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Public Critique: Lori's Synopsis

Hello everyone!  Today I'm posting a synopsis for critique.  If you have the time please give it a read and offer any advice or constructive criticism you may have.  We all know how challenging synopses are!  If you're interested in having a query, synopsis, or excerpt posted on Lit Rambles for critique, check out my contribute page

BREATHE
(synopsis)
By Lori Johnson

TAYLOR MICHAELS has an amazing boyfriend, is envied by her friends and is the most popular girl at South Forrester High School.  She has no reason to want her life any other way; her life is perfect. 

But one January day, she stumbles upon the new guy at school, Breandán, and is immediately obsessed.  He is not only physically perfect, but mystical as well, even if he is a little full of himself.  Taylor is drawn to Breandán’s intensity and devotion, but loyalties and fear of the unknown pull her back to Erik, her current boyfriend.  Erik and his friends are aware she is attracted to Breandán and deem him a threat.  

While worrying over the Erik/Breandán dilemma, she seeks solace in routine.  Taylor is an artist and volunteers at a local nursing home where she teaches art lessons to the residents.  Taylor adopts one of the residents, Miss Champion, as a surrogate grandmother.  Miss Champion, ranting about an Heir and The Five Guardians, insists Taylor take her prized possession – a charm bracelet.  Breandán confronts Taylor about the bracelet. He is distressed she is wearing it and tells her she can’t possibly be the “Heir”, leaving her with more questions than answers. 

Breandán admits he can’t stay away from Taylor even though he should.  She suspects he can’t possibly be human.  Even with warning bells going off in her head, Taylor succumbs to Breandán’s spell and breaks up with Erik.  What she doesn’t know is that her choice has awakened a silent conspirator hell bent on destroying Breandán and his family.  She is nothing but a pawn in a plan to crush Breandán’s prophecy.   

Taylor meets Breandán’s family where she learns the bracelet represents the keys to the Gate of Darkness and to the demons that guard it.  She has the power to open the gates; all she has to do is choose the demons.  Breandán and his family are “guardians of the Aingeal – angels amongst humans” from the Realm of Light.  Breandán breaks the laws of his kind by loving a human and puts his world and powers in jeopardy.  Breandán’s mother betrays him to the Elders of Light and he is banished from Earth, leaving Taylor alone and vulnerable. 

Feeling off-kilter, she seeks Erik for companionship, which only intensifies her internal conflict.  She loves them both, but Breandán is gone and nothing will ever be the same.  She returns to her previous life and friends aware her heart has grown cold.

Breandán’s mother, poisoned by her betrayal and fearful for her family, compromises her role as leader of the guardians and returns Breandán to Earth.  Taylor is once again at an impasse; she can’t be with either Breandán or Erik.  But Breandán’s world continues to draw her in and she is unable to stay away.

Eventually Taylor faces the reality of her choosing her angel.  Breandán is in a precarious position. He must confront the risk of falling from grace with his own people and become as a human.  Taylor knows she must give Breandán up; she will never let that happen to him. 

Through a series of nightmares, Erik and his friends succumb to the demons from the Gate of Darkness and are threatening Taylor’s life.  Teenage girls from the community disappear, including one of Taylor’s friends.

Breandán and his brothers confront Taylor and tell her Erik has been taken over by a demon.  Taylor is the only one who can expose Erik and his friends for who they have become.  Taylor betrays Erik to the angels and is almost killed in the process.  The demons retaliate by declaring war on the angels.
With Taylor’s life in the balance and the existence of Solas threatened, the angels battle with the demons in order to save Taylor and their own world.  Taylor risks her life and rushes into the battle determined to save both Erik and Breandán.  Her love for Erik forces the demons away, but Breandán is wounded and one of his brothers is dead.  Breandán returns to his homeland in order to heal and Taylor is forced to remain with his vindictive angel family.  As we leave her, she is falling into a world of guilt and regret while she waits for her angel’s return.  This ending is intended to form the basis of a sequel and conclusion titled Prophecy.

