Thursday, September 2, 2010

Synopsis 3: The Trouble With Garlic

There’s more to being a vampire than a change of diet. Thirteen-year-old, half-breed Tommy loves his dad’s Italian cooking, but his vampire half is allergic to it. One too many rounds of garlic zits and his batty mother packs him off to vampire boarding school; where he’s stuck in remedial classes with kids half his age, his assigned mentor is the school bully, and there’s a gang hungry for a taste of the forbidden – human blood.

At school, Gwen encourages Tommy to stand up to the bully, Garth. Tommy doesn’t stand up for long as he slides across the floor on his butt – twice – with a human nose bleed. He’s a Garlic – a derogatory vampire term for a half-breed. Garth sloughs off his mentor duties to seven-year-old George, whose sentences bounce around as much as he does. Tommy’s grateful to have a gregarious guide even if George’s verbal stream of consciousness is hard to interrupt.

Tommy hates doing vampire things. He wants to make friends his own age, but they’ve been flying their whole lives. Tommy’s lack of bat skills is embarrassing. Fortunately, his young classmates are like George, who crash lands when he accidentally transforms in mid-air.

In the blood feast room, Tommy has to suck blood as a bat in front of all the staring boy bats clinging to the ripped red velvet wallpaper. Or worse – join the girls in human form in the dining room where with covered tables and glasses of Bloody Maria – animal blood with Mexican seasonings. In the dining room, he meets Gigi, and learns his dad is the dining room cook.

Half-breeds are fair game – according to the human hunter gang. Tommy can’t avoid Garth. When George turns on him, too, Tommy runs away to the school farm. He learns valuable lessons like sucking dinner from a cow’s neck gets gross stuff on his tongue; and transforming into bat form while falling from a tree might be a useful skill, but breaking branches on the way down is painful.

Necessity helps his bat skills improve, but aiding a hungry orphan, Emeline, prods him into heading back. Instead of being kicked out, he’s upgraded to classes with kids his own age because of his unofficial vampire homework. This comes with a price – the truth about the feud between Garth and Gwen. Tommy can repair the damage, but he might discover Gwen’s been using him. He forces them to hear the truth. Gwen disappears from his radar and Garth is grudgingly grateful. Tommy joins the boys in the blood feast room.

The human hunters trap Tommy in the kitchen pantry. He’s shocked to see Gigi and his new friend Greg amongst them. Then Garth shows up – to rescue Tommy. Garth hates all rule breakers, including Garlics and human hunters. Before a fight can start, George and his entourage of seven- and eight-year-olds swarm the pantry. George tells Tommy to be easier to find the next time he needs rescued.

Bram Stoker’s Birthday maroons Tommy at school. Locked in with nothing to eat, he’s surprised by a visit from his dad and Emeline, who is now an apprentice at the family restaurant. She’s partial to bats since bat Tommy dropped a train ticket into her hand. She doesn’t know about vampires. Tommy enjoys her company but he can’t fly in front of her. And oddly, that bothers him.

In flying class, Tommy realizes he doesn’t know what bat Greg looks like. Any of the bats swooping at him might be this new enemy. Then a statue of Cruorius, the blood bearer, replaces the usual furry feast in the blood feast room. All vampire birthdays are in January and the statue pouring blood from a pitcher will be there every Friday until the big birthday bash.

Greg will accept any human blood as payment to leave Tommy alone. Tommy decides to get some garlic and give the human hunters a bad case of zits. While trying to find a blank grocery list to order the garlic, Tommy stumbles on the new drink for the girl’s dining room – Bloody Emeline. This could be the human blood that will get him off the hook with the human hunters, but he doesn’t want to believe it’s Emeline’s. Tommy confronts his dad and finds out the drink was named after the creator of the recipe and not the blood donor.

