HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    12

    Post-Apocalyptic Synopsis

    This used o be six pages, which I knew was way too much, so I rewrite it. Thanks for the help.

    The end of the world comes for Santa Rosa, California on September 22 2015. It is not brought by people, in the form of nuclear war, population explosion, or any such cause. It is brought by an earthquake, that washes over the shores of California and spreads east, destroying the entirety of the United States.
    It is no normal earthquake that destroys America. Normal earthquakes will put cracks in buildings, level brick structures and collapse towers. They will not, however, destroy the world. This earthquake is something more, something unpredictably strong, powerful and devastating. It levels everything to the ground, making buildings, whether they are small or large, strong or weak, fall in on their foundation as if they were made of plywood.
    Nobody thought something like this could happen. The world isnít as stable as it seems, and with humanity having records of less than a hundred thousand years of human history, we have seen less than the blink of an eye in the Earthís geological lifespan. Every now and then, the natural world has a spasm, the kind of natural disaster that topples empires, wipes out entire species of animals. Pompeii was one such cataclysm, the events of the 22nd are another.
    The earthquake destroys America, but itís not, as many would have thought, the end of humanity.
    Samuel Aber is sixteen. The earthquake takes his left eye, his aunt, and his home in Santa Rosa. In Samís position many would have given up. Sam does not. Many more would find it easy to live out a day to day existence of meager quality. Sam does not. He canít accept the earthquake as a thing to conquer him, and for this reason he fights against it. He works to rebuild some form of stability in his life, scavenging the ruins for supplies, meeting other refugees in the city and doing whatever he can to survive on a day to day basis, with his mind set on preparing for the future.
    Help isnít coming from the outside world. No government helicopters show up loaded with food, and none ever come. The city cannot expect outside help, everything they will ever have to survive with is in the city.
    As time passes food runs low. While others start to starve as scavenge-able material fades away, Sam lives through it. He has stockpiled everything he didnít need since the earthquake, never wasting a thing. If he ever had more food than the minimum he needed, he buried it in the backyard of his auntís house, saving it for a time he would need it the most.
    Santa Rosa is anarchistic. Passerby are just as likely to slit a personís throat for a can of beans as help each other, and things grow worse every day. Some people still hold onto a sense of decency however, banding in tight groups with the philosophy of having mutually guaranteed survival.
    These groups come together with the idea to build themselves a new life, in a home far north in the ruins of an old hospital. Sam joins them, and together they build a fortified community they call ďThe Compound.Ē
    Life is decent in The Compound. It isnít even close to how things used to be, before the earthquake, but itís still better than being homeless, down in the city. The compound has people who know how to insulate homes, farm food, build sewage systems, everything a self-sustaining community needs.
    In The Compound Sam settles down, finds a steady job as part of security, protecting the city from outsiders. The Compound is a good place , itís a settlement that works to keep its residents alive and safe. It does its job well.
    From the south something is moving. A great army has risen out of the wreckage of Southern California, made up of drugged out bums and drifters with the goal of conquering The Compound and taking it for their own. They drive up to Santa Rosa in beat up cars running on whatever fuel they are able to get their hands on, and attack the city.
    A battle is fought at night, and after a long fight with heavy casualties on both sides the attackers are defeated. In the chaos of the fight The Compound burns to the ground, killing most of its residents.
    The Compound is gone. Samís home is dead. What can he do? What options does he have if he hopes to survive?
    He leaves Santa Rosa and goes east, hoping to eventually find some remnant of the humanity he was once accustomed to.



  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    12

    Re: Post-Apocalyptic Synopsis

    Ugh. That's embarrasing. I meant "Rewrote" it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    142

    Re: Post-Apocalyptic Synopsis

    Way too long and boring at the beginning (I stopped about halfway through). A synopsis should be a quick and entertaining over-view of the story. You describe way too much here. You need to strip your story of the purple prose and get right into the meat of it all. What happens? What do people do about it? Who are the characters? What are their motivations? These are questions you need to answer. I don't care what didn't happen in your story (nuclear war, population explosion, etc...) I care about what did happen in your story. Also, for a synopsis, when characters are introduced their names should be in all caps.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Vancouver
    Posts
    77

    Re: Post-Apocalyptic Synopsis

    There is too much information that doesn't need to be said. The several paragraphs about the earthquake can be put down into a single sentence.

    Focus on the plot and nothing else.

    Also, be careful. Several times you state it's the end of the world but then you write the earthquake only destroys America. The USA is not the entire world.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    41

    Re: Post-Apocalyptic Synopsis

    "The end of the world comes for Santa Rosa, California on September 22 2015. It is not brought by people, in the form of nuclear war, population explosion, or any such cause. It is brought by an earthquake, that washes over the shores of California and spreads east, destroying the entirety of the United States.
    It is no normal earthquake that destroys America. Normal earthquakes will put cracks in buildings, level brick structures and collapse towers. They will not, however, destroy the world. This earthquake is something more, something unpredictably strong, powerful and devastating. It levels everything to the ground, making buildings, whether they are small or large, strong or weak, fall in on their foundation as if they were made of plywood."

