SYNOPSIS: Redemption For Liars - EDITED

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enewmeyer
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SYNOPSIS: Redemption For Liars - EDITED

Post by enewmeyer » March 31st, 2011, 6:02 pm

Here is my best attempt at the synopisis. I have several agents I'd like to query but need to have my synopsis in the best possible condition before I can. Thanks in advance for any critiques and advice you can give me.

Seeking vengeance is easy. Earning redemption is hell of a lot harder.

FBI agent JONAH WHITE will have lot to apologize for once his director and friends discover the true nature of his leave of absence. When the Feds call it case closed in the supposed suicide of his sister LEXIE, Jonah is hell bent on exacting justice for her death and tracking down her stolen inheritance. With his dog, DAX, a retired search and rescue dog by his side, and a Glock in his truck, Jonah sets off for Hill’s Creek, Texas, home of con artist to the rich and lonely, ELI SAVANTES. Too bad Eli has already been bagged and tagged. Wining and dining Eli’s widow, MAYA, a potential accomplice, should be as easy as offering her a shoulder to cry on and a bed to keep warm, but Jonah never expected to find himself on a collision course with love. Let the lying games begin.

When Maya Savantes finds herself tangled in sexy newcomer, Jonah White’s arms, she struggles to remind herself of who she really is: a 27-year-old widow and mother to 5-year-old, LILY. Her job as roller skating waitress at the local fifty’s style diner won’t cover the growing pile of debts her husband saddled her with, nor will it patch up the dilapidated shack she lives in. Giving in to an ill-timed, scandalous romp would only complicate matters, much to the chagrin of her two bosses and coworkers who work overtime to push the would-be lovers together.

Unfortunately for Maya, Eli’s illicit past refuses to stay buried and VINNIE, the loan shark Eli stiffed out of Lexie’s fifty grand, is one seriously pissed off badass with a penchant for violence. The threats start small at first but when bills and polite phone calls don’t work, he turns to sending in Maya’s former financial adviser, LEROY, a man with his own lies to atone for. Maya sends him packing following a scathing response to his plea for an interview, and sets Jonah in his place, making it clear that she doesn’t need his services as a knight in shining armor. When Leroy returns for a second time, Jonah intervenes but realizes that his investigation into Maya is going nowhere fast. All signs point to her innocence.

Determined to prove she can stand on her own two feet, however klutzy they may be, Maya resists Jonah’s many attempts to woo her, but she’s no match for a diner full of scheming women with too much time on their hands. When her car finally chugs its last breath, Maya’s bosses, LOU and MAX, hire Jonah as Maya’s private chauffeur, but when he attempts to kiss her, Maya dodges his lips and issues an ultimatum. If he wants her, he’ll have to wait until she’s ready. Jonah vows to honor her wishes and prove his worth. He sets about fixing up her porch, using the opportunity to search her house for Lexie’s money.

In a devious, but funny, plan of attack, Maya’s friends plan an impromptu makeover session, complete with a romantic candlelit dinner with Jonah, which kindles the flames of passion. The following day, Max quits and hires Jonah as the diner’s new short order cook, a job for which he is ill prepared. Jonah takes advantage of his new position to win his way into Maya’s good graces. He befriends her daughter, Lily, whom he hires as a dogsitter, but Lily is one smart cookie and insists that as payment, Jonah must agree to fix her roof. Through it all Jonah holds himself to his promise and avoids the lure of Maya’s body while slowly working to chip away at her heart.

Meanwhile, Maya’s financial troubles mount when she learns that one of the bills she’s been paying is a fake, and she is turned down for the car loan she so desperately needs. When Leroy returns, looking for a handout, he warns her of the danger that lurks nearby, from someone she trusts. Days later, the peace she basks in during a picnic at the lake is shattered by a phone call demanding the return of the money Eli stole.

An unexpected visit from the chief of police in the middle of the night sets Maya’s heart pounding when he implicated Jonah in murder . . . Leroy’s murder. With a dead body behind her house, and a boyfriend who snuck off under the cover of night, Maya fears the worst. Things only get worse when a sultry woman’s voice answers Jonah’s phone giving new life to her suspicions that Jonah’s lying to her.