11 comments:

  1. Hi Lori,

    Personally, I find synopses (spelling?) very difficult and in no way am I an expert. From your synopsis, I know a few things about your book. Clear conflict (between angels and demons); a strong element of romance; and some sort of family conflict. All of these points build a great plot.

    As for some points of clarification: in P. 1 I would get rid of "her life is perfect" because you just showed us that, now you don't need to tell us it too.

    There are some paragraphs that contain language that doesn't fit with Ya. For example in P. 2 "are aware" seems more adultish. You use aware a couple of times.

    P. 3 first sentence sounds boring. "Seeks solace in routine" yuck! Spice it up.

    Now on to the ending. I know this is a set up to a sequel, but it didn't feel satisfying. Perhaps I'm too picky, but I like the first book in a sequel to feel like it has an ending. Now, that doesn't mean you can't set us up for a sequel in another way.

    Thanks for letting me practice my review skills. Best of luck with your book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a great start. You’ve got some voice in here and that’s great.
    Needs tightening and some clearing up of confusing bits. I cut some and added lots of notes.

    If blogger works to form, this will be posted over a few comments.


    TAYLOR MICHAELS has an amazing boyfriend, Erik, is envied by her friends and is the most popular girl at South Forrester High School. Her life is perfect.

    One January day, she becomes obsessed with the new guy at school, Breandán. He’s physically perfect, even mystical as well, though a little full of himself. She’s drawn to his intensity and devotion [to what?]. Loyalty and fear of the unknown pull her back to Erik, who’s aware Breandán is a threat.

    Taylor volunteers at a local nursing home where she teaches art lessons to the residents. Taylor adopts one of them, Miss Champion, as a surrogate grandmother. Miss Champion rants about an Heir and The Five Guardians, and insists Taylor take her prized possession – a charm bracelet. Breandán’s distressed Taylor is wearing the bracelet and tells her she can’t possibly be the “Heir”, leaving her with more questions than answers.

    Breandán admits he can’t stay away from Taylor even though he should. She suspects he can’t possibly be human [What? There are non-humans in this world? Or is this just a saying? Seems forced. Why would Taylor suspect that?]. She succumbs to Breandán’s spell and breaks up with Erik. What she doesn’t know is that her choice has awakened a silent conspirator hell bent on destroying Breandán and his family Why does it take her choosing him to awaken the conspirator?. She is nothing but a pawn in a plan to crush Breandán’s prophecy [prophecies are predictions, they don’t get crushed]. [This paragraph seems to start the meat of your story. The ones before are all setup and can be shortened – a lot. This sets a very different tone than what came before.]

    ReplyDelete
  3. Taylor meets Breandán’s family where she learns the bracelet represents the keys to the Gate of Darkness and to the demons that guard it. She has the power to open the gates; all she has to do is choose the demons. [Is there a demon catalogue? :-) ] Breandán and his family are guardians of the Aingeal – angels amongst humans – from the Realm of Light. He’s breaking the laws of his kind by loving a human and puts his world and powers in jeopardy. His mother betrays him to the Elders of Light and he is banished from Earth, leaving Taylor alone and vulnerable. [Nice going, Mom. Good detail to show us some of what Mom is like.]

    Feeling off-kilter, she seeks Erik for companionship, which only intensifies her internal conflict. [She’s a wishy washy user? Might rethink this.] She loves them both, but Breandán is gone and nothing will ever be the same. She returns to her previous life and friends aware her heart has grown cold. [Do you need this paragraph?]

    Breandán’s mother, poisoned by her betrayal and fearful for her family, compromises her role as leader of the guardians and returns Breandán to Earth. Taylor is once again at an impasse; she can’t be with either Breandán or Erik. [Why can’t she be with Erik? No obstacle shown here. If she loves him as well, she could make that choice.] Breandán’s world continues to draw her in.

