12.28.2005

#41 Crapometer

Pixie Warrior ˆ Synopsis


Robert James, is a lumber company engineer leading a survey crew. Sha'na, is a pixie who hates the growing scars made in her forest by those who cut her trees. Yet when she sees Robert he sets her wings afire. She's found her mate. Trouble intervenes but they finally mate after Sha'na heals Robert's wound.

Their union produces unexpected problems for Robert. Pixie gestation is two weeks and very challenging to a "normal human." Pixies are about four feet tall, and Robert is accused of abusing and hiding a child. The accusation comes from Fred, an evil little man. Fred is pixie-bit and not believed.

Sha'na and Robert's child, Sha'el, is born talking, and she can talk to most creatures. She is precocious and adventuresome. She shows herself to be curious about everything.

Passive voice is slack ass writing. I hate it. In a synopsis it's instant rejection. It may have a place, selectively, in a novel, but if you put it in your synopsis for no good reason, I think you can’t tell what it is, and I’ll find a lot of it: ZAP to the reject pile.



Robert is sent into the forest to hunt down timber thieves. Getting his family to their camp is challenging, and we meet a camp cook who plays a major role later. Sha'el hears most of her father's conversation with "Cookie" from inside her dad's pocket. She learns important things about "larger humans" and hears some of her father's plans.



They arrive at their forest home, an abandoned lumber camp, and establish themselves there. The hunt for the thieves begins.



Fred is one of the thieves. Sha'el and Robert's horse Daisy discover them. They have a night time confrontation in the thieves' camp, and Sha'el flees home to tell her father. Eventually Fred and the others are trapped. Fred attacks Robert with a knife. Sha'el defends her father.



"He saw me on the hunt with my teeth grown sharp and the blood lust in my eyes and heart. I bit his knife hand and felt the bones give way."



Fred escapes, but Robert thinks he'll do no more harm. This is a mistake.



Sha'na and Sha'el are disquieted by an evil scent. It is the scent of the greater evil that plagues the Pixie Home Forest. The atmosphere tears and we hear the sounds of a frightened beast. A baby dragon is on the run from a giant goo spitting worm-like beast. Sha'el sees the dragon as defenseless and hers.

!!alien alert!!


"I flew to my dragon. I braced my feet on its head and neck, and I met each lunge of the worm with a jab of my spear. Indeed I struck home again and again. I was exhausted and my skin raw where the monster's spit ran down my arm. I was not strong enough to kill the beast. I feared both my dragon and I would die."

Is she narrating a documentary about her life? what IS this?

Great Mother Dragon, the first and oldest of all dragons, follows the beasts attacking her son. There is a rapprochement between pixie and dragon that heals an old wound that had estranged their races. Mother Dragon calls Sha'el the Pixie Warrior. There is a hint of a prophecy in fulfillment.



In a life-threatening situation an adult pixie will enter the Life Ritual. Sha'na becomes pregnant again and has twin girls. She almost dies from the stress of the pregnancy. Mother Dragon suggests her milk as a healing agent but warns of unforeseen consequences.



The twins have unique gifts that include dragon-fire. Cookie rides into camp with supplies and finds Robert and his family. The two men try to cook but discover the matches ruined. They try rubbing sticks together. One of the twins solves the fire problem.



"She stuck her head back in the open burner and started to writhe in a manner that reminded me of a cat coughing up a fur ball. A loud "wump‚ came from the stove and Sha'ail ended up on the floor. Her face was black with soot, but a fire was burning in the stove."



Fred returns. He nearly kills Sha'na and Sha'el. He's turned to toast by the dragon. We hear part of the Pixie Warrior prophecy from Mother Dragon.



They journey to the pixie home forest to confront the monsters that are attacking pixies and have invaded the human world. We (who is we?) find the crisis grown and an unhappy queen waiting for her "rebel" daughter's return. There is a confrontation with Lai'chi, who seeks to usurp the pixie throne. Then we meet a very fierce seeming high queen, Sha'el's grandmother. She is not so fierce as she seems and willingly hands the throne over to Sha'el. She and the oldest of all pixies, Mother Lai join in the quest.