When Jonah returns to town, armed with a small armory of weapons, he finds his undercover life quickly unraveling. He’s fired from his pseudo job, and when he surprises Maya at a self-defense class, she turns out to be a quick study, taking her anger out on Jonah by knocking him flat on his back. If only convincing the chief of police of his innocence was as easy as getting the wind knocked out of him! Finding his equilibrium and getting his investigation back on track takes a visit from Jonah’s best friend, JON LUC (J.L.), who holds in his hands Lexie’s last words to her brother: an apology and explanation that has them analyzing every detail of her death and the case against Eli. It keeps them too busy to notice the house that goes up in flames elsewhere in town.

Undeterred by Maya’s refusal to pay up, Vinnie ups the ante, unwavering in his campaign for the fifty grand. Following the structure fire that serves as an omen of more to come, Vinnie has Maya’s house vandalized. Emblazed across her new porch is the threat to “pay up or you’re next.” Picking their way through the broken glass and Dax’s bloody paw prints, Jonah and J.L.’s search exposes a very much alive, Eli Savantes. Locked in the motel room, Eli tells his side of the story. Together the men set a trap to capture Vinnie using Eli as bait.

Vinnie, however, learns of Jonah’s true identity, and has a plan of his own to expose Jonah as the liar he is, thus distracting Maya long enough for him to kidnap Lily. It works! During the town heritage parade while Maya and Jonah argue, Vinnie lures Lily away in search of her lost stuffed animal, a beloved present from her father. Little does he know how difficult it is to deal with a sassy five-year-old with a quick mind and an even sharper tongue!

The town goes into a panic, and the FBI and local police join forces to search for the little girl. Desperate to ease the pain in their hearts, Jonah and Maya seek solace in one another in a passionate moment cloaked in the steam of a shower. When they part, Jonah leaves for the most important, and most dangerous, mission of his life. As he gives his final orders to his team, Maya eavesdrops on the details of the plan. She gives her protection detail the slip at the church where she stops to pray before the press conference where she is expected to beg for her child’s safe return.

Wired but not armed with a weapon or any other type of protection, Eli waits for Vinnie in the barn of an abandoned dairy farm where the exchange is supposed to happen under Jonah’s watchful eye. Fifty grand for Lily. Vinnie shows up alone. Distressed but resigned to his fate, Eli gets Vinnie to talk while Jonah listens from the safety of cover. By the end of the conversation, Jonah shows himself and in the moment he hesitates, Vinnie fires a shot. Eli steps in front of the bullet, saving Jonah’s life. Jonah returns fire, wounding Vinnie.

Maya runs into the barn in time to learn of Eli’s inevitable death. Emotions run high as they speak for the final time and Maya forgives him for his actions, letting him die a hero. Unbeknownst to them, Vinnie has decided to go out in one last gun battle, his gun trained on Maya’s heart. Jonah shoots and kills him. It’s then that Maya realizes with horrifying clarity that Lily is still missing and the only man to know where she is hidden is dead.

Pooling all of their resources, the police race off the find the lakeside cabin Vinnie mentioned during his final rant. During the car ride to the cabin, Maya finally confronts Jonah about all of the lies. Jonah finds the cabin but Lily is gone, leaving behind a handful of Lily’s drawing including one of Eli as an angel. In a last ditch effort to find Lily, Jonah calls on Dax’s tracking skills. Dax puts her powerful sniffer to work and tracks the scent to the shore where a cabin cruiser floats a few feet away. Swimming to her rescue, Jonah, Dax, and Maya, are finally reunited with Lily.
Last edited by enewmeyer on June 16th, 2011, 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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oldhousejunkie
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Re: SYNOPSIS: Redemption For Liars - Romantic Suspense

Post by oldhousejunkie » April 7th, 2011, 7:51 pm

Ok, you got lots voice in this synopsis which is awesome. Conveying voice into my query and synopsis has been really difficult, so good job.

