willing for all the new beginnings her life will continue to throw at her.

  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt

    Re: Synopsis *Blaughck*

    Are you more interested in just proofing the grammar or refining the story?

  3. #3
    Jean Bonifacios

    Re: Synopsis *Blaughck*

    I can't put anything else into this synopsis. I can't or I'm going to pull my hair out. Just hit me with what makes you want to staple your eyeballs shut or jump my bones. And a grammar reality check might be nice but anything is appreciated.

  4. #4
    John Oberon

    Re: Synopsis *Blaughck*

    Well, first...I found it very understandable and clear...nice and sequential. Not much confusion, that I could see right off. However, I'm sure you must see the dryness of the writing.

    Part of the reason for that dryness is your overuse of dependent/independent clause sentence structure. Take a look at your 6th paragraph...every sentence, the same structure...very sing-song. You use this sentence structure to the point of mannerism. So...vary your sentence structure more, and reduce the number of these dependent/independent clause sentences.

    Second, I see a lot of unnecessary words, particularly adverbs, eliminate them as much as possible.

    Third, you use a lot of good verbs, but you also use a lot of empty ones as well. On an even field of general impact, empty vs strong verbs, empty verbs win and suck the life out of your piece. Replace or eliminate them as much as possible.

    Finally, sequence steals your story. You know what I mean: this, then this, then this, then this. Yes, it's important to hit all the salient points of your story, but with extensive experience in marketing and advertising, I can say HOW you accomplish that goal is just as, if not more important, than the goal itself.

    That's generally what I see.

  5. #5
    Jean Bonifacios

    Re: Synopsis *Blaughck*

    Thank you John. I got rid of a lot of "when" and "after" words before posting. I'll perform a this-ectomy immediately.

    Thank you very much.

  6. #6
    martin shaw

    Re: Synopsis *Blaughck*

    It looks like you have gone into some heavy detail and told more or less the whole story making it slightly confusing. Perhaps an overall perspective from outside the box looking in would be more apt if you catch my drift.

    Also maybe this is too much to cram into nine hundred words, though I do find it well written, but if you condense it I’m sure it won’t lose its grip.
    Overall at the moment it’s just too much to get to grips with in one foul swoop.

    If you explain a car engine to someone who knows nothing about them, what would you say?

    I hope this helps.

  7. #7
    rock doctor

    Re: Synopsis *Blaughck*

    First off Jean, thanks for not posting a "dissertation". People often post way too much.

    Sometimes, I become lost in the tense that you use. It seems to jump from present to future, even past. Your character is doing something, then will do something, than has done something...etc. Maybe that is just your style and I am not used to it. Or (more likely) I am just not getting it for I struggle with tense myself.

    I agree with John. The tone and pace of the work seems like a road trip where the speed remains at 40mph, no slower, no faster. I would vary the sentence structure like he has suggested.

    I am not sure at what point in the story this section you posted comes, but I too feel like I've been bombarded with a ton of info...especially characters, and have trouble sorting out the signifance. With all that said, I liked reading it. Your main character comes as very familiar to me, and I would bet...to many.


  8. #8
    L Bea

    Re: Synopsis *Blaughck*

    Hi Jean,

    You always contribute so much to this forum so it's fun to be able to offer whatever pittance I can and hopefully you take it in the spirit it is given cuz I adore you, sweetie...

    Overall, I think this could be tightened up. The tricky thing when tightening is losing your voice and any momentum you may have going. I picture you having a few more rounds at this until you look like the guy from the movie Airplane who picked the wrong week to stop smoking, sniffing, drinking and whatever else.

    Your first sentence is not very stellar. Consider cutting "no matter what you throw at her." And the word absolute.

    Is "works PR for" proper? For some reason that feels awkward. Shouldn't it be does PR for? And even that I don't like.

    For because. Pick one.

    I feel like you already mentioned she's going to go help Anna (in the second paragraph) and then you kind of re-hash it in the third paragraph. It's like you back tracked a little in the third paragraph and overlapped too. See what I mean?

    Adding the humiliating reality of dating... I got lost. What are you adding that to?

    I found myself keeping track of who's who. In particular I struggled with Andrew. His first mention is so brief -- a colleague. And then he's jealous and involved deeply in the plot in the next paragraph. I had to go back and re-read to place him in the story.

    Overall, I do like your story. I think what happens when we do the synopsis is we try so hard to squeeze it all in and take a snapshot; it's so different than the fluidity of the manuscript where we get to focus in and really paint.

    Good luck,

  9. #9
    Jean Bonifacios

    Re: Synopsis *Blaughck*

    I take every opinion and use it, so thank you for taking the time to read and help me out.

    Most of the things that were pointed out are things that I added at the last minute. As for adverbs, I was told that the synopsis is probably the only place you can use them and not be frowned at. But in hindsight, are they really? You've got this great query and then your synopsis. An agent might mistake my overuse of adverbs in the synopsis and think my MS is littered with them (which it isn't). You just can't win. I didn't want it to come out as an outline. I went with a template of sorts. One blurb (Which L. Bea didn't like) Protagonist description and Antagonist description. Plot. Turning point. Second turning point. Black Plot. Happy ending all tied in a pretty bow.

    As for being bland, yeah. I know. I can't spice it up without overdoing it. I do see what needs to be taken out as TMI and who gives a flying you know what. Thank you for that. I just don't want it to be confusing. You all seem to get the premise of the story alright...I just need to wipe a bit of the "make-up" off.

    Thank you, thank you. All of your opinions really do help. I really appreciate you taking the time for me today.

  10. #10
    mar quesa

    Re: Synopsis *Blaughck*

    Hi jean,

    Good on you for persevering with this. You'll get there...

    I think this lacks cohesion. You jump from one subject to another. The biggest problem is that you’re incorporating summaries of the subplots, instead of following the events of the main plot only.

    I think that you need to focus on describing what happens in the story in a more “linear” way, skipping the minor subplots and adding a bit of personality to it- "the personality” has to match the tone of your ms...

    After being dumped by her fiancee of seven years and 20 days, the levelheaded, and acclaimed sports agent, Josie X goes doolally, neglecting even her personal hygiene and famous clients. She’s at the verge of losing it completely, when she receives a call from her airhead sister asking her to come down to Florida to “catch up” on the good times together”. Josie hesitates at first- little Anna is a big trouble. She is a user... a thorn of the flesh... a real pain in the butt. Oh, what the heck, she needs the distraction, and besides, after the pain of being dumped by a fiancee, staying with Anna for a couple of weeks should be a walk in the park, right? Wrong! When Josie arrives in Florida the first thing she notices about her sister isn’t her shaved head or the snake tattoo on her forehead; Anna is pregnant -a minor detail she forgot to mention on the phone. Josie should’ve known! Her sister’s up to something...

    This isn’t good, just an example to try to illustrate my point.

    I hope this helps,

    Keep at it.

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