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I Ask You: Synopsis Options

Posted by Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa , in Bibliophilism Dec 28 2012 · 479 views

I'll go into greater, more specific details re the purposes of this, which should be essentially self-explanatory, but for the moment I'd like to ask you guys a favor. I merely ask you to look at these two synopses I've drafted and elect your preference. Mix and match if you wish, share your thoughts, let me know if it's the type of synopsis that would entice you to read a book. Thanks!
Mockingbird was a drowsy town in rural Lancaster Pennsylvania, a place where nothing ever happened and nothing ever changed. It was a place where the farmers tilled their fields and milked their cows, and their troubles began with bad weather or ill livestock and ended at the local bar. That's what it was.
Now it's a town left ravaged by death. In the wake of the Great War, young veteran Pattrick Clayton has only begun to readjust to the tranquility of farm life when death intrudes once again. Madge Emig, beloved town gossip and Pattrick's own aunt, has died. As reluctant as the Claytons are to believe it, all signs point to suicide. Even while the already broken Clayton family grapples with this new grief, death strikes again, even closer to home. And this time there is no question: it's murder.
When Private Inquiry Agent Leo Westmacott arrives in town, duty calls him to dig strife up by the roots and restore peace to Mockingbird. Joined by his secretary and the eager Pattrick Clayton, he delves deeper into the lives and minds of the people, unearthing secrets and deceptions that prove even the lives of countryfolk may not be as simple as they appear.
A mystery novel that follows all the conventions of the detective fiction genre yet stands in a category all its own, The Second Death takes you on a tour in an era where times may have been different but people were not. Memorable characters will guide you along the way as you explore the roots of faith and fathom the shadowy regions of death to discover the secrets at the depths of the human psyche on a journey fraught with wit, wisdom, and mystery. 
When Pattrick Clayton's father died, he didn't know how life could go on. With the coming of the Great War he thought surely the world would stop spinning. When he came out of the army without the brother who had led him in, he wondered if there could ever be escape for him from the plague of death that pursued him at every turn.
Home again in tranquil Mockingbird, Pennsylvania, Pattrick has only begun to readjust to the tranquility of farm life. Slowly peace and happiness returns to his life. Normality begins to recover from the destruction left in the wake of death.
Then it strikes again. Pattrick hasn't been home a whole year when his aunt, beloved town gossip, is found dead. All signs point to suicide. The Claytons deny it, but nothing will stop people from talking and believing what they want. Before the Claytons can even begin to recover from this new grief, death strikes again, even closer to home. And this time there is no question: it's murder.
Retired Private Inquiry Agent Leo Westmacott arrives on the scene, an old family friend come to pay his respects. But duty is a hard thing to avoid. With the aid of his secretary and the eager Pattrick Clayton, now it's up to good old Uncle Leo to seek out the truth. The deeper in the lives and minds of the people he gets and the more secrets and deceptions he unearths, the more convinced he becomes that even the lives of countryfolk are not as innocent as they appear.
A mystery novel in the classic vein that stands in a category all its own, The Second Death will guide you through a tangle of death and lies on a tour fraught with unforgettable characters, incisive wit, piercing wisdom, and secrets that might just prove that there's more to your own heart than you even realize.

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:

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Both are too long.  I'd shoot for 200 words maximum, and both of these are around 300.


I don't like either of the first paragraphs.  A's seems too cliche, and B's is very overwrought.


Also, the last paragraphs of both synopses are way too self-congratulatory.  "[S]tands in a category all its own?"  That's a huge promise, and overselling is the last thing you want to do.


I also have some really specific issues with working, etc., but that's a bit too nitpicky.


I'd say that the best would be the middle two paragraphs of A (minus the sentence beginning in "Now it's a").  But why is Clayton's father never mentioned in the first synopsis?

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Ballom Nom Nom
Dec 28 2012 09:50 PM
Both seem excessively long in detailing the town and Clayton, as well as far too laudatory in the last sentences. The synopses only would turn me off reading such a book, really.

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Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
Dec 29 2012 11:34 AM

Thanks, guys. I appreciate the feedback and I'll take this all into consideration.


Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:

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Dramatis Personae


A young man with his feet on the ground and his head in the sky, and an inclination to implement the occasional headstand.

Nuile, Wordsmith

Penman of a number of BIONICLE and Neopets short stories, as well as three epics, based respectively on the aforementiond and Avatar: The Last Airbender. This writer has also penned a full-length mystery novel, a work in progress pending final revisions and publication.

More than that, the BZPower League of Authors was his brainchild, which he has developed into the Ambage with the help of Velox, Cederak and 55555. This refuge and practice arena for writers is open to all with a penchant for the literary arts.

