This is topic Summary of Beastwatcher: The Shifters in forum Fragments and Feedback for Books at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by Brooke18 (Member # 10220) on :
Hi guys! Wondering if you can give me insights on this. Had to cut it down somewhat in order to fit the 13-line rule (and I hope it does fit the rule). Let me know what you think! Thanks!

As Alex, the daughter of an alleged murderer, deals with her chaotic life, the arrival of a new family changes everything. As she falls for Jason-a Shifter-she uncovers his dark secret and joins him in trying to protect Cretice from being massacred by the Raeders, hunters who are after Jason and his family. More secrets are revealed as Alex realizes that people she knows have a history with the Raeders and Jason's family. Unexpected events will lead to broken trust, open wounds, and strained relationships as the battle for survival threatens them all. The only force strong enough to stand against the Raeders is the power that lies within two Shifters. The Shifters’ full potential has yet to be discovered. Will these teens and their families be able to defeat a twisted leader consumed with the abilities of the Shifters' ancestors?
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
Thirteen lines exactly cuts off at "with the abilities of". Close, only three words over the limit, and may pass muster anyway.

Raeders and Shifters are the groups in conflict here and over the town of Cretice. What is normal human Cretice resident Alex's role, other than suitor and love interest of Jason? Jason is Shifter. Alex becomes a Shifter? Or formalized Beastwatcher ally? Either way, her proactiveness hinges upon her being savior of herself, Jason, Shifters, and Cretice. Alex's proactiveness is a pivotal event requirement for a protagonist contestant (first agonist). Frankly, I won't care about her unless she has a personal stake, a dramatic conflict other than coincidental to Jason, Shifters, Raeders, Cretice's life or death, and helps herself to mature as much as helps Jason, Shifters, and Cretice survive.

That Cretice is Alex's hometown is not entirely clear. The context and texture signal Cretice might be a name for the Shifters.

"As Alex, the daughter of an alleged murderer, deals with her chaotic life, the arrival of a new family changes everything."

Grammar fault starting with "As" as a time conjunction. "As" is a correlative conjunction. Starting a narrative, paragraph, or sentence, in the first place, with a conjunction is potentially a serious grammar fault. I doubt most any screening reader would read on. I wouldn't in that screening role. Then the very next sentence starts also with a conjunction faultily used, again "As" as a time conjunction and starting a sentence. Twice more faults in use of "as" as a time conjunction later in the summary.

The first sentence is cluttered also, from the syntax placing priority emphasis on "Alex, daughter of an alleged muderer, deals with her chaotic life." The primary circumstance is the arrival of the new family, specifically Jason. That's the complicating event for Alex, the causal event that sets the whole novel into dramatic motion. A proper sentence subject is a causal event, by proper I mean strongest, clearest, most interesting, and most tension arousing.

Jason then is the agency of change, the core event for Alex's oncoming transformation.

Did you know, by the way, "Jason" comes from the first letters of the Julian calendar months July, August, September, October, and November?

"She falls for Jason" is problematic in that "falls," meaning in love, as an idiom is vague. More clarity and strength I feel is needed for that idiomatic expression to be easily understood.

"More secrets" and "Unexpected events" are vague and as a best practice either left out or more concisely developed.

"The only force strong enough to stand against the Raeders is the power that lies within two Shifters. The Shifters' full potential has yet to be discovered."

Who are these "two Shifters"? That is also vague.

Rhetorical questions are an immediate turnoff for many screening readers, agents, editors, publishers, many readers too: "Will these teens and their families be able to defeat a twisted leader consumed with the abilities of the Shifters' ancestors?" Rhetorical questions were long ago an enticing and exciting feature for pitches, queries, synopses, and narratives. Their overuse and misuse has made them cliché and subject to immediate rejection.

I don't see "consumed" in that sentence as a strong and clear word choice either. "Consumed," transitive verb, means used up, destroyed, devoured, squandered, or as intransitive verb "consumed" means utilized. I think the intent is more along the lines of fervor, passion, or fanatical.

