Crapometer #20

Title: Birdsong
Genre: Teen Fantasy


Sarah and Cornelius are running late for an appointment at the record company Sarah is signed to. Sarah turns a corner, and accidentally crashes into a teenage boy (James) who's running late for school. Both of them quickly apologise to each other, scramble to pick up their stuff, and get going again. When Sarah gets to her appointment, she realises she's lost
her microphone.

James gets to school on time, and finds the microphone in his bag. He decides to try to find the girl he met so he can return it. Meanwhile Sarah's panicking about the missing microphone, and Cornelius (her agent/guardian) is trying to calm her down.

James sneaks out of school at lunchtime to try to find the girl. He retraces his steps, then sees a record company building nearby. He goes there and describes the girl to the receptionist. The receptionist tells him her name (Sarah), and tells him to wait for her to come down to reception.

James pulls out the microphone and starts singing along with the music being played at reception for fun. To his surprise he hits every note perfectly. When the song ends he sees Sarah and Cornelius standing in front of him. Cornelius offers to represent him, and James returns the microphone to Sarah. He accepts the offer then sneaks back to school, unaware that he was being followed by another student.

Over the next few weeks James gets to know Sarah and Cornelius, and both his and Sarah's careers start to take shape. James gets the distinct feeling Sarah and Cornelius are hiding something, but isn't sure what. He's never heard Sarah sing outside of a recording studio, and can't work out why his own singing sounds so good in the studio, but is so bad outside of it.

Some of James's suspicions are confirmed when he arrives early for a meeting at their apartment one day, and sees Sarah talking to a siamese cat who responds with Cornelius's voice! Sarah and Cornelius immediately swear him to secrecy over Cornelius's true identity. James agrees to keep Cornelius's secret, and wonders what else they're hiding.

Soon James and Sarah's first singles are released, and the two of them become household names almost overnight. Sarah gets random guys stopping her in the street to ask her out, and the girls at James's school instantly start asking him out. James's sudden popularity with the girls at school angers the boys, and they begin targetting him in sneaky little ways.

When James reaches his wit's end over how to deal with it all, a classmate (Brett) says he'll get the other boys to leave James alone if James can hook him up with Sarah. He also agrees not to tell anyone about James sneaking out of school a few weeks back. James says he'll talk to Sarah about it.

Sarah agrees to go out with Brett once, but only as a favour to James. Cornelius arranges a TV spot for James the same night Sarah's going out with Brett.

Brett takes Sarah out to dinner, but by the end of the date, Sarah realises who she really wanted to spend the evening with. When she gets home, she decides to go down to the TV studio to tell James how she feels. Cornelius tries to talk her out of it, but Sarah refuses to listen and goes to the studio, taking a small gift with her. When she arrives she sees a girl appear out of nowhere and watches as she pounces on James, declaring her love for him.

Sarah drops the gift and runs away, thinking the strange girl is James's girlfriend. James pushes away the strange girl, and chases after Sarah while rescuing the gift she dropped. He notices that Sarah's leaving behind a trail of feathers as she runs, then stares in amazement as Sarah turns into a duck, and flies away into the night. James looks at the gift, and notices it's the same strange necklace Sarah wears. He puts it on, and asks it to turn him into a duck too. The necklace immediately transforms James into a duck, and he flies after Sarah.

Sarah lands next to a lake, with James landing soon after. He recognises the lake as a nature reserve on the other side of town, and wonders why Sarah stopped here. He keeps following her, and sees her talking to two ducks. One of the ducks notices him, and beckons him over. As soon as James introduces himself, Sarah swims out onto the lake. James follows her, and Sarah can't help but laugh at his awkward swimming. She explains that the two ducks on the shore are her parents, and about the spell she's under. The spell enables her to take human form for a year, and the microphone translates her singing into human speech, which is why the microphone improved James's singing so much. The two of them then return to shore.

When the situation's explained, Sarah's mother casts the same spell on James with a shorter timespan so both spells will be broken on the same day.

The next day Cornelius tells them that a concert has been arranged in three months' time, at the stadium next to the nature reserve. They know that that's the day the spell ends, and Sarah and James begin preparing for what may be their only concert.

The day of the concert arrives, and Sarah goes missing two hours before they're due to go onstage. James guesses where she went, and goes down to the lake. He finds and reassures her that all will go well, and they return to the stadium.

As James predicted, the concert goes well. They lose track of time, and are suddenly surrounded by feathers and light as the spell ends. Sarah starts panicking, and James reassures her again that everything is alright. The light fades to reveal two humans standing on the stage, and the concert ends.

Are Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah are available for the movie version?

When you retell a familiar story, or even weave parts of many old stories into a new one, it’s really important to add something of your own to it. You’ve heard me yammer about fresh and new a lot. Insert that rant here.

This is ok, but it’s not anything that grabs me. Even with really good writing, you’re just retelling Hans Christian Anderson with rock lyrics.

Imagine deeply. Make this your own story.

And this synopsis is awash in detail. You could cut it in half and still convey the essence of the story.


Anonymous said...

That's a gross slander of HCA, but I'm in awe of your stamina and the ruggedness of your crapometer. But is that CRAP-o-meter or crap-OM-eter?

Miss Snark said...

Hey, I read a collection of HCA stories that came out from Houghton a couple years back, and that guy was a turkey in many ways. Besides, you can't slander the dead, which Shyster Snark reminds me is the only reason I've not been sued more often.

C. Rap O'Meter, mofo.
Can you tell I'm watching WAY too much of The Wire?

Jen said...

Thanks for the critique, Miss Snark!

I hadn't tried putting a story idea into a synopsis format before (I usually just jump in and write without a plan. ^_^;; ), so it's good to know what worked and what didn't for this synopsis.

I'll keep what you said in mind when rewriting and cleaning this up. :)

Lex said...

*Glomps* I thought it was a very good synopsis, Jen. ^_^ Reading it and hearing all of the other details you're putting into it from the conversations we've had has me excited about reading more. I look forward to it! ^_^

Catja (green_knight) said...

I think you can cut a lot of wordage from the synopsis - the magic microphone, speaking cat, schoolyard bullies, upcoming lovestory were all there.

Unlike Miss Snark, I'd feel quite happy with your blending of coming of age/highschool/fable, as long as it's done well.