BUT....

Most of the agents I've looked at want a one page synopsis and this WAY longer than that. You get so caught up in doing a play by play that to be honest totally boggled my mind and then I just lost interest. You don't want an agent to do that! Especially with a book that sounds like a good, funny read. I think you need to pick your key plot points and focus on those. What gets the reader to the end of the novel? Now if you were shooting for a two page synopsis, I would still observe the plot points and just elaborate on those to get the length you want.

I would also be very careful about naming all of your characters. I understand that you have an ensemble cast, but as I mentioned before stick to the key points and the characters associated with those points. This will help you shorten the synopsis or keep it from spralling out of control. Some characters that could be cut: Leroy, for one. I don't see what he really contributes to the overall goal of the novel. I would cut him and cut the bit about the dead body turning up. That doesn't drive the reader to the end of the book (or the synopsis). Also, the staff at the diner could be cut and the part about Jonah getting hired on there. Try to avoid naming everyone, it just adds to the character soup as Query Shark says. The dog's name is irrelevent. And I might even go as far as to scrap Lexi's name too. All we need to know is that she's dead and her inheritance was stolen.

And finally, I felt like the last few paragraphs were rushed. Don't worry--I had the same problem with my synopsis. I think if you reorganize everything it will be easier to draw out the ending.

Overall, you have a winning way of writing, good grammar, etc. It's obvious that the book is well written, which is the ultimate goal of this exercise.

Best of luck!

enewmeyer
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Re: SYNOPSIS: Redemption For Liars - Romantic Suspense

Post by enewmeyer » June 16th, 2011, 3:01 pm

Here is the revised version. Does this make any sense at all? Does it leave you with more questions or do you feel like you understood the storyline? Is there anything else you think I should cut out or add in? Thank you!

****
Hill’s Creek, Texas: a small town filled with southern hospitality and picturesque wooded hills, perfect for hiding dead bodies. The people sure are nice, but the only thing they like more than their southern comfort food, is a heaping plate of secrets smothered in a delicious topping of lies. Finish it all off with a glassful of gossip.

Meet Maya, town sweetheart and all-around nice gal. Her problems first began when she married her deadbeat husband, a two-bit thief and con artist. She’s loves her daughter something fierce and works hard to put food on the table, and patch her ailing home with duct tape, and a wad of bubblegum. Now that her husband’s gone and buried, her waitressing job won’t be enough to appease the aggressive bill collectors trying to collect on debts she didn’t even know she had.

Maya’s crappy life is about to get a whole lot worse. She naively assumed that her life would improve with her husband’s untimely passing. Wrong. Not only is she unaware that he inadvertently faked his death, but he pissed off a loan shark who assumes Maya has the $50 grand her husband stole. And he wants the money back.

And then there’s JONAH, the FBI agent who just threw away his career (or pretty darn near) to avenge his sister’s murder. Trouble is, everyone assumes she committed suicide. Except him. He’s just that stubborn. He goes undercover to prove that ELI, con artist to the rich and lonely, had something to do with her death. There’s just one small glitch in his plan: Eli’s dead. Or so he thinks. He’ll spend his days wining and dining Eli’s widow, Maya, soothing her raw emotions to get her to reveal all her secrets. He even hires her young daughter as a dog sitter in exchange for his services as a handyman. Figuring out if Maya was an accomplice to Eli’s many crimes, becomes increasingly difficult as he finds himself falling in love with her. It will break her heart when she discovers the truth about Jonah.

While Maya and Jonah are getting all cozy, no one notices the dead bodies piling up, courtesy of the pissed off loan shark with a penchant for violence. After he kills the lackey who botched Eli’s murder, he sends in Maya’s old acquaintance to help shake things up. When the acquaintance fails to convince Maya to turn over the money, the loan shark kills him, framing Jonah for the murder. Unaware of the trouble he’s in, Jonah disappears in the middle of the night, leaving only an apology note with the promise to return soon.