    The world did not end. You don't waste valuable space telling what didn't cause the leveling of the US..
    Once you have indicated that the US was wiped out, you do not have to go into more 'telling' of how the earthquake that did it was not 'normal'. Most would get that. Then you continue on into the next paragraph with "This earthquake is something more, something unpredictably strong, powerful and devastating." We get it. Really.

    You have to develop greater clarity here. You are referring to the end of the world and the end of humanity, yet there are still living people living in the world.

    A synopsis shows us what happens chronologically. You don't have to convince us that the earthquake was big. You just have to show that it was.

    This should read something like: "In 2015, an earthquake of unprecedented magnitude levels the United States. Sixteen-year-old Sam Aber blah blah blah..."

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    12

    Re: Post-Apocalyptic Synopsis

    I think my wording was way off on the intro, and this explains sam better i think. Thanks. (PS: I believe you are right Mark about the character being in caps, but in every single sample synopsis I've ever run across that rule wasn't followed. Could you possibly cite your source?)

    In the city of Santa Rosa, California, a sixteen-year-old high school student sits in his English class. His name is Samuel Aber.
    As he gets out of his seat, an earthquake hits his high school, sending him crashing through the window of the classroom. He falls a full story and lands on hard dirt, suffering a broken arm, dislocated leg, and a punctured eye.
    He wakes in darkness, the voices of hundreds of screaming kids and teachers around him. He knows heís with them, another trapped victim of the earthquake, but somehow he feels different, separated. Like heís the only real thing in the world, and that everything heís experiencing is an insane mistake of his mind.
    The day of the earthquake is September 22nd, 2015. The biggest disaster in the recent history of the human race has just happened.
    The world isnít as stable as it seems. With humanity having records of less than a hundred thousand years of human history, we have seen less than the blink of an eye in the Earthís geological lifespan. Every now and then, the natural world has a spasm, the kind of disaster that topples empires, wipes out entire species of animals.
    The earthquake begins in California and moves east. By the time the ground ceases shaking most of the United States is destroyed, lost to a disaster it never thought it would have to face.
    Sam is revived by a school janitor. With all the hospitals destroyed in Santa Rosa, he is brought to a temporary clinic set up in a city park. It is there that he has his eye removed and his limbs put in casts. He waits at the hospital for weeks, waiting for his only family, his Aunt to find him. She never comes.
    When his wounds heal and his bones set, he leaves the clinic, venturing out into the ruined city with nothing but the clothes on his back and a patch over his absent eye.
    Santa Rosa was once a beautiful place. It had its bad neighborhoods, like any city, but it still had a certain type of California charm. It was the urban center of Sonoma County, and yet uniquely rural at the same time. If you traveled north of the city, and stood on a hill looking south, you wouldnít see a city at all, but a great valley of trees. Every tree that could grow in California grew in the heart of Santa Rosa. They enveloped the streets with their shadows, great redwoods stood tall downtown, and pines and oaks grew throughout the suburbs. It was as if a city had been built inside a forest, not on top of it.
    When Sam ventures out of the clinic he witnesses the post-earthquake city for the first time. Places heís familiar with, like the Wells Fargo Center by the highway, the Snoopyís Home Ice Rink downtown, even less prominent places, like the popular In-N-Out are all gone, collapsed and abandoned.
    Itís unreal to Sam, to see his home and life demolished in such a way. One day heís making his way through high school, living a normal life, and the next heís a cripple, with a gimp leg and one eye, living in a dead city.
    Sam thinks about the future. Itís been months since the earthquake, and Santa Rosa is still alone. No help whatsoever from the larger government. People of the city have taken to scavenging the ruins for whatever they need, looting grocery stores for food mostly.
    What Sam wonders is whatís gonna happen when the food runs out?
    He knows heís alone, his aunt must be dead, crushed under the rubble of her own house. All Sam can do is move on, join the others in scavenging, and hope that everyone can last long enough for a solution to the crisis to pop up.
    He refuses to let the city defeat him. Every day he sees the spread of gangs, who bit by bit are destroying the lives of innocent teenagers, dragging them in to their way of life with hard drugs. Sam refuses that life and avoids the gangs, knowing that they are both a dangerous force and a weak enemy. They wonít be able to last long in the city.
    Heís grown strong, able to fend for himself against any who would want to cause him harm. When a bum tries to stab him in the back in the forest, Sam smashes his head in with a rock, feeling the cold lack of remorse for the attacker. Heís resourceful and careful, taking everything he can but only using what he needs, storing the rest in the backyard of his auntís home. As time passes and food runs low in the city, people start to starve. Sam doesnít, any time heís near starvation he pulls out rations from his stash. It keeps him alive through the worst of it.
    Others die off. The citiesí population plummets, leaving behind only the people who were resourceful enough to ration their supplies, or stay in strong groups. By now two years have passed since the earthquake.
    Samuel Aber is an eighteen-year-old fighter. Heís survived when others have died, and has done whatever is necessary to ensure he makes it through the day. When crazed half-dead refugees attack him in the city, seeking the food he has scavenged, he kills them, usually with a quick shot from the handgun he found while scavenging. Sam is quick, efficient, and ruthless. Any remnant of his childhood is long gone. After watching people starve to death, after taking a life to save your own, there is no childhood left to hold onto.
    The dangers of the city have prompted several groups of survivors to come together with the idea to build themselves a new life, in a home far north in the ruins of an old hospital. Sam joins them, and together they build a fortified community they call ďThe Compound.Ē
    Life is decent in The Compound. It isnít even close to how things used to be, before the earthquake, but itís still better than being homeless, down in the city. The compound has people who know how to insulate homes, farm food, build sewage systems, everything a self-sustaining community needs.
    In The Compound Sam settles down, finds a steady job as part of security, protecting the city from outsiders. The Compound is a good place, itís a settlement that works to keep its residents alive and safe. It does its job well.
    From the south something is moving. A great army has risen out of the wreckage of Southern California, made up of drugged out bums and drifters with the goal of conquering The Compound and taking it for their own. They drive up to Santa Rosa in beat up cars running on whatever fuel they are able to get their hands on, and attack the city.
    A battle is fought at night, and after a long fight with heavy casualties on both sides the attackers are defeated. In the chaos of the fight The Compound burns to the ground, killing most of its residents.
    The Compound is gone. Samís home is destroyed. What can he do? What options does he have if he hopes to survive?
    He leaves Santa Rosa and goes east, hoping to find some remnant of the humanity he was once accustomed to.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Vancouver
    Posts
    77