Emeline comes to help with the birthday party. Not knowing Cruorius is the end of the school year, an unprepared Tommy struggles through his finals. His last one is flying with both the thirteen- and seven-year-olds. Greg sneaks Emeline into class. The teacher leaves to get the Dean. The students are to do nothing in front of a human. Emeline’s rescue by the seven-year-olds starts the melee. When Tommy crashes through the sixth floor window, he must let Emeline see him fly, or die.

Greg joins him in the sky. Then Garth leaps up from the ground floor yelling “Tommy”. Happy at being called by his real name gives way to fear. Who’s the bigger rule breaker today? He flees for the farm, hoping to find adults who can keep him from being pounded flat or sucked dry. He’s feet from the barn when Greg pounces on him. Then bats blacken the sky.

George flies all around Tommy, squeaking as fast as he normally talks. Tommy realizes those squeaks are a language he doesn’t speak. The brawl continues on the ground, but the brown stuff under the thin layer of snow is not mud. Soon they’re retching instead of fighting. Fire hoses blast off the worst of the muck.

After a long shower, Tommy heads for the party. Screaming kids slide down blood-soaked corridors and belly flop on the flagstone. In the combined blood feast / girl’s dining room, Emeline is calmly filling glasses with blood. She’s more happy that Tommy’s okay then concerned about vampires being real. Around her, he can relax and be himself.

Comments

Whew! Lots of energy here, Sarah. This seems like a fun, campy story for the MG boy crowd and publishers seem to always be in need of those. That's the good news.

However, I got lost a few times in the synopsis. All the vamp names start with G and while I initially thought, "Oh, cute – all the vamp names start with G," the more names that popped up, the more confused I got about who was whom. And many of these characters are introduced without a point of reference: Gwen, Gigi and Greg all just sort of pop up. I don't really see that Gigi is needed here. Tommy randomly meets her, then she shows up among the hunters and that's all we ever see of her. I wrote Gwen out of my version, too, but I didn't understand her part in what was happening. That's a problem, though, because those are your only two female vamps and not having them in the synop may make it seem like an all-boys school otherwise.

It's also a little choppy. But I think that has more to do with your cutting 370+ words to bring it down to the 995 words posted here than anything else. FWIW, here's how I would rewrite and my comments for what I changed, why, and what still needs some clarification, IMO. My revises bring it down to about 760 words.

There’s more to being a vampire than a change of diet. Thirteen-year-old half-breed Tommy loves his dad’s Italian cooking, but his vampire half is allergic to it. One too many rounds of garlic zits and his batty mother packs him off to vampire boarding school where his dad's the cook. There he’s stuck in remedial classes with kids half his age, his assigned mentor is the school bully, and there’s a gang hungry for a taste of the forbidden – human blood. Even half-human will do.

Tommy's attempt to stand up to Garth, the bully, ends with a nose bleed and him sliding across the floor on his butt. The blood marks him a Garlic – vamp for half-breed. A disgusted Garth hands over his mentor duties to seven-year-old George, whose sentences bounce around as much as he does. Even so, Tommy’s grateful to have a gregarious guide to help him learn all the unwritten rules of his new school.

Tommy hates doing vampire things because his lack of skills is embarrassing. He wants to make friends his own age, but how can he when they’ve been flying their whole lives? His young classmates are more like him, accidentally transforming in mid-air then crash landing.

In the blood feast room, Tommy, in bat form, has to suck blood in front of all the staring boy bats. Worse is when he joins the girls in human form to sip glasses of Bloody Maria – animal blood mixed with salsa. [If you need to cut something, this can go, I think. I know it ties into the Bloody Emeline drink later, but as noted, I think that part can go, too.]

Tommy seems to be a target no matter what he does. Garlics are fair game according to the hunter gang, and Tommy can’t avoid Garth. When little George turns on him, too, Tommy runs away to the school farm where he learns valuable lessons like the fact that sucking dinner from a cow’s neck gets gross stuff on his tongue.