    Taylor faces the reality of her choosing her angel. Breandán is in a precarious position. He must confront the risk of falling from grace and become human. Taylor knows she must give Breandán up; she will never let that happen to him. [Confusing. She chooses him but doesn’t choose him?]

    Through a series of nightmares, Erik and his friends succumb to the demons from the Gate of Darkness [I thought Taylor was the one who could open the gate and choose the demons. Did she?] and are threatening Taylor’s life. Teenage girls from the community disappear, including one of Taylor’s friends. [Lead with Taylor’s friend – otherwise the impact is diluted.]

    Breandán and his brothers confront Taylor and tell her Erik has been taken over by a demon. Taylor is the only one who can expose Erik and his friends for who they have become [Why? Because she’s the heir which we know almost nothing about?]. Taylor betrays Erik to the angels and is almost killed in the process. The demons retaliate by declaring war on the angels. [That’s like a whole book in that one sentence. Are you sure it’s only one sentence?]

    With Taylor’s life in the balance [Still? Seemed to be okay after the almost losing it.] and the existence of Solas [What’s Solas?] threatened, the angels battle with the demons in order to save Taylor [Why do they care about Taylor? She’s been nothing but trouble to them.] and their own world. Taylor risks her life [It’s already in the balance.] and rushes into the battle determined to save both Erik and Breandán [What can she do? What’s the real story behind Taylor and her bracelet?]. Her love for Erik forces the demons away, but Breandán is wounded and one of his brothers is dead [What does the first half of this sentence have to do with the second half? Not sure why the ‘but’]. Breandán returns to his homeland in order to heal and Taylor is forced to remain with his vindictive angel family. As we leave her, she is falling into a world of guilt and regret while she waits for her angel’s return. This ending is intended to form the basis of a sequel and conclusion titled Prophecy. [Series or not, this story needs to conclude somehow. What’s the conclusion here?]

    ReplyDelete
  4. This sounds like an interesting story, but at the moment this synopsis feels too much like a listing of occurences. The most successful synopses that I've read describe the major actions and the motivation behind them. (Natalie Whipple at Between Fact and Fiction has a great post on this).

    For example,

    >Taylor betrays Erik to the angels and is almost killed in the process.<

    This looks like a pretty major thing and it would carry more punch to know WHY she does this, such as "Because turning him in is the only way she save him, Taylor betrays Erik to the angels..." or some such thing.

    But the bottom line is that we don't have to have a list of scenes from each chapter. We need to the major plot points and what motivation affects which action.

    But great effort! Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I thought this was well written and I like the balance of romance and a plot unrelated to the romance. Here’s my suggestions.

    TAYLOR MICHAELS has an amazing boyfriend, is envied by her friends and is the most popular girl at South Forrester High School. She has no reason to want her life any other way; her life is perfect. I agree to cut this. Perhaps tell us her age at the beginning.

    But one January day, she stumbles upon the new guy at school, Breandán, and is immediately obsessed. He is not only physically perfect, but mystical as well, even if he is a little full of himself. Good telling abut Breandian. I love his name. Taylor is drawn to Breandán’s intensity and devotion, but loyalties and fear of the unknown pull her back to Erik, her current boyfriend. Erik and his friends are aware she is attracted to Breandán and deem him a threat.

    While worrying over the Erik/Breandán dilemma, she seeks solace in routine. Taylor is an artist and volunteers at a local nursing home where she teaches art lessons to the residents. Taylor adopts one of the residents, Miss Champion, as a surrogate grandmother. Miss Champion, ranting about an Heir and The Five Guardians, insists Taylor take her prized possession – a charm bracelet. I can really see Ms. Champion here. Breandán confronts Taylor about the bracelet. He Perhaps cut. is distressed she is wearing it and tells her she can’t possibly be the “Heir”, leaving her with more questions than answers. Can you explain why she is the heir? I’m guessing ability to wear the bracelet equals becoming the heir.