"Consumed with" is also a grammatical fault for the intranstive verb use. //Consumed by// is the proper grammatical preposition use.

And who is this Raeder leader?

Developing all the above within thirteen lines is problematic. I feel too much is going on in too little space. Not per se due to thirteen-line limitations but from underrealizing the needs of a summary's pitch portion.

Consider instead of summarizing the entire novel, summarizing the initial pivotal event; that is, Alex's bad-boy, love interest to be, Shifter Jason, pursued by Raeders, comes to town for sanctuary. This is a stranger comes to town story shape, in which the larger shape is routine interrupted. Jason is Alex's routine interrupted. And incorporate what proactive role Alex plays as a foreground to the dramatic complications of her personal wants and problems, Jason, Shifters, and Raeders.

[ April 27, 2014, 03:49 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by Brooke18 (Member # 10220) on :
Alex does play a central role, sort of like an anchor for the others (especially Jason). When it comes to things like this, I REALLY utterly despise the 13-line rule. I really did cut it down and replaced words to try to get it to fit.

I was also trying to compose it like if I was writing a query letter. I wasn't exactly sure how long (number-wise) it should be and I always tend to include too much detail or not enough. The extremes of both is something I've always been stuck on.

As for the rhetorical question, I personally have always liked a well-formed rhetorical question. I do agree that they are cliche. I like summaries where the last sentence is a cliffhanger and so, the rhetorical question was the first thing to come to mind.
Posted by Brooke18 (Member # 10220) on :
I also didn't know about Jason's name but that is cool!
Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
The 13-line rule only applies to text that is intended for publication.

Summaries, synopses, and queries are not limited to the 13-line rule.
Posted by Brooke18 (Member # 10220) on :
Oh okay! Well, this is the full thing. Still editing as I find things wrong with it. Also, I'm trying to keep it at a paragraph or two.

Alex Cooper, the daughter of an alleged murderer, deals with her difficult life until the arrival of the Nichols family leads her to realize that pieces of her past have withheld from her. When she falls for one of the boys, a Shifter named Jason, she uncovers his dark secret and chooses to join him and his family as they try to protect themselves and her hometown of Cretice from being annihilated by the Raeders, hunters who are after Jason and his family. More secrets are revealed as Alex and her father become more involved in the battle between the Shifters and the Raeders. Unexpected events will cause trust to be broken, old wounds to resurface, and love to be strained as Cretice is transformed into a battlefield. With the danger escalating, keeping up with the chaos will prove to be a tough challenge for Alex. The only force that seems to be strong enough to stand against the Raeders is the power that lies within the Shifters. If Alex and Jason can’t put their feelings for each other aside, they may lose everything.
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
A summary, synopsis, pitch, a narrative itself is memorable when it can or be in a few words sum up the whole. Memorableness is important in any regard for a summary's proposal and introductions-to-a-publisher purposes. This is akin to a letter of introduction. Hi, here's So-and-so, respectable and memorable for these qualities. For some of the more popularly and critically acclaimed narratives, this memorableness might be one word.

A challenge for you I propose is to summarize what this novel is about in twenty-five words or less, ten if possible.

What's this novel about? Event, setting, and character as given are strangers come to town, Cretice, Alex. None of that is what the story's about. What does Alex want, desire, at this moment what is her objective and what are its obstacles. That's what this story is about, any story actually. Want and problem.

Love that gives meaning to her life is Alex's singlemost desire. Imply accessibly Alex wants to love and portray the main obstacle in her way of satisfying that desire in as few as ten words, then, new paragraph, give more details about the obstacles.

Missing main verb "past have [been] withheld".

"As" correlation conjuntion used faultily three times.

"When she _falls for_ one of the boys", vague idiom underscored, faulty subordination clause. A subordination clause modifies--emphasizes--is parallel, related to its attached main clause's main idea. That sentence is cluttered and confused overall, a run-on sentence of seven stand-alone main ideas.

[ April 28, 2014, 06:27 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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