Necessity helps his bat skills improve, but it's helping a hungry orphan, Emeline, that prods him into heading back to school. [I'd like to know more about Emeline – where did he find her and how he gets her back to the school. He apparently gives her a train ticket, but where did he get it at the farm? Did he steal it?] Instead of being kicked out, he’s promoted to classes with kids his own age.

This comes with a price – the truth about the feud between Garth and Gwen. Tommy can repair the damage, but he might discover Gwen’s been using him. He forces them to hear the truth. Gwen disappears from his radar and Garth is grudgingly grateful. Tommy joins the boys in the blood feast room.

The human hunters trap Tommy in the kitchen pantry. He’s shocked to see Gigi and his new friend Greg amongst them. Then Garth shows up – to rescue Tommy. Garth hates all rule breakers, including Garlics and human hunters. Before a fight can start, George and his entourage of seven- and eight-year-olds swarm the pantry. George tells Tommy to be easier to find the next time he needs rescued.

[I'm really confused about what's happening here. I don't understand what's going on between Garth and Gwen. Wasn't he already allowed in the blood feast room? I'm not sure why the rule breaker bit is brought up with Garth. And the last we heard, George had turned on Tommy so why is he rescuing him now?]

That just makes him an easier target for the bullies and hunters. When they trap him in the kitchen pantry, he finds Garth's been replaced by an even bigger bully: Greg. To get back at Greg, Garth and George wrangle up the younger kids who swarm the pantry and rescue Tommy before a fight can break out.

Bram Stoker’s Birthday [Ha!] maroons Tommy at school. Locked in with nothing to eat, he’s surprised by a visit from his dad and Emeline, who is now an apprentice at the family restaurant. She’s partial to bats since bat Tommy dropped a train ticket into her hand, but she doesn’t know about vampires. And while Tommy enjoys her company, not being allowed to fly in front of her bothers him for some reason.

When a statue of Cruorius the Blood Bearer pouring blood from a pitcher appears in the blood feast room, Tommy discovers all vampires celebrate their birthdays in January and the statue is there in preparation for a big birthday bash.

Greg will accept any human blood as payment to leave Tommy alone. Tommy decides to get some garlic and give the hunters a bad case of zits. While trying to find a blank grocery list to order the garlic, Tommy stumbles on the new drink for the girl’s dining room – Bloody Emeline. This could be the human blood that will get him off the hook with the human hunters, but he doesn’t want to believe it’s Emeline’s. Tommy confronts his dad and finds out the drink was named after the creator of the recipe and not the blood donor. [None of this really leads anywhere as we know he's crushing a bit on Em already, so I would delete it.]

Tommy's dad brings Emeline to the school to help with the birthday party. Not knowing Cruorius also marks the end of the school year, an unprepared Tommy struggles through his finals. His last one is flying. [In the synopsis, it doesn't really make sense why advanced 13-year-olds would be flying with 7 yo's for their finals.] As a prank, Greg sneaks Emeline into class, knowing the vamp kids won't be allowed to fly in front of her. After the teacher leaves to get the dean, the entire class starts fighting – vamp style. When Tommy crashes through the sixth floor window, he must let Emeline see him fly – or die.

The twisty fear over being caught flying in front of a human gives way to a bigger fear when Greg joins him in the sky. Then Garth leaps up from the ground floor yelling “Tommy”. Happy at being called by his real name [Has Garth been calling him Garlic or other names up until now? Is the yell a warning to Tommy? I would delete.] He flees for the farm, hoping to find adults who can keep him from being pounded flat or sucked dry. He’s only feet from the barn when Greg pounces on him. Then bats blacken the sky.

It's little George and his gang of second graders come to help, but there's only so much a vamp can do as a bat. [The batsqueak language was a nice detail but it made me wonder if bat lingo isn't taught in school and why Tommy hasn't noticed anyone squeaking before when in bat form, so I deleted it]. They change form and the brawl continues on the ground, but the brown stuff under the thin layer of snow is not mud. Soon they’re retching instead of fighting. Fire hoses blast off the worst of the muck.

