HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    12

    Synopsis + Query AFTERMATH

    Hey Yall! I come with good news, I got a reply on a query i sent out and a New York based Agency asking for a partial + a synopsis! The stakes just got raised!
    Knowing how competitive this buisness is, I'm not entirely done working on my query, It's close, but just not there yet...And my synopsis needs a fair amount of work too...

    SYNOPSIS:

    America is dead.
    It does not die at the hands of war, plague, financial breakdown, or loss of morality in its youth, as many could have guessed.
    What kills America is an earthquake.
    The earthquake isnít the conventional kind you see on television or read about in history books. Itís much bigger.
    This Earthquake kills millions.
    All of California is destroyed. Even those buildings designed to withstand the impact of a seismic event are leveled to their foundations. The destructionís unnatural, inexplicably more powerful than that of a conventional earthquake.
    When the quake hits, America, as anybody remembered it is gone. Dead. Forgotten.
    Itís not, as many predicted, the end of the world.
    In the long run, it is not the event itself that matters, but what happens after.

    Samuel Aber is sixteen. Heís in Santa Rosa, California, sitting in his English class, the date is September 22, 2015.
    He gets out of his seat, and the earthquake hits his high school, sending him through the window where he falls a full story and lands on hard dirt. He suffers a broken leg, dislocated arm, and a punctured eye.
    He wakes in darkness, the voices of hundreds of screaming kids and teachers around him. He knows heís just another trapped victim of the earthquake, but somehow he feels different. Like heís the only real thing in the world, and that everything heís experiencing is an insane mistake of his mind. To Sam, he doesnít feel like heís dying.
    He feels reborn.
    Sam is revived a few minutes later by a school janitor. With all the hospitals destroyed in Santa Rosa, he is brought to an emergency clinic set up in a city park, where he has his eye removed and his limbs put in casts. He waits at the hospital for weeks, hoping 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 lost eye.
    Outside 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 by the community college 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.
    Something else feels unreal to Sam, his own body, his own self, is somehow different. He feels like a different person, stronger, or at least more capable of being strong. The feeling goes deeper than his sense of self, strong or weak, child or adult, none of that matters. He feels like heís capable of making it through anything, all he would ever need is the right motive.
    Sam thinks about the future. Itís been months since the earthquake, and Santa Rosa is still alone. The government is nowhere to be seen, which is understandable in the short term. A mid-sized town like Santa Rosa is nothing compared to San Francisco, Los Angles, or Sacramento. The government would go there before ever heading to Santa Rosa. But as time passes, as the government continues to be completely absent from the city, people start to wonder what happened to the rest of the country.
    Refugees of the city have taken to scavenging the ruins for whatever they need, looting grocery stores for food.
    Sam 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.
    Heís grown strong, able to fend for himself against any who would want to cause him harm. When a bum tries to slit his throat 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 has grown into 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 countless number of lives to save his own, there is no childhood left for him 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 over the period of several months 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 a member of security. 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 led by a violent figure named Charlie, a drug dealer who seeks to use the weak minds of his clients to conquer The Compound and take it for his own. He plans on using The Compound as a base of operations from which to conquer areas across California. His army drives up to Santa Rosa in beaten cars running on whatever fuel they can get their hands on, and attack the city.
    A battle is fought at night, and after a long struggle 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?
    A soldier by the name of Tommy approaches him. Tommy is a younger kid, an ex drifter who came to The compound looking to settle in. Tommy explains how once, while traveling, he encountered a man captured by a group of highway raiders. He waited until night, and freed the man while the raiders were away. They then escaped into the wilderness.
    Over time the man explained who he was, claiming to be a French soldier from Europe, that had been sent to an abandoned air force base outside the city of Cheyenne Wyoming.
    Apparently after the earthquake North Korea had started a war with much of Europe and America, which involved the use of nuclear weapons that ended up wiping out several of the larger cities on the east coast, including Washington D.C. The soldier went on to tell Tommy how this devastation brought most of America into a state of anarchy, of which itís been stuck ever since. Europe had then finished the war with Korea, and just recently turned its attention to relief efforts in America.
    The French soldier was out scouting, looking for organized groups in California to make contact with before getting caught. He told Tommy one last thing, which was that the army at the air force base was preparing to start small evacuation efforts, and that if Tommy traveled to the base he could possibly get a ride out of the states.
    Sam and Tommy decide to leave Santa Rosa and go east, hoping to reach the base. They travel for thousands of miles, suffering the hardships of traveling along one barren highway after another. Sam notices small changes in Tommyís behavior, heís become paranoid, easily startled and delirious at times, tell tale signs that heís suffering from PTSD.
    They eventually reach the base and are welcomed by the European army and promised safe travel to Europe when the next supply line comes in.
    They wait at the base for months, Sam sees Tommy gradually improve mentally. Then one night, Sam wakes to notice Tommy out of bed. He searches the base and eventually finds him. He follows Tommy until he reaches a nearly un-seeable hatch that leads underground.
    Sam follows him down the hatch, it leads to a underground bunker.
    Tommy has been coming down the hatch for weeks, somehow managing all the while to avoid notice from the Europeans. Heís been hooking up old equipment, repairing communication lines, and setting up the bunker to working condition.
    The bunker is the control room for the United Stateís supply of nuclear weapons.
    Sam notices a body on the ground. Itís a soldier from the army, his neck flayed open with a steak knife Tommy stole from the mess hall. The soldierís handgun still resides in its holster at his waist.
    Sam picks up the gun and aims it in Tommyís direction. He tells Tommy to turn off the equipment, Tommy doesnít respond. He tells Tommy that heís lost it, that he isnít thinking about what heís doing, that heís not himself.
    Before Sam can stop him Tommy enters a command into a computer and fires the baseís payload. Dozens of long forgotten missiles fly through the air, Tommyís programmed them all to head to major cities around the world.
    He has just initiated nuclear Armageddon.
    Sam shoots him in the head. He then aims the gun towards himself and pulls the trigger.
    The gun clicks.
    With no more bullets in his gun, Sam leaves the base, disappearing before the soldiers can find him. He heads east, to the rising sun.

