Thursday, May 11, 2017

Synopsis Critique #8 - NA Paranormal Romance

And now, it's time for this week's synopsis critique! The author of DEFINING LOVE, a 67,000-word New Adult Paranormal Romance, submitted this synopsis. My in-line comments are [blue and in brackets], and I'll include a summary at the end. Feel free to comment below!

If you'd like a primer on how to write a synopsis, see my posts here and here. And if you want your synopsis critiqued on this website, fill out the form here, or email your 1-2 page synopsis to me at, and I'll post one critique per week (NOTE: I'll email my critique to the author as soon as I'm done, so the author won't have to wait to see his/her synopsis on the site). Thanks for participating!


LUCINDA risks her life by venturing into the Blood Moone pack territory to find her friend, MIA. [I'm assuming the Blood Moone pack is werewolves, but it's worth being specific about that up front] Instead she stumbles across DYLAN, her childhood best friend, turned mate, that rejected her and is the single reason she’s a lone wolf with no pack, aka a rogue. After her encounter with Dylan, Lucinda’s first reaction is to leave the territory immediately, abandoning her soul [sole] purpose for being there - seeking help to escape her psychotic ex-lover that is tracking her. [I thought her reason for being there was to find Mia? Or is she finding Mia to help her escape her psychotic ex-lover? In other words, this is a little confusing as written] However, she piques the interest of the pack Alpha, CAIDEN, and he takes her wolf on a run in the forest, where he convinces her to stay for a couple of days. [There are a lot of characters introduced in this paragraph. I'd suggest leaving out Mia's name, since she seems the least significant (barely appears again elsewhere in the synopsis). Instead, just refer to her as 'her friend' or 'her best friend' or whatever is accurate. Then we're only introduced to Lucinda, Dylan, and Caiden in this paragraph, and that's manageable]
FELIX, the nightmare of a man Lucinda is desperately trying to escape, cross[es] paths with Lucinda and Mia while shopping in a public and very crowded mall. [When does this happen? Give readers a little more to help orient them and connect the dots with the preceding paragraph: 'A few days after her run with Caiden...' or 'Weeks later...' or something like that] In a desperate attempt to protect the innocent from bloodshed, Lucinda reluctantly agrees to leave with Felix. Though the entire time she’s plotting her escape. [This is a sentence fragment. You can just add it after a comma to the preceding sentence, though I'd change the syntax to '...agrees to leave with Felix, though she's plotting her escape the entire time.'] After an eerie conversation with another captive, [where does Felix take her? How is she being held captive?] Lucinda hastens her escape. Dylan is sent to free Lucinda, however by the time he finds her, Felix has already whipped her over good. [Does that mean literally whipping, or is it a less-specific phrase that means physical abuse?] She agrees to return to the Blood Moone pack until she is fully healed.
Caiden is a broken man. Haunted by the dark secret of a raging beast that resides within him, and guilt-ridden over the death of his mate, whom he couldn’t protect. [Either combine the preceding two sentences (use a colon after 'broken man' and follow with 'he is haunted...') or combine the last sentence with this next one] Caiden puts distance between him and his pack. When he meets Lucinda, he sees a chance at redemption from his prior failures. He struggles with the choice of protecting his pack and shunning Lucinda, merely a rogue wolf whom [who] desperately needs his help; or putting his pack in danger by helping Lucinda, redeeming himself from self-imposed guilt and reclaiming his self-worth. [How would helping Lucinda put his pack in danger? Because of Felix? Be specific here]
Attitudes in the Blood Moone pack escalate [what does it mean to have attitudes escalating? Tempers could escalate, or tensions, or possibly bad attitudes, but just saying attitudes isn't descriptive enough] and certain people of power have their own agenda, which is not favorable to Caiden. Despite his resistance, Lucinda and Caiden have grown close. With Mia’s prodding, Lucinda reluctantly agrees to stay in the Blood Moone territory and help strengthen the pack by encouraging confidence in Caiden’s leadership. [Why is she reluctant to stay? It seems like she doesn't really have another option]
Felix returns and captures Caiden by surprise. He hopes to persuade Lucinda into a trade. [What is the trade? Caiden for Lucinda, or something else?] Caiden’s raging beast is released and the slaughter Felix planned is ruined, [who was he planning to slaughter?] but not before Lucinda is injured. Felix flees during the chaos. During Lucinda’s recovery, Felix proposes a peace treaty: Lucinda in exchange for the pack’s safety. Lucinda overhears a conversation between Dylan and Caiden, both men state they will not take Lucinda as a mate, but they can think of no other way to protect her from Felix. [Why are they resistant to taking Lucinda as a mate? Because she's a rogue? It seems like Caiden already likes her, so we need a short explanation here]
As an attempt to save Caiden and his pack from ultimate destruction, and to mend a broken heart, Lucinda leaves in the middle of the night. She goes to Felix and makes him promise he’ll leave the Blood Moone pack alone if she agrees to the mating ritual. But he is not to be trusted. He holds Lucinda captive and sends a raiding party with a single instruction: bring back Caiden’s head on a stake.
Lucinda frees herself and attacks Felix. Successfully knocking him out in a fit of rage but before she can finish him off, Felix’s disgraceful band of followers turn on her. [I would change these sentences around a bit. Combine the first sentence with the first part of the second ('...attacks Felix, successfully knocking him out in a fit of rage.') and then use the second part of the second sentence as its own sentence ('But before she can finish him off...')] Having survived the earlier ambush, Caiden and Dylan head to Felix’s camp and arrive in time to save Lucinda. They bring her back to the Blood Moone pack with an order to rest and heal.
In the midst of a heated argument between Lucinda and Caiden, he [Caiden] breaks pack tradition and declares his love to her. Pleading with Lucinda to stay, Caiden asks her to be his mate. Caught in a moment of passion, Caiden marks Lucinda, claiming her as his mate. [And then what happens? Felix is still around, right? Does their mating make the pack safe? Is Lucinda okay with Caiden claiming her? And if Dylan is the reason she's a rogue in the first place, is there any resolution to that part of the story? This paragraph ends a little abruptly, so a little more detail here would be useful]
DEFINING LOVE is the first book in a planned trilogy. [You don't need this detail for a synopsis. It's enough to include it in the query, while also specifying that this book stands alone, as written.]


You've got a clear beginning and middle here, but the synopsis doesn't provide a thorough ending. I was left wondering what happened with several of the characters and whether any events transpired after Caiden claimed Lucinda. Even though this is the first book in a series, you'll need to make sure all the plot loops specific to this book are closed. It would be enough to note, say, that Felix flees into the forest, that Lucinda runs away to another part of town to get away from Caiden and his pack, because she didn't want Caiden to claim her, etc. (note I have no idea what actually happens in the book, but these are suggestions of ways to assure an agent, in the synopsis, that this book ends in a satisfying way. Tailor it to your actual plot.).

Also, since this is paranormal, you've got a bit of world-building here, but I think you can add a bit more. I was curious about how the mating ritual works, in terms of protecting the rest of the pack, and why, once Lucinda was rejected and deemed a rogue wolf, she wouldn't have been welcome among the pack. These may be things that are very obvious to someone reading the manuscript, but for purposes of the synopsis, assume the reader doesn't know anything about how werewolf worlds work, and add a little explanation.

Nice job, and good luck with this manuscript!

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