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Synopsis Project - scbutler — LiveJournal
March 18th, 2008
08:56 am


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Synopsis Project
Like several other folks in  jpsorrow 's Synopsis Project, I haven't actually used synopses that much.  My first book was sold after I'd already written it, and since the contract called for three books, I never had to synopsize the other two, just hand them in.  But I do have a film agent, and he asked me to write a pitch for him to show around Hollywood, so I thought I'd post that instead.  Not that I've actually sold anything to the movies, mind you, but the pitch was apparently good enough to open a few doors.  We even got rejected by Brad Bird!  (Swoon.)

Funny thing is, I think this pitch is one of the worst thngs I've ever written.  Which is a good thing, because that's what my literary agent told me to do.  He said to write it as if I were going to present it to a bunch of kindergardeners with ADD, and then to go through it afterwards and make it more simplistic and referential.  The more current movies I could compare it to, the better.  In fact, if I could only describe it in terms of current movies, that would be best of all.

So I gave it a shot, and this is what came out.  (I've tried to hide it behind a link, but can't figure out how to do that.)

Reiffen’s Choice is a classic fantasy in the tradition of the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, filled with non-stop action and jaw-dropping wonder.  Powerful Wizards, not unlike Saruman and Voldemort in their way, take aim at the young heroes, who have only their pluck and a few talented friends to help them.  By the end of the story Reiffen, the protagonist, faces a terrible choice: should he stay with his friends in Valing with the talking seals, or should he return to the Wizards to learn their magic, risking everything he loves in the process?

Call it the Prometheus myth, only this time Magic is the fire.

As in “The Lion King”, Reiffen is a prince whose rightful throne has been usurped by his evil uncle.  At the start of the book he is kidnapped by the Wizards, who want to use his claim to further their own ambitions.  His friends Ferris and Avender, along with a talking bear named Redburr (a cross between Shakespeare’s Falstaff and Gandalf the Wizard) and a dwarf named Nolo, set out to rescue him.  They plan to sneak into the Wizards’ fortress through the Stoneways, the vast underground Dwarven kingdom.  Picture Moria, from the first Lord of the Rings movie, but bustling with light and activity.  Their travels include flying in an airship below the bottom of the world, and a wild underground wagon ride that could be right from the latest X-Box videogame.  They also meet a talking rock, who helps save them at the last minute, and fight a Smaug-like dragon in the darkest corners beneath the earth.

At the end, back home in Valing, it becomes obvious to everyone that Reiffen has been changed by the Wizards, not unlike the fate of Edmund in C. S. Lewis’s classic, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.  Will he be able to throw off his experience and resume his old life?  Or will he, like Frodo Baggins after his experience carrying the Ring of Power, find that he can never regain the innocence he lost?  In the end Reiffen must make his choice alone, and bear the responsibility for his decision.

Plot Synopsis Project participant links:  (Pardon me if the links don't work, but this is well beyond my LJ competence.)

Mike Brotherton:  www.mikebrotherton.com
David B. Coe  davidbcoe  :  davidbcoe.livejournal.com
S.L. Farrell  sleigh :  sleigh.livejournal.com
Diana Francis  difrancis  :  difrancis.livejournal.com
C.E. Murphy  mizkit:  mizkit.livejournal.com
Joshua Palmatier  jpsorrow:  jpsorrow.livejournal.com
Sean Williams  ladnews:  ladnews.livejournal.com

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2008 02:37 am (UTC)
Hi there, I just found your journal by way of naominovik's.

I'm a big fan of Reiffen's Choice and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. Actually... a bit from my review of it for Children's Literature is on the back of Queen Ferris. I'm thrilled to see you're an lj-er, and look forward to reading your lj!
[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)
Well then, thank you very much for the review. How great you liked the book! I finished the third, tentatively titled The Magicians' Daughter, a little more than a month ago, but haven't heard boo from my editor yet.

I only became an lj-er late last year (I had been resisting the blog bug mightily). jpsorrow, pbray, and jennifer_dunne are mostly responsible. There are some cool, fun, and funny folk here. I post now and again, and only occasionally let my natural sarcasm get the better of me.

Can't wait to get to know you through your blog, especially since you've revealed yourself to be a REVIEWER. I shall peruse your every comment for clues as to how to ingratiate myself with you and the rest of your clan forever.

Or, even better, maybe I'll just make a new friend.
[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm glad you were talked into blogging! There are a lot of great people on lj, and frankly, I enjoy a good dose of sarcasm sometimes :) This is my newer account, but I've used the site for about six years, and I love it.

I've been reviewing for a couple years now and enjoy it a lot, though I must admit most of my blog has been about my own writing (I'm working on my MFA thesis at the moment, which is driving me a bit crazy). And you certainly don't have to worry about ingratiating yourself with me, I've been recommending Reiffen since I first read it.

Glad to "meet" you, and I hope to see you often around lj!
[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
Ah, the MFA. Hope you don't have to sign away your electronic rights forever the way Iowa seems to be making its degree candidates do these days with their theses.

Good luck on it!
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:February 27th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC)
I'd update it if there was any interest. That was almost three years ago.
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