    QUERY:

    Dear AGENT:
    I am seeking representation for my 98,000 word post-apocolyptic novel AFTERMATH.

    Samuel Aber was born in a hospital. He's not going to die in one.

    After an earthquake destroys his hometown of Santa Rosa, California, 16-year-old Sam isnít sure of what he should do. The cityís a mess, literally torn to pieces by a quake stronger than anything ever experienced in the city, and Samís a mess, having lost his left eye, his family, and his home.

    Sam sees the people around him, the victims of the earthquake who are too weak to survive in the ruins of the city. He needs to be able to find food more quickly and efficiently than they can, knowing that weakness is a certain path to death in a chaotic world.

    Sam can no longer stay a kid, as kids in the city donít live very long. Heís seen children dragged off by packs of dogs, bodies picked to the bone by birds and, Sam suspects, by people as well. He wanders alone through the ruins of the city, searching for food and looking for reason in the insanity around him. He doesn't find much of either.

    Sam knows that the horrors of the earthquake are minuscule compared to the horrors of humanity. Heís beginning to understand that he may need to give up his own humanity if he's going to survive the aftermath of the earthquake.
    Thank you for your time.



  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Australia - for now ;)
    Posts
    598

    Re: Synopsis + Query AFTERMATH

    Firstly, congrats on the request.

    Now for the above.
    This is all way TOO long. Too long for us to critique and too long for a synopsis. At 1800 odd words and 3 pages; WAY too long. It also is not interesting to read (at least to me) and for a start, the lack dbl spaces between end/start of sentences is very annoying; makes for difficult reading as the eye does not get a rest.

    Also the repeat of Samuel Aber's full name is not necessary.

    From this side of the pond, (Australia) this is spelt wrong- 'leveled'; we spell with a dboule 'l' levelled - but this could be OK in the US as there are many spelling differneces, so check that one. (Traveling etc. is the same - on this side of the pond we have dbl L)

    'Sam knows heís alone,.....' this should be ; not ,

    And same with this (or even a full stop) Compound is a good place,

    There are several other examples within the 1800 odd words.

    'The compound looking to settle in... everywhere else you have compound with a captial C, then you change it..... is there a reason?

    'Over time the man explained who he was, claiming to be a French soldier from Europe, that had been sent to an abandoned air force base outside the city of Cheyenne Wyoming. '

    should be
    Over time the man explained who he was. Claiming to be a French soldier from Europe, who had been sent to an abandoned air force base outside the city of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

    'un-seeable ' - is this a word? I know what you are trying to say, but can someone please confirm if this is a real word?

    Whats with the ending of the synopsis? is that really the ending of the MS; Sam trys to shoot himself, misses and walks away..... really?



    I didn't read the QL as you have already had comments on it but the synopsis doesn't cut it for me..... see what others think.

    Raven
    if the wine is sour Ė throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    263

    Re: Synopsis + Query AFTERMATH

    Chris, sorry but I don't see much of a change from the previous time you posted this. Some excellent points were made, which you have ignored.