    Re: Post-Apocalyptic Synopsis

    Ok, I'm at my Mom's house here and she's a nurse. She said that she's never heard of someone dislocating a leg. A hip or knee maybe but it's not really considered a dislocation.

    I read through this whole synopsis and I had a couple questions.

    1. Why are drugged out bums and drifters trying to take over the compound? One would assume that after two years there might not be too many drugged out bums and aren't most bums too lazy to try and take over anything?

    2. It seems like there is a lot of time passing and nothing is happening. You mention Sam thinking about his future but nothing is happening. Why are so many years passing? That's not very common in YA. It looks like your story starts with a bang and then time passes. Why?

    3. I'd be a little wary about having stories where the MC comes out of the hospital to find the world destroyed. Between 28 Days Later and the Walking Dead, this sort of thing has been successfully done to death.

    4. I'm having trouble wondering how someone could crash out a window if there was an earthquake.

    I think you're going to have to go into detail about why help doesn't come. Was all of America destroyed? What about the rest of the world? I can't imagine that other countries would just leave them to suffer. Even Canada would toss them a bone or something. So what happened to everyone else?

    I do however like that he loses an eye. Maiming a MC isn't very common in YA. So I like that bit of clevernes although I worry that young female readers might not like your character. Not trying to sound like a cliche here but there's a reason why all male MC characters are hot.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    12

    Re: Post-Apocalyptic Synopsis

    Thanks Arden, you've left me some really good questions.
    The main thing I got from this however is that I'm presenting my story all wrong if you think its YA. I can see why you'd think that, but my story follows a character that starts at sixteen...and finishes at 22. That's a lot of time to fill, and most of it is leading to the battle at the end of the book, but a lot is happening in those six years. I can't write a decent synopsis with all of that (My last draft was six pages) so I guess I have to pick and choose.
    And right on the money with everything else. Either your right and i need to explain it better in my synopsis, or your completely off because I explained it poorly in my synopsis. You get the picture.
    PS: I hate synopses....

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Vancouver
    Posts
    77

    Re: Post-Apocalyptic Synopsis

    Chris,
    Both a synopsis and a query are a writer's nightmare. Don't get too down on it, every writer has a bitch of a time with these. I was very lucky, I landed my agent without needing a synopsis. But the query took me ages to write.

    16 to 22 would still qualify as YA although it might push it over to the crossover area. When I read your query and synopsis it sounds completely YA to me. Very few adult books are done with MC's that age. So not sure what you're trying to go for.

    Good luck tho!

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    12

    Re: Post-Apocalyptic Synopsis

    I guess I wouldn't be angry if high school kids ended up reading my book, but I never imagined it to be a kid's story.
    But YA can still be dark I guess. Thing is my book gets darker than night at some points...
    I got a newer synopsis but I'm gonna sleep on it. Maybe tomorrow I'll post it after a few changes.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts