Synopsis: The Iron Pillar (Women's Fiction)

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Melissa LR Handa
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Synopsis: The Iron Pillar (Women's Fiction)

Post by Melissa LR Handa » October 26th, 2010, 10:36 am

Hello everyone. I've found the help offered on these forums with regards to my query letter to be invaluable. Here's my first attempt at a one page synopsis (sorry if it tends to be a bit rough, it IS my first draft), I can't wait for the feedback. Thank you kindly for your help :-D

Daly English would rather keep to herself than risk opening her heart to pain. At twenty-five, she has felt pain enough for a lifetime; she’s already suffered through the death of her beloved father and the emotional estrangement of her mother, and now faces abandonment by her long-term boyfriend and the loss of her job as a middle school art teacher due to a failing economy. Now Daly must move back to a town, where she never felt at home and attempt coexistence with the mother who shunned her long ago.

Wallowing in self-pity would be admitting defeat. Daly finds it much more natural to stave off emotional encounters by cataloging them in her idiosyncratic written collection. She reasons that once the purest form of a given emotion has been experienced, there is no longer any need to acknowledge its derivative forms. This technique serves her well, until she meets someone who cares too much to let Daly retreat into herself.

Kashi, a light-hearted charmer from India, is a firm believer in the power of destiny, refusing to take Daly on a date until they have met by chance a total of three times—a hat trick of fate. Comforted by his perennial optimism and carefree attitude, Daly slowly allows herself to fall in love with Kashi. Their romance unfolds quickly after an enchanting first date at the zoo and a sensual second date at a starlit summit. Before they can commit themselves to each other for life, Daly must journey to Kashi’s hometown of New Delhi and obtain approval from his family.

In Delhi, Daly encounters the mysterious Iron Pillar—a monument that is believed to have magical properties. Having been tormented by negative feelings throughout her life, Daly wishes for nothing more than contentment. Her encounter with the pillar offers a turning point in the novel. Shortly after, the lovers are discovered in a midnight tryst on the family’s rooftop terrace. Kashi’s parents are distraught, summarily rejecting Daly. She runs away into the unknown foreign city, where she joins up with a tour group.

In Daly’s absence, Kashi’s parents attempt to force an arranged marriage on him. With the help of his sisters, Kashi encourages them to reconsider his attachment to Daly. Thus gaining their approval, he scours the vast city and eventually discovers that Daly has gone to Agra with the tour group. He catches up with Daly at the Taj Mahal, where he apologizes and asks for her hand in marriage. The two return to Delhi and have an extravagant three-day wedding ceremony. They settle into married life happily and all seems in order until Kashi is summoned to India on family business.

During the course of his transatlantic flight, a fire of unknown origin causes an explosion killing all passengers instantaneously. This tragedy is made even more difficult for newly-widowed Daly by the remembrance of her late father, who worked as a pilot.

Daly’s mother, Laine, watches as her daughter numbs herself to the world around her. Laine realizes that if she is to offer Daly deliverance from the shackles of an overly-guarded heart, she must first confront the similar grief that has been plaguing her for more than thirteen years.

priya g.
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Re: Synopsis: The Iron Pillar (Women's Fiction)

Post by priya g. » October 27th, 2010, 1:09 pm

Melissa LR Handa wrote:
Daly English would rather keep to herself than risk opening her heart to pain. At twenty-five, she has felt pain enough for a lifetime; THE FIRST TWO SENTENCES WOULD SEEM LIKE A GOOD OPENING FOR A QUERY LETTER OR BLURB. I WOULD SUGGEST YOU JUMP RIGHT INTO HER PROBLEMS SO THAT THE READER, E.G. AGENT FINDS THE SYMPATHY FACTOR WITHOUT BEING TOLD. she’s already suffered through the death of her beloved father and the emotional estrangement of her mother, and now faces abandonment by her long-term boyfriend and the loss of her job as a middle school art teacher due to a failing economy THIS SENTENCE IS TOO CHUNKY. BREAK IT DOWN INTO TWO- ONE PAST AND OTHER PRESENT. THE 'DUE TO FAILING ECONOMY' PART SEEMS OUT OF PLACE. Now Daly must move back to a town, where she never felt at home and attempt coexistence with the mother who shunned her long ago.

Wallowing in self-pity would be admitting defeat. Daly finds it much more natural to stave off emotional encounters by cataloging them in her idiosyncratic written collection. She reasons that once the purest form of a given emotion has been experienced, there is no longer any need to acknowledge its derivative forms. This technique serves her well, until she meets someone who cares too much to let Daly retreat into herself. THIS PARAGRAPH IS SAYING NOTHING MUCH ABOUT THE PLOT- HOW ABOUT YOU COMBINE IT ALL INTO THE LAST SENTENCE? OR IF NOT, GIVE EXAMPLES OF HOW SHE BOTTLES UP EMOTIONS.

Kashi, a light-hearted charmer from India, is a firm believer in the power of destiny, refusing to take Daly on a date until they have met by chance a total of three times—a hat trick of fate. Comforted by his perennial optimism and carefree attitude, Daly slowly allows herself to fall in love with Kashi. Their romance unfolds quickly after an enchanting first date at the zoo and a sensual second date at a starlit summit. Before they can commit themselves to each other for life, Daly must journey to Kashi’s hometown of New Delhi and obtain approval from his family. THIS PARAGRAPH TELLS A LOT ABOUT KASHI BUT COULD YOU INCLUDE A BIT MORE ABOUT WHY HE IS SO TAKEN BY HER? THEY ARE OPPOSITES, TRUE, BUT IT DOESNT COME OUT TOO CLEARLY.

