Synopsis | R04 (Part 1 of 3)

I’m so amazed at how far this Workshop has come since it started back in January. We started with 16 Participants and now we are here, almost at the end, and we have 7 left! Juggling life and work can be hard especially when you are trying to also “do what you love” which is why it’s always ideal to make your work be what you love. However, we are not all so fortunate (yet…) so in the meantime we find whatever minutes we can throughout the day to write and explore and create. The 8 (including myself) synopsis you are about to read were all created in a short amount of time (some could argue too short) and before the actual short story has been written (another valid argument…) so keep this in mind when offering up your feedback.

Be kind but most of all be constructive! I’m sure and I know everyone who has been a part of this Workshop has benefited from not only the exercise of writing but the feedback they’ve gotten and implemented along the way.

Each synopsis was to be no more than one page in length, which, if formatted correctly (double-spaced, 12pt font, Times New Roman) would amount to about 250 words. In an effort to keep formatting true to the sender I will be posting each submission in .pdf form below:

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Nacho (Mystery)

Pt 4 - Synopsis - Nacho

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BlueLikeATardis (Tragedy)

Pt 4 - Synopsis - BlueLikeaTardis

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Like Round Three, this round is just as extensive if not more so. There will be Four Rounds with two synopses in each post. When reading them think about the following questions when giving your feedback:

  • Is this formatted correctly and the right length?
  • Is there too much information given? How can this synopsis be scaled back? What can be cut?
  • Can you picture the story? Understand the Main Characters goal? Is the Antagonist present and clear?
  • On a scale of 1 – 10 how excited are you to read this short story? 1 = Not Much / 10 = Wicked Excited!

About E.L. Drayton

Writer of novels, short stories, scripts, and reviews.
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  • Arthur Cole

    1) Nacho
    a. Formatting and length is good.

    b. There is a bit of information that will be vital to your story, but not so much for your synopsis. For example, your second paragraph starts really well, but kind of scatters after you mention that William Stone is an investment tycoon. The rest of the information can be cut or trimmed. It would be more effective in a synopsis to be something like this: “Ackroyd agrees to take the case, her lucrative offer only cemented his acceptance. Before leaving his office, Moreau casually mentions that she and Stone had plans to run off together.” It’s not a whole lot shorter, but a little tighter, I think.
    In paragraph four, I am left wondering if Stone gaining weight has any significance, because you never tie in anything about it later on.
    Paragraph five is a main event, but I feel like it could be tighter as well.
    What leads Ackroyd to bust in the roommate’s door in paragraph six?
    Most importantly, and I had mentioned this before, but how is this a suicide case if his body isn’t found until paragraph seven? Near the very end. It should be a missing person’s case until there is a body.

    c. You have done a good job giving me a visual of your story and rings true to crime noir stories, almost like you can hear Ackroyd’s low hoarse monologue narrating everything he sees. Your ending is exciting as well. I am looking forward to seeing that play out.
    Again, there just seems to be a loophole concerning the body and the fact that the it is reported as a suicide and not a missing persons case.

    d. 7/10 is my rating for now until the loophole is fixed. Once it is I’d give it a solid 9/10! I am definitely excited to read this..

    2) BlueLikeaTardis
    a. This is quite the twisted backstory tale of this historic event. It’s very interesting, but I think it’s too much information in such a short time. My brain was frying as I was trying to keep up as I read, barely grasping it near the end. I would say that this is a good example that less is more. Instead of describing every little even that occurs, it would have been better to give the general idea of what happens from 30,000 feet. Format is spotless, however.

    b. Definitely should be scaled back. I love your take on this and it is very imaginative, but I am just picturing trying to describe this verbally to somebody like an agent or editor. I think it is just too much information at once.

    c. I would say that the first half is a bit tricky to follow. After that, I began to understand what was going on and really enjoyed the rest, but I think that has to do with what I have already mentioned. After the fact, I can clearly see Cain’s goal and his goal shift as he realizes what he learns he will have to do in order to free his brother and that is really exciting. Your antagonist isn’t clear right off the bat, but becomes extremely clear shortly thereafter.

    d. 8/10 I am very intrigued to see how it all plays out!

    -Arthur Cole

    • Nacho

      Thanks a bunch! At some point I’ll go back around and tighten it up.

      I’m having trouble writing it as a mystery, because explaining the mystery and clues alone would take up most of the space leaving little for the meat of the story. I could probably do a better job by cutting out all of that, clues are probably something that don’t deserve the space in a synopsis.

      • Arthur Cole

        Haha! Yeah, the same mistake I know I made in my synopsis. Too much information that belongs in the story, but not the synopsis.