    First, ditch this. Start over. There's lot of ways to do the S. Here's one that worked for me. Scan each chapter of your book. Write ONE sentence that encapsulates that chapter. When you finish, pare that down to one page, single spaced, smooth it out with transitions, and presto, there's your synop.

    Stan

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Southern Georgia
    Posts
    1,756

    Re: Synopsis + Query AFTERMATH

    Raven - it's one "L" in the US. And agents admit that synopses are horrible for the author to write and for them to read. But it gives them a quick rundown of the book's entire plot. I don't know too many people who can give a sparkling witty synopsis because it's just a summary of the whole book - similar to the book reports you did in school. And it has to include every major plot point or scene, including the ending.

    Chris - congrats on the request. Makes you feel good doesn't it? Follow the agent's guidelines on how long your synopsis should be. Everyone wants something different - from one to five pages. Usually double-spaced. Put the names of your main characters in CAPS the first time you introduce them, then normal captioning after that - unless the agent asks for something different. Good luck.

    Lea

  5. #5
    Senior Member Keith .'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    The latex sales division of Vandelay Industries
    Posts
    1,248

    Re: Synopsis + Query AFTERMATH

    Scan down to the second post for a pretty good synopsis guide.
    Synopsis guide
    ________________________________________________

    People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.
    - Bob Dylan

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    3,866

    Re: Synopsis + Query AFTERMATH

    Yes, congrats on the request!

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    12

    Re: Synopsis + Query AFTERMATH

    So, really important question, I have people saying my synopsis is too boring and other people saying that a synopsis SHOULD be boring (The link provided by Keith). This makes me think that a synopsis needs to be a straightforward summary of the book, but written in such a way that it dosen't put the agent to sleep. I've tried accomplishing this, but upon rereading it I realized exactly what response I'd get, "This is the same as before, nothings changed" And I totally agree with that advive, and all the advice really, but Im finding it hard to do more than "Tell" my story. I really wish I could just feed my manuscript into a synopsis machine, but sadly the world is not a perfect place.
    This is what i have, and yes, it's basicially the same as before, but I'm mainly wondering if the intro has any speck of decency for which to base the rest of it on. As always, I try to listen to advice, but I'm only human. I'm working on it, trust me.