Nuile, Bibliophile

For him to select a favorite book, or a favorite writer, would be impossible. But of the latter, he most admires Dame Agatha Christie, Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harper Lee, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Sinclair Lewis. Favorite books he includes in this chart:

To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

The Moonstone (Collins)

Murder on the Orient Express, Death in the Clouds, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Clocks (Christie)

The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Lost World (Doyle)

Out of the Silent Planet (C.S. Lewis)

Free Air (Sinclair Lewis)

The Bat (Hopwood and Rinehart)

The Nine Tailors (Sayers)

Nuile, Cinéaste

This fellow thinks the world begins and ends with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Before its birth, however, he confesses that Sam Raimi and David Koepp's Spider-Man, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer's Batman Begins, the Indiana Jones series, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins were films more than worthy of watching.

Nuile, Television Viewer

The Dick Van Dyke Show by far surpasses any television show produced prior or hence. Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver and The Andy Griffith Show are excellent series from a similar time frame. MacGyver is hard to beat. Diagnosis Murder, Monk and Murder, She Wrote are his favorite mystery series. In animation he most enjoys Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel; Batman: The Animated Series alongside Batman Beyond and The Batman; Phineas and Ferb, one of the most creatively funny cartoons he has ever seen.

Nuile, Cuisinier

Asian and Italian foods may be his enthusiasms, but he's not above a juicy burger or a spicy taco. As far as his own cooking, he oft gets more adventurous than his family appreciates, though when he behaves he can conjure a reason for your taste buds to celebrate. By far his favorite meal: Thanksgiving 2011, consisting of Paula Dean's Indian Succotash, Grean Bean Casserole, Orange Corn Bread, Bacon Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Coconut Biscuits, and Mashed Cauliflower and Potatoes.

Nuile, Musicologist

He pleads guilty to sheer ignorance, unworthy even of being called an amateur in this department. But dramatic scores and profound lyrics top his charts. The Impossible Dream from The Man of La Mancha and I Can Go the Distance as performed by Michael Bolton are cited as his two favorite songs, amidst much of Celtic Thunder's work.

Nuile, Gamer

Disney's Epic Mickey, the Kingdom Hearts series, and the Pokémon series are the only video games he considers worthy of notation.

Nuile, Sportsman

As fast on his feet as he is between the ears, he enjoys games of muscle and of strategy. Physically, he likes most to play football; but nothing beats a game of chess in his book.

The Art of Writing

It is my belief that a writer should be above human emotions, desires, vices, flaws; a writer should be almost superhuman, something like a monk. However, like monks, this is not an attribute that comes naturally, rather an ability that must be worked at.

More tangibly, one of the most important characteristics a writer can possess is tenacity. An artist's life is never an easy one. An artist presents themself to the world, and ineluctably there will be critics alongside the fans. But anyone who knows real love won't let it be quelled by what others think. Never give up, never despond. So maybe nobody's perfect; I'm not, and I never will be. But an artist, like a monk, is one who always strives to improve her- or himself, who never ceases to reach for the unreachable. Every amelioration is an achievement. And every day a writer achieves something merely by writing, for every word written is a word toward amelioration. If you are good, you can always be better; if you are great, you can always be greater.

What matters most for writers is that they take pride in their own own work. Ultimately your biggest fan and your biggest critic is yourself, and that's who you have to please the most. No artist truly passionate about their art does what they do for someone's approval or just to get paid. At the heart of every artist is a person who does what they do because they love to do it. I'm an artist; I'm a writer. I don't stop trying to get better, I don't stop striving for perfection--but I enjoy every step of the amelioration process, I appreciate every improvement, and I am always happy with where I am, yet always be eager about where I'm going. Writing is a journey with no destination. Writing is a quest without end. Writing is spiritual nomadism.

And it's not easy. It's frought with difficulty, trouble, disappointment, and grief--but a journey without end gives its reward not in the destination but in every step of the path.

Yet I have not even touched upon just what a writer is; which is because a writer, simply put, is everything. A writer is an artist, but also a psychologist, and a logician, a philosopher, a scientist, an adventurer, an inventor, a politician, a magician, and multitudinous others. A writer is everything because they write about everything. "Write what you know"; that's not the rule I live by. "Know what you write," that's my creed. Writers know a little about everything, and everything about a little. And when they don't know . . . they read!

That's a writer's life. It's the kind of life I love. It's a wonderful gift. A writer's life is the kind of life I live and always will live. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

June 2018

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[9:26:46 PM] Aimee: it is so adorable how authors have favorite authors
[9:27:25 PM] Andrew P: You're an author. You have favorite authors. =P
[9:27:39 PM] Aimee: yes and i get to talk to them on skype all day

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Some random air-head decided to be pompous and condescending and "honor" me with his approbation. I guess there's a pride of some sort in being recognized by the mentally unsound. It makes me feel special--or weird, one of those two. Thanks, Tekulo!