After a long shower, Tommy heads for the party. Screaming kids slide down blood-soaked corridors and belly flop on the flagstone. In the party room, Emeline is calmly filling glasses with blood. She’s more happy that Tommy’s okay then concerned about vampires being real. Around her, he can relax and be himself. [Seems to need a final wrap-up sentence (though you can do better than my placeholder):] And with an exciting first year in vamp school behind him, Tommy's already looking forward to learning that eye mesmerizing thing and trying it out on Emeline next year.

21 comments:

Sarah Laurenson said...

Thank you, my dear Phoenix! Your questions help tremendously.

The manuscript storyline went through an overhaul between the time I wrote the synopsis and worked it over for submitting here, so that's part of the confusion. The other part is I need to explain some things better in the synopsis. Or cut them.

I will have to think about the girls. They do play a role, but not really major ones. The major players are the 2 boys, Tommy and George. One notch down is Emeline and Garth. Gwen's in a lot of the first half but not much of the second half. Tommy's Dad is heavily sprinkled throughout the book.

There are 3 girl vamps who play a role in Tommy's boy/girl lessons. I'll have to think about how I'm handling them.

Greg's another life lesson basically. If I add more of a dimension to him though, this puppy's going to be ridiculously long. And I'm talking about the manuscript on that one. ;-)

Thanks again!

Matthew Rush said...

Well I know next to nothing about synopses, and I tend to hate them for it, but I think your analysis here is quite astute. Great service you provide here Phoenix! Well done.

sylvia said...

I'm no good at synopses (actually, I'm just realising that Sarah and Phoenix are the ones that helped me put mine together!) but having read the start of this story, I'm feeling a little bit of a disconnect between the voice there and your query. It just feels a lot more adult - which is part of trying to explain but does your story a disservice. It's hard to put a finger on.

An example is: "Tommy’s grateful to have a gregarious guide even if George’s verbal stream of consciousness is hard to interrupt." It just doesn't *sound* like your story does, whereas "One too many rounds of garlic zits and his batty mother packs him off to vampire boarding school" puts me in the middle of the story.

I know that's vague, sorry. But I know when I'm looking for books for kids, I'm expecting to see language / perspectives that I think they will engage with. I know your story has that but the query doesn't show that off as well as it could, I think.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Wow, Sylvia. Yeah. I remember that synopsis. Not an easy one to pull together at all and yet you did.

That's a great point about the age of the voice. Now I have to think about how to pull it off.

A challenge! I love a challenge.

sylvia said...

Yeah, well, it's been on submission since then and no real bites. *mutter* But I've got something new and shiny now! *whee*

Phoenix said...

Hi Matthew! Thanks for stopping by. Your own blog isn't too shabby either ;o). I'm always impressed by how generous writers are with their time in helping others. Surely all that good karma has to help as much as the experise being shared.

Lee Wind said...

Hi - what a fascinating back and forth! I agree that it's going in the right direction, and I also like the point Sylvia made about voice. I do feel that there are parts of even the revised version Phoenix put forth that read "and-then-this-happens, and-then-this-happens, etc..." and it makes it feel choppy and episodic. I want to get a sense of how the stakes escalate to a single climactic moment - and I want to feel that our hero isn't just rescued, but in some way triumphs due to the things he's learned... I'd push the garlic thing being his secret weapon against the hunters - so it seems like he's more proactive and not always rescued by others. Also, I wonder if it might help to simplify the number of conflict storylines you're telling us about - maybe just figuring out the school/bullies thing and the girl he's crushing on?
Oh, and I do love the idea of a final tie-it-up line like Pheonix suggested - as we say in my writing group, "That, but not that."
Thanks again to Sarah for being so brave as to do this publicly, and to Pheonix for providing the safe space and expertise!
Namaste,
Lee

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hi Lee - thanks for popping in. I appreciate the insight. You bring up more interesting thoughts about how to fix this.

Off to play with it now.

PH said...