  • Nacho

    1 – is mine

    2. a – just cut a bit off and it’ll be perfect
    b – Everything is pretty pertinent, but goes into a little too much detail for a synopsis, which will be an excellent place to cut
    c – The story is amazing and the synopsis does a great job taking me through it, I don’t have any questions.
    d – 9/10, this story didn’t do much for me earlier in the process but sounds awesome

  • Kamary

    Nacho (Mystery)
    a) I believe the formatting and length to be good.
    b) feel like you gave too much information, telling us who the culprit would be right away. While you should summarize the plot, you also don’t want to give too much away.
    c) I don’t really get too much of the protagonist from this. While the widow and the mistress are clear, I think the protagonist needs a stronger voice to really drive the story.
    d) I’d rate it a 6/10

    BlueLikeATardis (Tragedy)
    a) The synopsis s a bit too long. I feel you could take out some of the detail to shorten it to one page flat.
    b) As previously mentioned, I think you could cut a lot of the interaction with Nur. Particularly, I think you could cut the reveal of Abel’s fate. I think it would have made for a great surprise, finding out what happened to him at the same time that Cain does.
    c) I feel like I can get a very good view of Cain, but less so Nur. I thought she’d be quite different judging from her character bio. I didn’t think she’d be so evil, but amoral. Still, I think the characterization of her is fine. However, I think you could have done more with Abel. He feels more like an object than a person.
    d) I’d rate is a 7/10

  • artisticBard

    Nacho (Mystery)

    a) Your synopsis is formatted correctly and looks to be the right length.

    b) I see there are a few spots where you could cut back on some of the information or rework your sentences. In the second paragraph, where you establish the plot, the first sentence is much too long. Perhaps try something like “Private Eye, John Ackroyd, is a disgraced former detective. While going over the details of a missing person’s case, a husband who had run off with his mistress no doubt, he is interrupted by a knock at the door.” There’s also no need to mention the “back and forth” between Ackroyd and Moreau, only that she has money and that’s enough to persuade him.

    Overall your synopsis drags on a little as it reads more like the outline of a story rather than a taste of what’s to come. This is a mystery after all, and the reader should be kept in suspense. 😉

    c) You certainly leave nothing to the imagination with your synopsis; it’s quite easy to understand the story as a whole. It’s hard to get a grasp on Ackroyd though, as he acts more like a tool to move the plot forward rather than an actual character. I suggest dipping into his motivations and feelings on the case or the other characters in your synopsis. The motives of the antagonist seem clear.

    I’d also like to mention, like ArthurCole had, that this case should be treated more as a missing person’s case rather than a suicide, since there is no body.

    d) I really enjoy the premise of the story, but the execution was a little lackluster, leaving this story at a 5/10 for me.

    BlueLikeATardis (Tragedy)

    a) The formatting is good, but seeing as we were asked for one page, it’s a little long.

    b) There is definitely much more information here than is needed. To start off with, I would suggest taking the last sentence from the first paragraph and merging it with the second paragraph, and cut out some of the other information (perhaps leave the readers guessing as to what Abel’s secret is?). There are a few other spots where you could cut down on some of the information, and there are some grammatical errors, but it seems like this could be easy enough to fix with a couple more revisions.

    c) The story definitely didn’t turn out how I expected to, which is great! It definitely fits the bill for a tragedy. The only issue is the excess in information and some strange wording that left be confused (again, simple fix with revision). I didn’t really get a sense of conflict between Cain’s feelings of jealousy and love for his brother. Other than that, he seemed pretty solid to me. I would have liked a little more on Abel, since as of right now, he just feels like a tool to move the plot forward, and not an actual character. It’s a bit harder to pin down what Nur is all about. While I can see how she can become an interesting antagonist, I feel like there needs to be another dimension to her.

    d) Overall, I’m still really interested in this story, as I find your take on this age old tale quite intriguing. But the excess of information and grammatical issues make it a bit hard to follow. 7/10.

  • BlueLikeATardis

    Nacho – 1.) The format and length looks to be alright since it’s supposed to be one page.

    2.) I don’t get a sense of mystery when I read the synopsis. It also feels like there is more information than there should be on the page. During the first half, I found myself to be confused. Is the missing person’s case also now a suicide? I am quite sure why Stone gaining weight has anything to do with the story. Why is this exactly so important? Where is the tie-in with this? Another question is that if Moreau was living with Stone’s dead body in the next room and it had been a few weeks, wouldn’t their be a smell of body decay? I liked the last paragraphed. It summarized the last bits of the story and didn’t feel like it contained too much information.

    3.) I can picture the story and I like what I see so far. I just don’t quite understand or get much of a sense of who John is in the story. It would help your story if you play around with John’s motivations and internal beliefs as the story goes on. It will help the reader connect better with the main character. You make the widow and mistress pretty clear and I understand who they are and their motivations. I still don’t quite grasps the Stone gaining weight thing.

    4.) 8/10

    BlueLikeATardis – That is me.