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View Full Version : Synopsis for a Children's Novel, ages 9-13 (need critique before I send to agent)



kedrowss
October 4th, 2010, 11:41 PM
I know there are supposedly 3 kinds: short (1-2 pg), medium (3-5) and long. But the agent requesting it didn't specify length. This one's 2-1/2 pages double-spaced in Word. Does it seem OK?




Synopsis of The Kid in Black
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Word Count: 27,000

His strict, authoritarian father named him Thaddeus. His liberal, hippie mom named him Visionquest. But 12-year-old TV JONES hates both of those names and goes by his initials, whenever he can get away with it. His dad is a police officer, wholesome and All-American. His mom “says her name is 'Rainbow,' and that's what I should call her, because words like 'mom' and 'dad' dehumanize children, or something.” Splitting his time between his divorced parents' homes, he feels split in two by the different expectations he has to live up to, all while he's at an age where he's still trying to form an identity of his own.

After a year at a military academy and a year at an alternative school, TV has finally landed himself at a “normal school,” and is determined not to blow it. The only thing standing in his way is KILLER KOWALSKI, a bully who terrorizes the students while the teachers do nothing to stop him. This all strikes TV as completely unjust—just like those people locked in his dad's jail for crimes they couldn't possibly have committed. TV decides it's his duty to do something about both.

At the police station, he finds his dad interviewing a mysterious stranger wearing a jewel in the shape of a jade gorilla. His dad curtly dismisses TV, leaving him to retreat to his room and drown himself in mopey music, feeling sorry for himself and his poor relationship with his parents. When he hears the line “I wear black on the outside/Because black is how I feel on the inside,” he takes it to heart and decides to wear all-black from that point on as a means of asserting his independence.

The next day at school he has a run-in with Killer, who fails to recognize him due to his new look. Influenced by this development, by reading Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in lit class, and by his mom's magical thinking, it dawns on him that the people in jail have been incriminated by someone who is able to change form and impersonate them.

The next day he visits The Sanctum—a hovel-like store specializing in occult books. THE STOREKEEPER is the proprietor, a decrepit old man with a creepy and morbid sense of humor. Though initially distrusting of TV's motives, he reluctantly provides him with a book and some information about shapeshifters.

TV follows the shapeshifter to a seedy hotel, observes his transformation, and realizes that he is the strongman at the traveling carnival. TV returns to the Sanctum and the Storekeeper recognizes, from the description, that they are dealing with the Jade Gorilla of the Enitan: a magic charm that allows the user to transform into any human shape. The Storekeeper is in possession of some powder that can temporarily stop the shapeshifter, but they discover the powder has become adulterated with some other substance, leaving some question about what effect it will have.

The next day at the carnival, TV publicly catches the strongman red-handed with stolen goods. He escapes, but TV finds him in the abandoned Funhouse, where he has transformed into a clown with a very large knife. TV tries to hide in the hall of mirrors. Just as the clown is about to kill him, TV uses the powder. It transforms the shapeshifter into a toddler, but he scurries away before TV can grab him. It seems as if he's gone forever. But when TV hears that a local museum is showing an exhibit of jewelry from the Mangani, the rival tribe of the Enitan, TV knows he has one last chance to catch his man.
TV finds the Shifter at the museum and chases him into a dead-end alley, where he has transformed into a beautiful young girl. She sympathetically tells TV her plight. He feels sorry for her and hugs her, but this turns out to have been a ruse. The shifter gets the powder away from TV and transforms into the strongman. He gets TV pinned up against the wall, when at the last possible moment, TV grabs the pin from him and transforms himself into an equally large muscleman. They engage in an epic struggle, which TV ultimately wins. He changes back into himself.

There's enough evidence to convict the strongman without even bringing magic into it. So TV leaves that part out of the explanation, which enables him to hold on to the pin. He keeps it for some time, considering about everything he could do with it. But the more he considers the ultimate consequences of those things, the more he comes to realize that nothing good can come of pretending to be something you're not. He throws the pin away.

southerner
October 5th, 2010, 02:10 PM
Interesting premise for fans of this genre. One thing (there were a few, but I have to get to work) that jumped out at me was "in the shape of a JADE gorilla." "Jade" wouldn't be used to describe shape. Only "gorilla" applies. You can use a clause or something to inform us it it made of jade.

Kat
October 7th, 2010, 07:26 AM
And to add in that same paragraph he is in the police station then he is dismissed to his room. His room is in the police station?

