If at first you don’t succeed…

…apply the lesson as seen in this clip from The Swan Princess.


To those who have seen the movie, the scene depicts Prince Derek sharpening his skills so that when he finds the Great Monster, he’ll save Princess Odette, and live happily ever after. This can be applied to writers, too, except the Great Monster is the dreaded synopsis, and you must defeat it in order to get the princess agent. I have way more experience completing novels than I do with synopses. I can bet every writer feels the same way, but it’s a skill we need if we’re to have any success in getting repped. Fortunately, the internet offers a wealth of tips, tricks, do this, not that, and samples for books that went on to be published. The one I found the most helpful was written by Susan Dennard. Just head on over to her How To Write A 1-Page Synopsis and see for yourself!

Why am I bringing this up? Well, aside from needing the practice, hehe. I am looking to submit the first fifteen pages of The Shadow Conflict to Writer’s Relief for their client list consideration. They offer proofreading and editing services, but also extend invitations to writers during open submissions. Since I need my synopsis to shine, I decided to use Renegade as the springboard, while utilizing Susan Dennard’s method. My first draft clocked in at almost 600 words. The short synopsis must be less than 500. I managed to get it to 481:

Serena Gulledge

Millennia have passed since the end of the Xabeldi/Nureni war. Now banished to the farthest reaches of space, the Nureni prepare to exact vengeance.
Xabeldi outcast Xargun, imprisoned by the Nureni and biologically changed into a human, wants one thing: freedom. To get it, he must go to Earth to capture Autumn Welles. She possesses a power the Nureni and Xabeldi covet.
Xargun’s first hour on Earth turns violent when he encounters three members of the Xabeldi Special Forces. Taking the name ‘Simon’, he tracks down Autumn to a parking garage. Autumn proves to be a handful, and her desperate bid for freedom escalates into risking their lives when she veers into traffic. Simon nearly kills her for it, and is tortured by the control device implanted in his body.
After another close call with Xabeldi agents, Simon flees in a stolen aircraft with Autumn. A surprise attack by the Xabeldi Special Forces captain, Arxon, destroys the ship. Simon is injured; when faced with the odds of her survival, Autumn abandons her plans to escape and helps him. An accidental touch awakens her sleeping power, resulting in telekinetic bursts when she’s agitated. Simon suspects something else is going on.
Arxon finds them and, after leaving Simon for dead, takes Autumn to his ship. Simon infiltrates the ship, but the sleeping agent Arxon used on Autumn threatens her life. Simon saves her, and in her panic she slaps him, and siphons some of his power. Exhausted, they retreat to a motel. Autumn reveals she can now hear thoughts, and she strikes a deal with him: she’d go with him if he swore to bring her home. Arxon attacks the motel, and captures Simon and Autumn when they try to escape on the road. Arxon takes them to the Xabeldi home world.
Once there, the truth becomes clear: Simon and Autumn contain one half of an ancient Xabeldi’s power. In order to restore it, Autumn must absorb the half Simon carries through touch. The Nureni take over Simon’s body using the control device, and he goes on a killing spree. After ‘Simon’ saves Autumn, he claims he was never taking her home. Devastated, Autumn expects to die.
The Nureni force Autumn to touch Simon. Armed with the ancient’s power, the Nureni prepare for rejuvenation. Simon frees Autumn, kills the Nureni and steals a ship, but is mortally wounded. Autumn heals him while they escape. Arxon’s attack cripples the ship. Simon sends Autumn home through a teleportation gateway, then jumps in after her. The ship crashes, but Arxon doesn’t think Simon is dead, and swears to find him. Meanwhile, Simon has appeared in the cargo hold of an isolated outpost, where a Xabeldi waits for him.
Six months later, Autumn tries to resume her normal life while balancing her telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Something tells her she’ll see Simon again. It’s not over yet.

The weird thing is that once I got the hang of the process, it became easier for me to narrow it down to the basics. The key here is flow. I’m not saying this is the best I can do, but hey, it’s a start. I’ll practice next with Lifeline, or perhaps try my hand at Renegade‘s sequels, Exile and Savior. Lifeline will be slightly more challenging for me since there is no clear cut antagonist. All the conflict exists in Gabriel himself, which he must overcome in order to resolve the main plot. Whatever I do next, I have until April 10th to submit to Writer’s Relief. Here’s to hoping my final result is my best!


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