I like the voice in most of this synopsis - it catches the fun tone of the story. There are a couple of places where the language changes (eg. a gregarious guide even if George’s verbal stream of consciousness is hard to interrupt)but this is easy to fix.

My main concern is that it reads a little too much like a vampire Harry Potter. That's not to say it is the same, but I think the synopsis would read better if the emphasis was placed on the differences. More on his rescue of Emeline would help as would more about putting garlic amongst the hunters, and some of the exploits of his father being the cook.

Gwen and Gigi have been given no introduction - I really don't know who they are, what they do, or why they are mentioned.

There's a few other things which didn't make sense in the synopsis- If Tommy's a half-breed, which parent isn't the vampire? Dad is the cook at the boarding school, and mum is 'batty'. Why is dad using garlic at home? And why is Tommy boarding at the school, when Dad lives so close that he can be the cook there? And why, when Tommy needs an adult to help him, does he fly to the farm and not to the kitchen? Why does Greg bring Emaline to class when that would mean he would fail the flying test as well?

Apart from these questions, the synopsis does give an overall glimpse of a humorous, action-packed story. So well done. It sounds like a good read.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Great comments and great questions. Here's an 883 word version that I hope is clearer and more in tune with the real story.

(In multiple comments as usual)

There’s more to being a vampire than a change of diet. Thirteen-year-old, half-breed Tommy loves his dad’s Italian cooking, but his vampire half is allergic to it. One too many rounds of garlic zits and his batty mother packs him off to vampire boarding school.

The school bully, Garth, picks up on Tommy’s lack of vampire skills seconds after Tommy’s crash landing arrival. A pretty, older girl, Gwen, encourages Tommy to stand up for himself. But he doesn’t stand up for long. A fist in the face and he’s sliding across the floor on his butt with a human nose bleed. He’s called Garlic – an insult that means half-breed. Maybe it’s better than Tommy since every vampire seems to have a name starting with G.

Even though Gwen sometimes holds Tommy’s hand, he has a hard time believing she really likes him. His first, and maybe only, friend is seven-year-old George whose sentences bounce around as much as he does. Tommy would like to make friends his own age, but those guys have been flying all their lives. Luckily, the young kids are like George, who crashes into a couple of girls when he accidentally transforms in mid-air.

Tommy hates all this vampire stuff. In the blood feast room, he has to suck blood in front of the staring boy bats clinging to the ripped red velvet wallpaper. Or worse – join the girls in human form and drink glasses of Bloody Maria – animal blood with Mexican seasonings. Gwen decides for him when she insults Garth and escorts Tommy into the girls’ dining room. Like Garth needed another reason to hate a Garlic. Tommy’s shocked to find out the dining room cook is his human dad.

When a human hunter gang tries to corner Tommy – again – he runs away to the school farm. Sucking dinner from a cow’s neck gets gross stuff on his tongue. And transforming into bat form while falling from a tree might be useful, but breaking branches on the way down is painful. Still his bat skills not only improve, they keep him alive and fed.

Sarah Laurenson said...

He’s discovered in the barn by a hungry orphan, Emeline. He buys her a train ticket to town and tells her how to get a job at his family’s restaurant. Realizing life at school wasn’t that bad, he heads back. Instead of being kicked out, he’s advanced because of his unofficial vampire homework. He’s given another gift – the truth about Garth and Gwen. If Tommy uses that to end their feud, he might learn Gwen’s been using him. He decides to do it anyway. Gwen disappears from his radar and Garth is grateful, sort of.

Bram Stoker’s Birthday maroons Tommy at school. Locked in with nothing to eat, he’s saved by a visit from his dad and Emeline, with food for them all. Tommy loves spending time with Emeline, but she doesn’t know about vampires. It bothers him that he can’t fly when she’s there.

A statue of Cruorius, the blood bearer, replaces the usual furry feast in the blood feast room. All vampire birthdays are in January and the statue pouring blood from a pitcher will be there every Friday until the big birthday bash.