Interesting story, I think it could do well depending on how it's written. So many stories for this age range are dumbed down. Seems to be in the same genre as the 39 Clues books. Are those for that middle school age group? I have a 7 year old and a 13 year old. Out of the two the 7 year old would be interested in reading this. So I have to wonder at the age range? But I haven't read it, could work for older fine. And I don't know that is a big deal in your synopsis.

Olly Buckle
October 7th, 2010, 09:59 AM
His strict, authoritarian father named him Thaddeus. His liberal, hippie Tautology mom named him Visionquest. How about his dad named him his mother called him, it avoids repetition and suits their character But 12-year-old TV JONES hates both of those names and goes by his initials, whenever he can get away with it. Unnecessary His dad is a police officer, wholesome and All-American. His mom “says her name is 'Rainbow,' and that's what I should call her, because words like 'mom' and 'dad' dehumanize children, or something.” Splitting his time between his divorced parents' homes, he feels split in two by the different expectations he has to live up to, all while he's unnecessary at an age where he's still trying to form an identity of his own.

I shall simply Bold anything I think unnecessary
After a year at a military academy and a year at an alternative school, TV has finally landed himself at a “normal school,” and is determined not to blow it. The only thing standing in his way is KILLER KOWALSKI, a bully who terrorizes the students while the teachers do nothing to stop him. With impunity? This all strikes TV as completely unjust—just like those people locked in his dad's jail for crimes they couldn't possibly have committed. What people? they need some introduction TV decides it's his duty to do something about both.

At the police station, he finds his dad interviewing a mysterious stranger wearing a jewel in the shape of a jade gorilla. His dad curtly dismisses TV, leaving him to and he? retreats to his room and to drown himself in mopey music, feeling sorry for himself and his poor relationship with his parents. When he hears the line “I wear black on the outside/Because black is how I feel on the inside,” he takes it to heart and decides to wear all-black from that point then? on as a means of to asserting his independence.

The next day at school he has a run-in with Killer, who fails to recognize him due to his new look. Influenced by this development, by reading Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in lit class, and by his mom's magical thinking, it dawns on him that the people in jail have been incriminated by someone who is able to change form and impersonate them.

The next day he visits The Sanctum—a hovel-like store specializing in occult books. THE STOREKEEPER is the proprietor, a decrepit old man with a creepy and morbid sense of humor. Though initially distrusting of TV's motives, he reluctantly provides him with a book and some information about shape-shifters.

TV follows the shape-shifter to a seedy hotel, observes his transformation, and realizes that he is the strongman at the traveling travelling carnival. TV returns to the Sanctum and the Storekeeper recognizes, from the description, that they are dealing with the Jade Gorilla of the Enitan: a magic charm that allows the user to transform into any human shape. The Storekeeper is in possession of some powder that can temporarily stop the shapeshifter, but they discover the powder has become adulterated with some other substance, leaving some question about what effect it will have.

The next day at the carnival, TV publicly catches the strongman red-handed with stolen goods. He escapes, but TV finds him in the abandoned Funhouse, where he has transformed into a clown with a very large knife. TV tries to hide in the hall of mirrors. Just as the clown is about to kill him, TV uses the powder. It transforms the shapeshifter into a toddler, but he scurries away before TV can grab him. It seems as if he's gone forever. But when TV hears that a local museum is showing an exhibit of jewelry jewellery, but this could be English rather than US from the Mangani, the rival tribe of the Enitan, TV knows he has one last chance to catch his man.
TV finds the Shifter at the museum and chases him into a dead-end alley, where he has transformed into a beautiful young girl. She sympathetically tells TV her plight. He feels sorry for her and hugs her, but this turns out to have been a ruse. The shifter gets the powder away from TV and transforms into the strongman. He gets TV pinned up against the wall, when at the last possible moment, TV grabs the pin from him and transforms himself into an equally large muscleman. They engage in an epic struggle, which TV ultimately wins. He changes back into himself.

There's enough evidence to convict the strongman without even bringing magic into it. So TV leaves that part it? out of the explanation, which enables him to hold on to the pin. He keeps it for some time, considering about everythings he could do with it. But the more he considers the ultimate consequences of those things, the more he comes to realize that nothing good can come of pretending to be something you're not. He throws the pin away.

I feel Fun-house and Muscle-man should be hyphenated as well as shape-shifter. Some of my suggestions are quite unnecessary, it simply seems that the fewer words you can get it into the better. Good luck, it sounds like a fun read.