#75 Crapometer

Genre -- fantasy

Title: Gordath Wood

When champion show horse Dungiven refuses to load into the horse trailer after a show, Hunters Chase stable manager Lynn Romano thinks it's because he's been spooked by a rare earthquake. She rides the horse home on the hunt trails in Gordath Wood instead of trying to force him into the trailer but she gets lost, unaware that a portal between worlds has opened up in the forest and she has crossed into Aeritan. She comes across the guardian Arrim, victim of a gunshot wound, and tries to help him. Instead, he steals Dungiven and abandons her.

Captain Crae of Red Gold Bridge has been charged with finding Arrim and bringing him back to control the gordath, or portal, that has been opened between the worlds, and now is dangerously unstable. Arrim was shot by the mysterious Bahard, also known as Mark Ballard, who has been running guns from our world to Aeritan in exchange for gold, other goods, and land rights in the southern provinces. Lord Tharp of Red Gold Bridge is seeking to leverage the new weapons in his quest to wrest control from the Aeritan Council, the ruling body of the country. War looms

Instead of Arrim, Crae finds Lynn. They forge an alliance, wary at first, brought together by Lynn's need to find a way home and Crae's growing fear of the gordath. He believes that it opened up seven years before when Lord Tharp's wife, the Lady Sarita, never returned from a journey through the Wood. After coming across a village destroyed by the out-of-control portal, Lynn throws in her lot with Crae to try to find a way to stop the destruction.

Kate Mossland, a shy teen who worships Lynn, rides off to find her, but also gets caught in the unstable gordath. She ends up on the other side in the army of the Aeritan Council, at first hazed and frightened, but learning to rely on her own strengths and finding her place in the rough organization. She becomes the apprentice of the army's surgeon and develops a crush on a boy her age, the young soldier Colar Terrick, who returns her feelings.

Back in our world Joe Felz, Hunters Chase handyman and Lynn's boyfriend, begins an investigation that leads him from a bar in Connecticut to an abandoned house on the edge of the eerie wood, stocked with weapons and ammunition. He finds Arrim, who has come through the portal to our side, half-dead from his infected gunshot wound.

The first battle between the two armies is won by Lord Tharp. The council works on a strategy to counter Lord Tharp's guns. Marthen devises shield walls and training techniques from information Kate has given him. Marthen is fascinated by Kate and begins scheming to have her recognized as noble with a plan to wed her as a reward for leading the army of the council. This way, he would be elevated to the nobility himself.

Crae and Lynn's journey takes them to Trieve, an ally of Lord Tharp's, where they hope to find a guardian to control the gordath. They are almost caught by advancing reinforcements of the Aeritan army and must flee. They are captured by the Brythern lord Hare, and are brought back to Red Gold Bridge, where Hare hopes to form an alliance with Lord Tharp. Crae and Lynn's relationship has grown from respect to friendship to love, though Lynn still loves Joe and is experiencing guilt about her new feelings. They return to Red Gold Bridge as prisoners where Lynn discovers that the mysterious Bahard is really Mark Ballard, an old boyfriend.

In the Aeritan army, Kate's value rises when she and Colar capture Bahard's Jeep and drive it back to camp. Inside is a cache of tech that she teaches the rest of the army how to use. She and Colar kiss in a flush of triumph from their raid but Colar's father comes upon them and vents his anger on Colar.

Back home, the earthquakes are getting worse, and a helicopter that is searching for the missing women explodes in the sky as it runs into the portal. Joe is arrested for the kidnapping of the two women. He is bailed out by Mrs. Hunt, the owner of Hunters Chase, who asks him to help her contact the wounded man Arrim, now in a mental hospital. Mrs. Hunt is Lady Sarita, Lord Tharp's long-lost wife, and she decides it is time to return home. She, Joe, and Arrim return to the wood in the middle of the final battle, where Mrs. Hunt is reunited with her husband. The combatants call a wary truce as everyone decides that closing the portal is the top priority. Joe discovers that he has a guardian's talent, and he decides to stay in Aeritan, though he loves Lynn. She is torn for she loves Joe and has come to love Crae, but returns home. She and Kate drive home, along with young Colar, who is badly wounded and needs a hospital.

General Marthen, though he did not admit it to himself, had fallen in love with 15-year-old Kate even apart from his scheme. With her gone, the war over, and the council no longer inclined to be grateful, his ambitions have come to nothing. Marthen uses one of the strange weapons, Bahard's personal handgun, to shoot himself. Captain Crae has become Lord Crae, recognized by the council for his deeds in stopping the gordath. He marries the Lady Jessamy of Trieve, but still loves Lynn. Lynn inherits Hunters Chase from Mrs. Hunt/Lady Sarita. Joe, used to the wide-open spaces of Texas, learns to walk softly in the woods so as not to waken the gordath. After Colar heals up, he joins Kate in high school, missing his family but excited by the possibilities of this new world.

You’ve made the classic mistake of including so many people and events you sacrifice clarity. You don’t need to mention everyone; in fact, it’s better not to. The classic example of this mistake is the horse. You start with him, but he's never mentioned again after paragraph one.

You have four main characters (I think..it’s hard to tell who’s important cause there are so many here). Give each a few lines, and then outline the major points of the plot. You don’t have to follow the chronology of the book.


Brady Westwater said...

I know zero about fantasy, but I too was thrown - so to speak - by the horse setting up the story, and then vanishing.

Also, the horse not loading due to a quake didn't work for me since a horse would normally follow its trainer's lead when it is uncomfortble about something.

It would seem more plausible and more interesting if the horse sensed something bad was going to happen to them and rebelled against going on the ill-fated ride, but finally, against its better judgement, followed the trainer's lead.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else feel that the majority of these synopses would work better if they were shorter? Say, three or four paragraphs?

Feisty said...

I always thought a synopsis should be about a page, two tops. At 250 words per page...oh, wait, that's double spaced. This is single spaced, so it is about two pages.

Ok, well, I agree with you. I think slimmer is better.