The human hunters want human blood, any human blood. If Tommy comes up with some, they’ll leave him alone. He decides to get some garlic and give them a bad case of zits. While trying to find a blank grocery list to order the garlic, Tommy stumbles on the new drink for the girl’s dining room – Bloody Emeline. This could get him off the hook with the human hunters, but he doesn’t want to believe it’s Emeline’s. Tommy confronts his dad and finds out the drink was named after the creator of the recipe and not the blood donor. His dad gives him an early birthday present – a clove of garlic.

Thinking vampires might not know the smell of garlic, Tommy spices up some animal blood and tells the human hunters that it’s human. When one of them pukes all over the hallway, Garth believes Tommy poisoned a vampire. Tommy’s afraid Garth might be right, but it turns out to be a rare case of vampire flu.

The time of Cruorius, and the end of the school year, arrives. Emeline comes to help with the birthday party. Still wanting some human blood, a human hunter kidnaps Emeline. George rescues her, but that starts a major fight. When Tommy crashes through the sixth floor window, he must break the rules and let Emeline see him fly, or die. Garth and the human hunters fly after him. Tommy heads for the safety of the barn, but he doesn’t quite make it. The brawl continues on the ground at the farm, but the brown stuff under the thin layer of snow isn’t mud. Soon they’re puking instead of fighting.

After a long shower, Tommy heads for the party. Screaming kids slide down blood-soaked corridors and belly flop on the flagstone. In the combined blood feast / girl’s dining room, Emeline is calmly filling glasses with blood. She’s happy that Tommy’s okay and not concerned about vampires being real. Around her, he realizes he doesn’t have to be one or the other. He can just be himself – a vampire who loves spaghetti.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Changing one sentence to answer another great question.


When a human hunter gang tries to corner Tommy – again – he tries to find his dad, but winds up at the school farm

Sarah Laurenson said...

Have to clean up some repetitve words, but this feels good to me. At least it does now.

Sarah Laurenson said...

PH - Yes it does smack of vampires and Harry Potter, but I'm not so sure that's a bad thing.

And it's lighter, funnier, grosser, less intense. All of those things that I hope places it in a different category.

Joe G said...

There's an emphasis in the query on blood that kind of makes me queasy. The ending is drowned in blood. It's almost like... it sounds like True Blood for 11 year olds. I was a little icked out, to be honest, and it distracted me from what I imagine was supposed to be a light hearted story.

I mean, I know that's inevitable in a story about vampires, but still...

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hi Joe - gross is part and parcel of the humor in this story. It starts off with him popping his zits. I think the ick factor has to be there, but thanks for the observation. I'll take another look at it.

Sarah Laurenson said...

1 pager: 578 words

There’s more to being a vampire than a change of diet. Thirteen-year-old, half-breed Tommy loves his human dad’s Italian cooking, but his vampire half is allergic to it. One too many rounds of garlic zits and his batty mother packs him off to vampire boarding school.

The school bully, Garth, picks up on Tommy’s lack of vampire skills seconds after Tommy’s crash landing arrival. A pretty, older girl, Gwen, encourages Tommy to stand up for himself. But he doesn’t stand up for long. He ends up with a human nose bleed, and the name Garlic – an insult that means half-blood.

Gwen sometimes holds Tommy’s hand, but he has a hard time believing she really likes him. His first, and maybe only, friend is seven-year-old George whose sentences bounce around as much as he does. Tommy would like to make friends his own age, but those guys have been flying all their lives. At least the young kids crash. Frequently. Still, Tommy hates this vampire stuff.

When a human hunter gang tries to corner Tommy – again – he winds up locked out of school and stuck on the school’s farm. Sucking dinner from a cow’s neck gets gross stuff on his tongue. And transforming into bat form while falling from a tree might be useful, but breaking branches on the way down is painful. Still his bat skills not only improve, they keep him alive and fed.