    Samuel Aberís first experience with true pain came when he was half crushed under the ruins of his high school. The biggest disaster in recent history has just swept over the hills of California. The state is devastated, people are dead and injured in massive numbers. Sam doesnít know this, all he knows is heís pinned under rubble, one of his legs is snapped, an armís dislocated, and a huge chunk of glass is lodged in his left eye. He honestly wouldnít give a damn about the rest of the state even if he knew. Sam has enough problems as it is.
    A janitor digs him out of the wreckage, revives him, and sends him to the nearest emergency center. When Sam wakes up six hours later heís not in a hospital, all the hospitals in the city are gone, instead heís in a city park, his room is nothing more than a small tent with a thin roof.
    A doctor tells him whatís happened to city. Everythingís a mess, nobody knows what to do or what to expect. The government hasnít made itself known, all the phone and internet lines are down, and there are thirty times the amount of injured people as doctors. He goes on to explain Samís injuries, and the situation with his left eye. The glass had destroyed the optic nerve, and they were forced to remove the eye. He spends months in the makeshift clinic, recovering and waiting for his aunt, his legal guardian, to find him. When the time comes for Sam to leave the clinic, he does so alone, his aunt nowhere to be found.
    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. Most of the survivors tell themselves that help will come soon, they just have to wait a while longerÖItís not as if theyíre going hungry either, thereís plenty of food to be scavenged from the ruins of grocery stores and mini-marts.
    Sam learns to survive without his aunt, who is most likely dead somewhere, crushed in the collapse of some building. He feels okay, even with a cast on his arm and leg, and only one eye, Sam feels like he's gonna be able to get through this.
    Time in Santa Rosa is an enemy to the refugee. Time makes you weak, hungry, and desperate. As time passes and fades so do the necessary tools of survival, food fades with time, and if oneís supply of food comes from a source that does not replenish itself, one is destined to starve.
    Sam wonít starve. Heís a smart kid, predicting the path of famine the cityís taking before the food supply even begins to run low. As he finds food in the city he saves it, only taking what he needs and burying the rest in his Auntís backyard. The next two years in the city are going to be a living breathing hellÖ
    Death slowly creeps into the bodies of once well fed Americans. As people die new bounties of food comes to many of the weaker-hearted survivors. It shows itself in the form of human flesh, easy for the pickings amongst the thousands of bodies that litter the city streets. For others like Sam it is carefully rationed from surplus supplies, or shared in groups where mutual survival is possible. Through all this there is still no sign of the government.
    Samuel Aber has grown into 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. Sam is quick, efficient, and ruthless. Any remnant of his childhood is long gone. After watching people starve to death, after taking a countless number of lives to save his own, there is no childhood left for him 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 over the period of several months 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 a member of security. 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 led by a violent figure named Charlie, a drug dealer who seeks to use the weak minds of his clients to conquer The Compound and take it for his own. He plans on using The Compound as a base of operations from which to conquer areas across California. His army drives up to Santa Rosa in beaten cars running on whatever fuel they can get their hands on, and attacks the city.
    A battle is fought at night, and after a long struggle 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?
    A soldier by the name of Tommy approaches him. Tommy is a younger kid, an ex drifter who came to The Compound looking to settle in. Tommy explains how once, while traveling, he encountered a man captured by a group of highway raiders. He waited until night, and freed the man while the raiders were away. They then escaped into the wilderness.
    Over time the man explained who he was, claiming to be a French soldier from Europe, that had been sent to an abandoned air force base outside the city of Cheyenne Wyoming.
    Apparently after the earthquake North Korea had started a war with much of Europe and America, which involved the use of nuclear weapons that ended up wiping out several of the larger cities on the east coast, including Washington D.C. The soldier went on to tell Tommy how this devastation brought most of America into a state of anarchy, of which itís been stuck ever since. Europe had then finished the war with Korea, and just recently turned its attention to relief efforts in America.
    The French soldier was out scouting, looking for organized groups in California to make contact with before getting caught. He told Tommy one last thing, which was that the army at the air force base was preparing to start small evacuation efforts, and that if Tommy traveled to the base he could possibly get a ride out of the states.
    Sam and Tommy decide to leave Santa Rosa and go east, hoping to reach the base. They travel for thousands of miles, suffering the hardships of traveling along one barren highway after another. Sam notices small changes in Tommyís behavior, heís become paranoid, easily startled and delirious at times, tell tale signs that heís suffering from PTSD.
    They eventually reach the base and are welcomed by the European army and promised safe travel to Europe when the next supply line comes in.
    They wait at the base for months, Sam sees Tommy gradually improve mentally. Then one night, Sam wakes to notice Tommy out of bed. He searches the base and eventually finds him. He follows Tommy until he reaches a nearly un-seeable hatch that leads underground.
    Sam follows him down the hatch, it leads to a underground bunker.
    Tommy has been coming down the hatch for weeks, somehow managing all the while to avoid notice from the Europeans. Heís been hooking up old equipment, repairing communication lines, and setting up the bunker to working condition.
    The bunker is the control room for the United Stateís supply of nuclear weapons.
    Sam notices a body on the ground. Itís a soldier from the army, his neck flayed open with a steak knife Tommy stole from the mess hall. The soldierís handgun still resides in its holster at his waist.
    Sam picks up the gun and aims it in Tommyís direction. He tells Tommy to turn off the equipment, Tommy doesnít respond. He tells Tommy that heís lost it, that he isnít thinking about what heís doing, that heís not himself.
    Before Sam can stop him Tommy enters a command into a computer and fires the baseís payload. Dozens of long forgotten missiles fly through the air, Tommyís programmed them all to head to major cities around the world.
    He has just initiated nuclear Armageddon.
    Sam shoots him in the head. He then aims the gun towards himself and pulls the trigger.
    The gun clicks.
    With no more bullets in his gun, Sam leaves the base, disappearing before the soldiers can find him. He heads east, to the rising sun.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    1,142

    Re: Synopsis + Query AFTERMATH

    How did you select the agency you queried?... Did you vet them through P&E?

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Australia - for now ;)
    Posts
    598

    Re: Synopsis + Query AFTERMATH - Thanks Lea

    Hi Lea,

    thanks for that, thought as much. There are so many differences between USA English and UK/Australian English.
    Just on the CAPS comment, QueryShark stripped me clean for using caps, saying 'wherever we are reading to place names/places in caps, stop it' - but by the same token, other places say its standard.

    I would love to know which is correct.

    Raven
    if the wine is sour Ė throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  10. #10
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Southern Georgia
    Posts
    1,756

    Re: Synopsis + Query AFTERMATH

    Raven, usually you only put the names in a synopsis in caps, never in a query. And you only do it the first time you use each main character's name, but not for the secondary characters. At least that's what I've read on several agents' blogs. That's how I have all three of my synopses formatted (a 1-pager, a 3-pager, and a 5-pager). You sometimes get an agent who wants it formatted their way, and I will happily do it their way if it gets my MS read!

    I love how English is different in various countries - I always get tripped up on gray because I tend to use the British version of grey and my spellchecker doesn't like it. LOL

Posting Permissions

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