Thursday, June 16, 2016

Eek! Put a Synopsis up for Criteek!

 A Post By Jonathan

I think we may have skipped our last Eeek! Put Some Pages Up For Critique Reoccurring Segment  so I figured I'd take a crack at it. Only this time it's a synopsis. My brain literally hurts from working on this thing all day. It is the first synopsis I've written so I wanted to hopefully get some feedback before I submit it. I hear these things are supposed to be under 600 words and mine is 599, so if you're suggesting adding stuff please also suggest taking something away:) I'm submitting it on June 20th for this one day open submission event with Pushkin Press. If there are any other MG or Children's authors out there, I highly suggest you look into it

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! 

Twelve-year-old MAC MAGELLAN has been shipped off to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama for the third summer in a row. Having zero interest in junior astronaut training, he sneaks off to work on his fast ball as often as possible. He is playing baseball with his friends when a meteor crash lands at a nearby military base. Mac and his best friend NEIL IKEHEART decide to inspect the downed space rock, but are stopped by soldiers before they can reach it. Mac is returned to Space Camp, but Neil is held back for questioning. Neil returns a few hours later to tell Mac that the meteor has been moved to a secret hangar. Then Mac gets a rare phone call from his absentee astronaut parents, warning him to stay away from the meteor. Realizing something must be up, he convinces Neil to help him sneak into the military base to get a closer look.

As they’re breaking in, Mac and Neil run into ROMIE KIRKOWITZ, a fellow Space Camper who is also hoping to see the meteor. Reluctantly, the three of them work together to locate it. When Mac finally lays a hand on the meteor he is zapped inside. Moments later, a robot appears on the ceiling telling Mac that by entering the transport pod he has accepted an invitation to the Gathering of Galaxies and will be leaving Earth now. Overcome with fear and disbelief, Mac demands the robot let him go, but it refuses. As the pod begins its escape, it nearly rolls over Neil and Romie, forcing Mac to bring them aboard. 

After exiting Earth’s atmosphere, the pod speeds through the Milky Way and flies into the Eye of Jupiter. The portal takes Mac, Neil and Romie to Galaxy Camp, where a massive meeting of peaceful extraterrestrials is underway. Mac is greeted by SIX THE SATURNIAN who reveals he sent the pod to Earth to retrieve him because he is the first Earthling born in outer space, which means he is Starborn and worthy of an invitation to the Gathering of Galaxies. Eventually, Mac learns that Six is telling the truth, bringing Mac’s entire existence into question. Without much of a choice in the matter, Mac and friends decide to stay at Galaxy Camp until the unspecified conclusion of the gathering.

Mac is just starting to enjoy learning about other worlds through Life On Other Planets Sessions (L.O.O.P.S.) when Six tells him he thinks he is the Last Starborn— the one who will put an end to the Devourers’, an ancient evil born of black holes, efforts to wipe out the Starborn and destroy Galaxy Camp. Six is still trying to convince Mac of his destiny when the Solar Corps, a band of mercenaries famous for battling the Devourers, arrives claiming they have come to protect Galaxy Camp. After some investigation, he learns that the Solar Corps are in league with the Devourers and that they have alerted them to Galaxy Camp’s location.

After warning the other Gatherers, Mac goes to Galaxy Camp’s main power source and is surprised to find it only responds to him. Galaxy Camp is on the verge of being destroyed when, with Neil and Romie’s help and Six’s sacrifice, Mac shuts it down. This activates the Gatherers’ personal escape pods, sending everyone home safely, and leaves a baseball-sized Galaxy Camp in Mac’s safe keeping. Thanks to a time portal, Mac and friends get back in time for Space Camp graduation. Mac no longer thinks outer space is boring—and he plans to have a very long conversation with his parents.   


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

I think this sounds like a stellar read (Ha! pun). There's a lot of space terms, which can bog down the reader. Also, what's Mac's character arc. Just not thinking space is boring? I feel like there needs to be more than that.

This gave me an idea -- gonna have you all tear my query to shreds when it's my turn.

Brenda St John Brown said...

I love the sound of this! My suggestion would be to try to incorporate more of Mac's voice here. So, sentences like this, for example -- Then Mac gets a rare phone call from his absentee astronaut parents, warning him to stay away from the meteor. Realizing something must be up, he convinces Neil to help him sneak into the military base to get a closer look. -- are an opportunity to bring in some depth and voice. I don't know what Mac's voice is like, but thinking about my 11-yo, maybe something like: Mac's parents call -- shocker -- and warn him to stay away from the meteor. Like that's not an invitation with his name on it? Mac convinces Neil to sneak onto the military base with him to get a closer look.

I like the sound of the story. It feels like something my kid would really enjoy!

Stephen Kozeniewski said...

Second to last paragraph, maybe introduce the devourers earlier to set up the stakes. You throw in LOOPS (which could probably just go away unless it intersects with the plot some other way - it's like saying "As he was reading a magazine," you know, it's just background noise) and the Devourers and the Solar Corps all at once and then reveal the betrayal immediately. Maybe introduce the Solar Corps earlier too. And I'm not 100% clear on what the Devourers are or what they want. Or for that matter what Solar Corps is and what it wants.

If the issue (as you pointed out) is that you don't want the synopsis to get too fat, I'd suggest dialing back some of the introductory stuff and dialing up some of the gee whiz lost in space stuff. It should kind of correlate to the book, which, although I remember reading the first few pages, I haven't read, but about what percentage of the book took place on Earth and what percentage in space? You should probably have about that same focus in the synopsis and I'm guessing (just guessing) the Earth stuff is dispensed with pretty quickly and the space stuff is the bulk of the book.

Okay, hopefully that wasn't too much. Hope it helps!

Jonathan Schramm said...

Thanks for the pointers, Kimberly! Definitely helpful.

Jonathan Schramm said...

Really appreciate it, Brenda! Trying to work some of Mac's voice in as we speak...

Jonathan Schramm said...

Hey, man! Appreciate it. Yeah, I've heard that the synopsis should only focus on 3 characters, so I'm going to try to simplify it and do as you say-- up the stakes and focus more on the last 75% of the book. Thanks, again!

Blogger Template by Designer Blogs