In Delhi, Daly encounters the mysterious Iron Pillar—a monument WHERE IS THIS MONUMENT? IS IT THE ONE IN QUTUMB MINAR? that is believed to have magical properties WHICH PROPERTIES? HEALING?. Having been tormented by negative feelings throughout her life, Daly wishes for nothing more than contentment HOW DOES SHE WISH IN FRONT OF THE PILLAR? ANY METHOD?. Her encounter with the pillar offers a turning point in the novel. Shortly after, the lovers are discovered in a midnight tryst on the family’s rooftop terrace. Kashi’s parents are distraught, summarily rejecting Daly. She runs away into the unknown foreign city, where she joins up with a tour group. THIS LAST SENTENCE SEEMS A JUMBLE UP. COULD YOU PUT A BIT MORE ABOUT HOW SHE COULD BE SO CARELESS? LIKE HOW SHE DOESNT KNOW THE DANGERS OF BEING A LONELY WOMAN IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD ETC

In Daly’s absence, Kashi’s parents attempt to force an arranged marriage on him. With the help of his sisters, Kashi encourages them to reconsider his attachment to Daly COULD YOU PUT HOW HE CONVINCES THEM- THAT IS, SINCE INDIANS ARE SO CONSERVATIVE, THERE HAS TO BE A DOWNRIGHT GOOD REASON FOR THEM TO WANT TO SEE DALY'S FACE AGAIN. Thus gaining their approval, he scours the vast city and eventually discovers that Daly has gone to Agra with the tour group I AM GOING TO BE A BIT CRITICAL HERE- DELHI IS A BIG AS IN BIG. CITY. FINDING SOMEONE THERE IS EQUIVALENT TO LOOKING FOR A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK. COULD YOU ELABORATE ON HOW HE FINDS OUT ABOUT HER? He catches up with Daly at the Taj Mahal, where he apologizes and asks for her hand in marriage THIS IS SORT OF A FAIRY TALE MOMENT OF THE STORY- HIGHLIGHT THAT ELEMENT IN DALY'S EYES. The two return to Delhi and have an extravagant three-day wedding ceremony. They settle into married life happily and all seems in order until Kashi is summoned to India on family business. WAIT SO WERENT THEY IN INDIA ALL ALONG? MENTION WHEN THEY MOVE OUT AND TO WHERE.

During the course of his transatlantic flight, a fire of unknown origin causes an explosion killing all passengers instantaneously. This tragedy is made even more difficult for newly-widowed Daly by the remembrance of her late father, who worked as a pilot. THESE TWO SENTENCES DONT SEEM TO GO WELL TOGETHER- HOW ABOUT IT SEEMS LIKE DEJA VU TO HER? THAT WAY YOU CAN ADD HOW SHE NOW STANDS IN HER MOTHER'S SHOES.

Daly’s mother, Laine, watches as her daughter numbs herself to the world around her. Laine realizes that if she is to offer Daly deliverance from the shackles of an overly-guarded heart, she must first confront the similar grief that has been plaguing her for more than thirteen years PERFECT ENDING.
Now, I am no professional editor, but that's what my suggestions are. All in all, I am a bit confused about the proportions of the book spent on each plot- how long is Daly's affair with Kashi emphasized? how long is her mourning over his death? how much of the book is dedicated to Laine helping her? answering these questions will help you structure your synopsis and how much importance should be given to each part.
Hope I helped!

Jaligard
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Re: Synopsis: The Iron Pillar (Women's Fiction)

Post by Jaligard » November 9th, 2010, 5:50 pm

Melissa LR Handa wrote:Daly English would rather keep to herself than risk opening her heart to pain. At twenty-five, she has felt pain enough for a lifetime; she’s already suffered through the death of her beloved father and the emotional estrangement of her mother, and now faces abandonment by her long-term boyfriend and the loss of her job as a middle school art teacher due to a failing economy. Now Daly must move back to a town, where she never felt at home and attempt coexistence with the mother who shunned her long ago.
I'm entirely new to the synopsis-writing game. The ones I have managed have been horrid; they're not ready even for internet message boards. So take my advice with a grain of salt. I only have a vague idea what synopsis are supposed to look like.

This feels like a broader version of your query letter. In some ways, that's good; in some ways bad. I think we should get more about Daly than how she deals with emotions and what happens to her. We know she's a recently unempoyed middle-school teacher with a history of loss. I want to know more about her personality. She seems far too generic thus far and I doubt that's the case. She has a personality and she's going to be carrying this novel. Share it.
A fire of unknown origin causes an explosion killing all passengers instantaneously.
You know how I feel about this. "Kashi's plane catches fire in the mid-Atlantic. It explodes. No ones survives."

There's a lot of similar passive language in the synopsis that can be elevated into more exciting prose.
The two return to Delhi and have an extravagant three-day wedding ceremony.
A three-day wedding ceremony should bring up great images, especially an extravagent Indian ceremony. And it should be a culmination of the novel, so take us there (even if you only have a sentence or two to work with).
Her encounter with the pillar offers a turning point in the novel.
Another culminating point, but it does nothing for me. It's too passive. Your book is named for it, make us feel it in the synopsis. How does she feel? What does she do? How does this relic change her?

That's all I've got for now. It sounds interesting. Can't wait to read it.

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