    Breandán admits he can’t stay away from Taylor even though he should. She suspects he can’t possibly be human. Perhaps explain a tad why she knows this. Even with warning bells going off in her head, Taylor succumbs to Breandán’s spell and breaks up with Erik. What she doesn’t know is that her choice has awakened a silent conspirator hell bent on destroying Breandán and his family. She is nothing but a pawn in a plan to crush Breandán’s prophecy. I didn’t quite get this from below. Not sure you need this.

    Taylor meets Breandán’s family where she learns the bracelet represents the keys to the Gate of Darkness and to the demons that guard it. She has the power to open the gates; all she has to do is choose the demons. Does she want to open it? Should she want to? Which demons? Breandán and his family are “guardians of the Aingeal – angels amongst humans” from the Realm of Light. Breandán breaks the laws of his kind by loving a human and puts his world and powers in jeopardy. Breandán’s mother betrays him to the Elders of Light and he is banished from Earth, leaving Taylor alone and vulnerable. Good movement of plot and upping the stakes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I thought this was well written and I like the balance of romance and a plot unrelated to the romance. Here’s my suggestions.

    TAYLOR MICHAELS has an amazing boyfriend, is envied by her friends and is the most popular girl at South Forrester High School. She has no reason to want her life any other way; her life is perfect. I agree to cut this. Perhaps tell us her age at the beginning.

    But one January day, she stumbles upon the new guy at school, Breandán, and is immediately obsessed. He is not only physically perfect, but mystical as well, even if he is a little full of himself. Good telling abut Breandian. I love his name. Taylor is drawn to Breandán’s intensity and devotion, but loyalties and fear of the unknown pull her back to Erik, her current boyfriend. Erik and his friends are aware she is attracted to Breandán and deem him a threat.

    While worrying over the Erik/Breandán dilemma, she seeks solace in routine. Taylor is an artist and volunteers at a local nursing home where she teaches art lessons to the residents. Taylor adopts one of the residents, Miss Champion, as a surrogate grandmother. Miss Champion, ranting about an Heir and The Five Guardians, insists Taylor take her prized possession – a charm bracelet. I can really see Ms. Champion here. Breandán confronts Taylor about the bracelet. He Perhaps cut. is distressed she is wearing it and tells her she can’t possibly be the “Heir”, leaving her with more questions than answers. Can you explain why she is the heir? I’m guessing ability to wear the bracelet equals becoming the heir.

    Breandán admits he can’t stay away from Taylor even though he should. She suspects he can’t possibly be human. Perhaps explain a tad why she knows this. Even with warning bells going off in her head, Taylor succumbs to Breandán’s spell and breaks up with Erik. What she doesn’t know is that her choice has awakened a silent conspirator hell bent on destroying Breandán and his family. She is nothing but a pawn in a plan to crush Breandán’s prophecy. I didn’t quite get this from below. Not sure you need this.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I thought this was well written and I like the balance of romance and a plot unrelated to the romance. Here’s my suggestions.

    TAYLOR MICHAELS has an amazing boyfriend, is envied by her friends and is the most popular girl at South Forrester High School. She has no reason to want her life any other way; her life is perfect. I agree to cut this. Perhaps tell us her age at the beginning.

    But one January day, she stumbles upon the new guy at school, Breandán, and is immediately obsessed. He is not only physically perfect, but mystical as well, even if he is a little full of himself. Good telling abut Breandian. I love his name. Taylor is drawn to Breandán’s intensity and devotion, but loyalties and fear of the unknown pull her back to Erik, her current boyfriend. Erik and his friends are aware she is attracted to Breandán and deem him a threat.