Robert solves the problem of the beasts' access to the pixie forest. They travel to the Hall of Memories to do it. In the Hall of Memories we find a portal held permanently open by a pixie caught inside. Robert finds how to close that portal. He must do the same to the one in the Sha nesting grounds.



At the nesting grounds a group of Katra, one of the four pixie houses, is trying to fight the beasts, but they are wounded and exhausted. Robert slaughters the worm-like beasts but is finally attacked and hurt. The three pixie children save their father, and clues to the prophecy's fulfillment all become clear. Simple items prove important, and Sha'el is revealed as the Pixie Warrior. Pixies and humans are safe. Sha'na has a son.



And additional note on Pixie society: It is almost exclusively female. They aren't fairies but humans at the extreme edge of what is possible. They nest and have a well organized hunter-gatherer society. Each of the four houses has a queen, but a Sha has always been High Queen. There is conflict with a princess of the house of Lai, but not with Mother Lia herself who is the ages-long friend of the Sha and the oldest pixie. That Lai'chi, a slut, seeks the High Queen's throne will be important in another installment of this series. The house of Katra are firm allies and protectors of the Sha. The Basarith are inscrutable. It is difficult to know what they think unless they plainly tell you.

like literary agents?

As you know from reading the preceding 39 synopsis, this is a recitation of events. There are snippets of dialogue that appear out of nowwhere, speaker uncertain. Dragons pop up in chapter 14.

If you create a world with pixies AND dragons, it would be good to mention that at the start. That way the arrival of dragons isn’t a big surprise. Your opening paragraph makes this sound like pixies and humans are the characters.

You don’t need to explain the world you’ve created in your synopsis. You need to give us an idea of what happens, who the characters are, what challenges they face, and the pivotal events. Voice and style are nice if you can get those in too, but a recitation of events is boring.

7 comments:

Feisty said...

Is it just me, or people writing some funky stories? Is it because I don't do fantasy or SF?

Alex said...

it's not just you. just as unimaginative as they are absurd, with generally terrible writing and truly wretched grammar, especially when it comes to commas.

Jenny D said...

You know, it's funny, I really like high-quality fantasy in general (like, say, Holly Black and Emma Bull writing excellent novels about Faerie) but something about seeing the word "elf" or "pixie" in a synopsis just cracks me up--not in a good way. Obviously if the writing of the sample pages is amazingly good it will make up for a slightly ludicruous-sounding synopsis, but I thought I would just leave this comment as a heads-up from an enthusiastic reader of fantasy fiction that the authors of these synopses, even the good ones, need to write them a tiny bit more elegantly and tongue-in-cheek so as not to set off the ludicrousness meter....

Kat said...

I'm an insatiable reader of sf/f and I have to agree with Jenny... "fantasy" doesn't mean "do what you will". You need a fully realized, believable world that hangs together, not a meaningless jumble of fantasy tropes. I'm not trying to pick on this synopsis in particular - I don't think it's that bad, though the synopsis makes it sound like a lot of unrelated events happening end-on-end, what the Turkey City Lexicon calls an "and plot" - but there's been a lot of "romance novel! With demons!" type stuff popping up here. I'm worried that the writers see sff as an easy way out, when in fact constructing a believable make-believe world (and the real world plus magic IS a make-believe world, guys) is much, much harder.

And tone is important, *especially* in fantasy. Reader perception is important. It's hard as hell to get away with elves these days unless you do something really new with them.

Demented M said...

Unimaginative is pretty subjective. I find every thriller that opens with a bloody, dead body to be unimaginative, but it's an accepted and even required genre convention.

Tolkien doesn't have the patent on elves and whoever first delved into pixies can't claim a trademark. They are genre conventions available to any writer.

Genre isn't a class system and sf/f writers aren't the untouchables no matter how bad our synopses might be. I've gotten the impression from a few comments in the various posts here that some people think this isn't the case.

M

Feisty said...

I don't think that sf/f writers are untouchables, by any means. I just don't "get" a lot of these synopses. I also don't get a lot of the other genre stuff, so I'm not picking on sf/f, per se.

I just happen to like the meatier stuff and it doesn't seem that many folks write it, at least not in this crowd.

I'd love to see a serious novel that really touches me in some way. That's all. Just my taste.

emeraldcite said...

Sounds like Ferngully with a dragon.