Lifting the Lid: Summing It Up

Writing a synopsis is, for most writers, nothing more and nothing less than an interminable, howling chore. I speak from experience, having struggled endlessly to condense my 150,000 word epic fantasy into 500 words or less. It was, needless to say, a low point in my creative process.

Then I came upon this very helpful article over at Pub(lishing) Crawl, and it fell as it had been scales from my eyes, to coin a phrase. The writer has provided her own method for writing a synopsis, based loosely around the Hero’s Quest structure of storytelling, and has illustrated it magnificently from one of the best and simplest stories ever told (feel free to disagree).

So, taking her excellent advice, I have boiled The Endless Circle down into about 580 words, and I’m sharing it here in order to ask you lovely people for feedback. If it’s ok with you, that is.

So have a read, and please let me know what you think. Is it dry? Pedestrian? Derivative? Put-down-able? Or maybe thrilling, riveting, and a sure fire must-buy?

I appreciate your thoughts!

[SPOILER ALERT for those of you who have not read The Endless Circle]

Once upon a time, the cult of the galac-men terrorised the lands of Padacel, practicing human sacrifice in worship of their dark gods, drawing power from the mysterious circles of standing stones.

A hundred years later, Banac, a boy from a tiny fishing village, dreams of a life of adventure: riding on adventures to the city of Padascel, fighting galac-men, or battling the mythical, white-skinned beremen who live aross the sea.

Banac’s discovery of a real, living beremer, apparently being held prisoner by a sect of the galac-men, sets in motion a chain of events that culminates with his father and the beremer being taken away by soldiers from Padascel, led by a travelling Scholar who has more connections to the galac-men than meets the eye.

Ridden with guilt for what he sees as his part in his father’s capture, Banac decides he must follow the Scholar and attempt to rescue his father. His brother, Balor, goes with him, despite Banac’s attempts to make him turn back. They follow the Scholar to the city of Padacel, rescuing the beremer along the way and learning more about him and his people. The relationships between them are fraught, as Balor comes to trust the beremer over his brother.

When they arrive at the city they are separated. Banac is captured by the Scholar, and learns that the galac-men are re-emerging, with Padascel as their base. What he does not know is that his Father is head of a secret order opposed to the galac-men, charged with protecting the standing stones, and that he has been working undercover to infiltrate the cult and form ties with the beremen in order to stop its spread. Balor and the beremer make their way into the city, but they, too, are separated from each other. Balor decides to find his father on his own.

Banac escapes from the Scholar and helps the prince of Padascel discover a meeting of the galac-men. In exchange, the prince promises to help Banac and his family return home in safety. They find Banac’s father (who had since met Balor) at a meeting of the galac-men, in which the beremer is about to be sacrificed. They unmask the leader of the galac-men: the prince’s own brother, but the Scholar manages to escape, and rouses the city with rumours of a hated beremer within the walls.

After agreeing to work with Banac’s father and the beremer to combat the galac-men, the prince helps them to leave the city secretly. On their way out, however, they are confronted by the Scholar with a band of mercenaries. In the ensuing combat Banac has an opportunity to kill the Scholar and put an end to his evil.

But before he can strike the killing blow, his father arrives to persuade him not to go through with it. The Scholar is arrested instead, along with his cronies.

They leave the city and sail across the sea to return the beremer to his people. But when they return to their village they find that the prince’s brother escaped custody and murdered their mother in revenge for father’s part in his defeat.

Banac must face up to a life broken by his ‘adventure’. He returns to the standing stones to reflect on all that has happened, and is met my a mysterious stranger named Helm who says he has much to tell him about his father and the part he must play in coming events …

Remember, I am bulletproof, so open fire if you must!

Hope you all have a good day.

Regards,

Ed

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3 thoughts on “Lifting the Lid: Summing It Up

Add yours

  1. Firstly thank you for sharing this. I can always use all the help I can get with the synopsis. I feel like it’s a little long, but I think I confuse synopsis’s (synopsi?) with back book blurbs. It is a tiny bit dry for an adventure novel, I feel like adventure is more short, choppy, exciting sentences, particularly where the synopsis is concerned but it is definitely thorough. Does it tell a little too much? (if that’s possible). Hope this is somewhat helpful.

    1. Thanks for the (amazingly swift) feedback!I’m told it’s best practice (in a synopsis as opposed to a blurb) to tell the whole story. Perhaps I should add a spoilers disclaimer to the top of the post to help readers avoid disappointment.

      Also, thanks for the tip about pace. You’re right: the synopsis should try to match the style and tone of the book. I shall do some tweaking!

      1. Glad to help. And yeah I would do the spoilers thing, I was like wait do I know too much? It’s a really good book and I really want the synopsis to fit that. But I will keep that in mind with the telling the whole story in a synopsis. I generally just write back cover blurbs and those are pretty hard too because you want to make sure their interesting enough that people want to read them, short, snappy and yet convey the basic theme. Good luck. 😀

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