    While worrying over the Erik/Breandán dilemma, she seeks solace in routine. Taylor is an artist and volunteers at a local nursing home where she teaches art lessons to the residents. Taylor adopts one of the residents, Miss Champion, as a surrogate grandmother. Miss Champion, ranting about an Heir and The Five Guardians, insists Taylor take her prized possession – a charm bracelet. I can really see Ms. Champion here. Breandán confronts Taylor about the bracelet. He Perhaps cut. is distressed she is wearing it and tells her she can’t possibly be the “Heir”, leaving her with more questions than answers. Can you explain why she is the heir? I’m guessing ability to wear the bracelet equals becoming the heir.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Part 2
    Breandán admits he can’t stay away from Taylor even though he should. She suspects he can’t possibly be human. Perhaps explain a tad why she knows this. Even with warning bells going off in her head, Taylor succumbs to Breandán’s spell and breaks up with Erik. What she doesn’t know is that her choice has awakened a silent conspirator hell bent on destroying Breandán and his family. She is nothing but a pawn in a plan to crush Breandán’s prophecy. I didn’t quite get this from below. Not sure you need this.

    Taylor meets Breandán’s family where she learns the bracelet represents the keys to the Gate of Darkness and to the demons that guard it. She has the power to open the gates; all she has to do is choose the demons. Does she want to open it? Should she want to? Which demons? Breandán and his family are “guardians of the Aingeal – angels amongst humans” from the Realm of Light. Breandán breaks the laws of his kind by loving a human and puts his world and powers in jeopardy. Breandán’s mother betrays him to the Elders of Light and he is banished from Earth, leaving Taylor alone and vulnerable. Good movement of plot and upping the stakes.

    Feeling off-kilter, she seeks Erik for companionship, which only intensifies her internal conflict. She loves them both, but Breandán is gone and nothing will ever be the same. She returns to her previous life and friends aware her heart has grown cold.

    Breandán’s mother, poisoned by her betrayal and fearful for her family, compromises her role as leader of the guardians and returns Breandán to Earth. Taylor is once again at an impasse; she can’t be with either Breandán or Erik. But Breandán’s world continues to draw her in and she is unable to stay away.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Part 3
    Eventually Taylor faces the reality of her choosing her angel. Breandán is in a precarious position. He must confront the risk of falling from grace with his own people and become as a human. Awkward. Does he lose grace if he becomes a human? Taylor knows she must give Breandán up; she will never let that happen to him. Good setting the stakes for both main characters.


    Through a series of nightmares, Erik and his friends succumb to the demons from the Gate of Darkness and are threatening Taylor’s life. Teenage girls from the community disappear, including one of Taylor’s friends. Nice plot twist and mystery.

    Breandán and his brothers confront Taylor and tell her Erik has been taken over by a demon. Taylor is the only one who can expose Erik and his friends for who they have become. Taylor betrays Erik to the angels and is almost killed in the process. The demons retaliate by declaring war on the angels. Here I was a bit lost as to why only Taylor could expose them. Now I feel confused too why she would have picked a demon to begin with.
    With Taylor’s life in the balance and the existence of Solas threatened, the angels battle with the demons in order to save Taylor and their own world. Perhaps explain Solas earlier. Taylor risks her life and rushes into the battle determined to save both Erik and Breandán. Her love for Erik forces the demons away, but Breandán is wounded and one of his brothers is dead. How does her love force the demons away? Breandán returns to his homeland in order to heal and Taylor is forced to remain with his vindictive angel family. As we leave her, she is falling into a world of guilt and regret while she waits for her angel’s return. This ending is intended to form the basis of a sequel and conclusion titled Prophecy. I think you should rephrase the end to show the end of this book while leaving open a possibility of a sequel. Also why does she stay with his family rather than her own?

    So basically this is really clear and well written. You do a good job showing the upped stakes as the story progresses. Just explain the confusing parts and tighten it a bit. Synopsis are so hard to write and I think you’ve done a good job.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sorry if some of this repeated. I got error messages that it was too large.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks everyone for your advice. This helps so much.

    Casey, I think this was a success. Again thanks for your help.

    ReplyDelete