He’s discovered by a hungry orphan, Emeline. After telling her how to get a job at his family’s restaurant, he realizes life at school wasn’t so bad. He goes back to face his punishment for leaving. Instead of getting kicked out, he’s advanced because of his unofficial homework.

Bram Stoker’s Birthday maroons Tommy at school. Locked in with nothing to eat, he’s saved by a visit from his dad, who’s the school cook, and Emeline. Tommy loves spending time with her, but she doesn’t know about vampires. It bothers him that he can’t fly when she’s there.

The human hunters want human blood. If Tommy comes up with some, they’ll leave him alone. He decides give them a bad case of zits. While trying to find a blank grocery list to order some garlic, Tommy stumbles on a new drink – Bloody Emeline. This could get him off the hook, but he doesn’t want to believe it’s Emeline’s. Tommy confronts his dad and finds out the drink was named after the creator of the recipe. His dad gives him an early birthday present – a clove of garlic.

Tommy adds garlic to animal blood and tells the human hunters that it’s human. When one of them pukes all over the hallway, Garth believes Garlic poisoned a vampire. Tommy’s afraid Garth might be right, but it turns out to be a rare case of vampire flu.

Emeline comes to help with the end of school party. Still wanting some human blood, a human hunter kidnaps her. George rescues her, but that starts a major fight. When Tommy crashes through the sixth floor window, he must break the rules and let Emeline see him fly, or die.

At the party, screaming kids race and slide down the blood-soaked corridors. For fun. In the dining room, Emeline is calmly filling glasses with blood. She’s happy that Tommy’s okay and not concerned about vampires being real. He realizes he doesn’t have to be one or the other around her. He can just be himself – a vampire who loves spaghetti.

Phoenix said...

Hey Sarah:

I think this last, shorter version is much more appealing than the first two. For me, it's easier to follow. I especially like the first 4 paragraphs. They have a nice, easy, simple flow that sounds like how the book is likely written.

P5 seems to need one more sentence about Emeline. Only I had an issue with how Tommy gets her a train ticket in the other version, so is there something else you can stick in there to up the importance of that meeting. Even hint that he's baffled why he wants to help her but she's so darned human in comparison to all the game-playing vamps or something? Maybe here's where you mention that he can't seem to be himself b/c it's forbidden for vamps to reveal themselves to humans, rather than saying that in the next paragraph.

P6 - Maybe "It bothers him that he's not allowed to fly when she's around."

P7 - In the synops, I think the Bloody Emeline bit is too much/long. In the previous versions, Tommy didn't think Bloody Maria included blood from someone named Maria, so why would he think this drink would have Em's blood? I would combine P7 and P8, something like:

The human hunters want human blood. If Tommy comes up with some, they’ll leave him alone. When he discovers Emeline has created a new drink called Bloody Emeline made from pig blood, it gives him an idea. He adds a clove of garlic to a fresh batch of Bloody Emeline, intending to give the hunters a bad case of zits. Except one of them winds up puking all over the hallway and Tommy's afraid he might have poisoned a vampire. That would mean big trouble -- from the adults as well as the human hunters. Turns out it's a rare case of vampire flu and a relieved Tommy (does what?).

P9 - I didn't see the motivation for George to rescue Em, especially since this version doesn't really have much of George in it. Since Tommy is there, too, I would either nix George here or say something like Tommy, aided by his younger classmate George, rescues her... If you do that, you'll need to be sure to remind the reader at this point who George is.

Phoenix said...

Sorry for any multiple emails! Blogger woes.

writtenwyrdd said...

This sounds like a fun mg read. I had trouble keeping track of who was who because of all the names starting with G.

Others bring up good points about the synopsis, but my main sense of it is that the emotional connections between events was a bit lacking here and there. I didn't come through this with a strong sense of what Tommy wants at each section. (As I am not an experienced synopsis writer, that may not be very helpful.)

I was also wondering what happened to Tommy's mother. She disappears after that first mention when she packs him off to vampire school.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Thanks everyone for such great comments!

Lots to think about. This has helped me get on the right track.