With a dead body behind the house, and a missing boyfriend who’s now wanted for murder, trusting anyone becomes difficult. Maya finally starts to listen to her gut and realizes that Jonah may not be who he says he is. When Jonah returns, better armed with a team of FBI friends at his beck and call, he finds his undercover life unraveling. It isn’t until Maya’s house is broken into, and an ominous threat is scrawled in blood across her porch, that she is forced to rely on Jonah again.

While Jonah does a perimeter check, he spots someone lurking about, peeking in the window to Maya’s bedroom. Tackling the man, he receives his biggest shock yet: Eli, alive and ready to talk. Just one condition: Maya must never find out that Eli is still alive. It’s just one more secret Jonah must keep. During the interrogation, Eli explains how Jonah’s sister wound up dead, pinning the blame squarely on the loan shark. Even knowing his life and freedom are in peril, he refuses to return the money he stole, having already hidden it in his daughter’s favorite stuffed elephant. In a last ditch effort to redeem himself, Eli volunteers to be the bait that lures the loan shark out of hiding.

The loan shark isn’t about to give up just yet. He orchestrates an argument between Maya and Jonah by blowing Jonah’s cover once and for all. During the chaos, the loan shark lures Maya’s daughter away, but he is ill prepared to cope with a sassy five-year old with a quick mind and an even sharper tongue.

While the FBI and local police are busy searching for the kidnapped child, emotions get the best of Maya and Jonah. Cloaked in a steamy shower they console each other before falling into a restless sleep. Waking alone, Maya secretly overhears Jonah giving orders to the FBI team, including details about the plan to get her daughter back. Maya gives her protection detail the slip and races toward the meeting place.

Wired but unarmed, Eli meets the loan shark at an abandoned dairy farm to make the exchange: fifty grand in exchange for the little girl. Eli gets the loan shark to talk while Jonah listens from a safe distance. By the end of the conversation, Jonah shows himself. The loan shark fires one round and Eli steps in front of the bullet, saving Jonah’s life. Jonah returns fire.

Maya runs into the barn in time to learn of Eli’s inevitable death. Emotions run high as Maya forgives him for his actions, letting him die a hero. Unbeknownst to them, the loan shark doesn’t plan to be taken alive. When he aims his gun at Maya, Jonah shoots and kills him. It’s then that Maya realizes with horrifying clarity that her daughter is still missing, and only a dead man knows where she is hidden.

By the time Jonah and Maya find the loan shark’s lakeside cabin, the little girl has already been moved, leaving behind a handful of drawings, including one of Eli as an angel. Jonah calls on the skills of his search and rescue dog, who tracks her scent to the shore. A boat floats a few feet away. Unsure of what they would find, Jonah and Maya swim to the little girl’s rescue and are happily reunited.

Months later, Maya visits Eli’s grave to tell him of the hero’s funeral he received and of news of her marriage to Jonah.

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Re: SYNOPSIS: Redemption For Liars - EDITED

Post by gganate » February 22nd, 2012, 1:02 pm

It's good writing, but like the first poster said, it's still much too long. My synopsis for my first novel is 672 words and I think it needs to be shortened. 500 words should probably be your goal. I think you need to take out some of the description and make it more bare-bones. It read like the back cover of a novel, but I would save that style for your query. Try to reduce it to the machinations of the plot.

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Re: SYNOPSIS: Redemption For Liars - EDITED

Post by Quill » February 23rd, 2012, 11:06 am

I find the second one reads pretty well.

As for length, I think it is best to have at least two synopses; one condensed to a page and the other as long as it needs to be, a full synopsis.

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Re: SYNOPSIS: Redemption For Liars - EDITED

Post by cjcurrie » April 4th, 2012, 1:33 pm

I personally liked your first synopsis more. The second seems to have a lot of voice in it, and some of the voicing seems forced.

Decent composition, but like the above said, it's way too long for a query. A lot of agents will probably look at that wall of text and just hit delete. Maybe try Nathan's "One Sentence, One Paragraph, Two" exercise at http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/05 ... d-two.html. I found it helped me a lot.

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