Monday, January 15, 2007

Which Synopsis?

I am entering the Telegraph writing competition and have to send in a synopsis of my book. I have written two versions. Which should I send?

Edited to add that I'm going to send in version II, but I'll leave version I up anyway.

Book Synopsis I

Have you ever had a dream so visually real that, on waking you can remember nearly every detail? Eleanor Roberts does, becomes convinced the object of her dream – her lover, John Bosworth – is real, and decides, despite the odds, to find out if he exists…

Eleanor: Do you remember when we first met?

John: How could I forget? You stood there, in my office, transfixed like you’d just seen a ghost, then spun me a completely improbable tale of meeting me in a dream, and then just as it got interesting, you shot off like a bullet from a gun!

Eleanor: Ah yes (mistily), but it did spur you to action.

John: There was enough in that tale to peak my interest and you really did have gorgeous legs.

Eleanor: Did?

John: Do, hon, do!

Eleanor: You were able to pursue me, got me, of course, and then nearly lost me on that freezing evening when you lost your temper with my pal Krista.

John: One of those defining moments in a relationship. I had to face the fact that to keep you I’d have to deal with my demons. Which I did, with ol’ Doc Norton.

Eleanor: You did, and were absolutely ghastly while it went on, and on. I was convinced you’d been potty-trained too young…

John: From your years of training as a doc…

Eleanor: I stuck by you though.

John: Hey, it was your fault it happened at all!

Eleanor: Well, you must admit it did you good. We did get married and I did come and live with you in New York, wrench though it was from my lovely peaceful life in the south of France.

John: To a very comfortable life.

Eleanor: Yes, you are a very brilliant, successful businessman, but I would have loved you had you been less successful.

John: I know, and one of the advantages to meeting me in dream, though I can’t believe I’m saying this, was to fall in love with me first and meet the other me with money later.

Eleanor: I anguished over that one long and hard, tried to examine my motives, test myself for gold-digger tendencies…

John: Me too, to be sure I wasn’t going to find myself in the divorce courts in a year’s time with massive payouts.

Eleanor: What did you think of our match-making with your brother and my sister?

John: You mean, my miserable sod of a brother and your man-eater bitch of a sister?

Eleanor: Who else?

John: A match made in heaven, obviously. He now considers us on equal terms as he has the prettier sister. He’s welcome to her! Remember how she tried to seduce me that Christmas?

Eleanor: Oh yes, and you put her firmly in her place. That must have been a first for her.

John: Yes, but there was no competition. I wanted you and only you before anyone else nabbed you.

Eleanor: How could anyone else do for me? You’re my dream man, baby!

Book Synopsis II

Being re-written it was so crap...

Okay, here goes:

Eleanor is a 41-year old mother of two boys, divorced from her French husband two years previously and on her own since then. One night she has a vivid dream in which she accidentally bumps into a man called John Bosworth, 43, in a hotel whilst on holiday with some old university friends. The rapport between them is instant. They spend a few hours together and are just about to make love in his apartment in New York when she wakes up.

She obsesses about him and the dream to the extent that she feels she has to delve deeper and consult that oracle of all information; the internet. To her shock, she finds that he does indeed exist so off she goes to New York to tell him that she met him in a dream. The improbability of it piques his interest and when she rushes off suddenly because the subject of sex versus making love is raised, his sense of romance is awakened, sharpening his appetite for the chase. They fall in love, marry and bump along, as do we all, in their relationship.

The theme of the dream and reality runs through the book and the idea that each person’s reality is their own, in which they can live their dreams if they pursue them with determination. The importance of emotional intelligence in relationships both in everyday life and when confronted with difficult situations is a concept which is examined in their voiced thoughts as well as in conversations with friends.

Eleanor’s life had been restricted by her decision that French men are for playtime only. John found himself dating bimbos and aggressive American females, despairing of ever finding a sane, attractive, intelligent woman. They are drawn to each without knowing why but with the feeling that if they let the occasion of meeting pass them by they would regret it profoundly as a missed opportunity of immense importance.

While they agonised over superficial details, ‘Their souls had already found each other; it was just that their conscious minds needed convincing.’

The story travels from New York to Montpellier in the south of France where John spends a month with Eleanor learning Arabic and losing his temper. Eleanor discovers a darker side to John and advises him that he has a choice; to agree to deal with his anger, or go home. It’s a defining moment in their relationship and John realises that he has to face his demons or lose the woman he loves.

They marry in New York in February, after which Eleanor has to go back to France so the boys can finish their school year. Their wedding is marked by the meeting of John’s determinedly miserable younger brother and Eleanor’s man-eater bitch of a sister who discover each other; Rachel because Matthew is a serious project and a challenge, and Matthew because he is so amazed that the prettier sister finds him attractive that he feels he can face his successful older brother as an equal.

John ungraciously signs up for psychotherapy with Dr Norton but finds himself drawn into a world he’d buried deep in his psyche. The root causes of his anger emerge as he extracts the pain and anguish of his childhood. He struggles for two years, finally facing the truth.

John and Eleanor’s relationship survives, turning the dream of a sex-starved lonely woman into a love based on the reality of determination and coincidence.


  1. Sarah, I'll have to think about it and I'll give you a response. But I would just like to say how brilliant you are at characterisation. Eleanor is obviously your sister, and her sister is obviously you. You're a genius.

  2. I liked the 2nd one best! (it was still showing up on bloglines) Call me traditional....

    May I suggest "piqued my interest", in keeping with the French context?

    Can't wait to read the whole thing and tell the world I "knew" you before you published and did book signings at WH Smith on the rue de Rivoli!

  3. Thanks antipo, I thought there was something not quite right about 'peaks'. Doh, my mind was not really on the job this morning hence a desperate need to rewrite the one I'll send - synopsis II.

  4. antipodeeessse your stole my "line".....I already said, "well of course I know her, we are very close" when Sarah get's published, hoorahed,, paperazzis all over et tutti quanti!

    Second version for me too.

    Richard d'Orleans is really very spirituel sometimes - and get infiniment plus sympathique, du coup!

    Bravo budding writer, forward march.....


  5. Richard, you know what they say - write about what you know. Eleanor is an extreme version of me, yes. But she isn't me.

    NG, I wouldn't hold your breath...

  6. I know you too...I know you too...I know you too...

    Can't wait to read the whole thing...

    I've also entered the competition with a children's novel. Well, why not? Ive done a pretty nifty synopsis...I'm too lazy to actually write whole book though...:-)

  7. ooops...I see one cannot edit comments...I've done a typo...:-(

  8. Sarah I thought "a sex-starved lonely woman" probably wasn't you, but how can you write about such subjects, if you know nothing of them?

  9. It isn't me, now.

    Obviously you have had to suffer going through a divorce.

  10. Doh, I meant to say 'never had to'.

  11. You're right Sarah. I haven't. I'm too loveable for anyone to want to divorce me.

  12. Looks good to me. Her dream. His demons. You could call it "Dreams and Demons". Just make sure you get the spelling right.

  13. Or 'Look back in anger'. Oops, that one's been taken already. :p


Comments are bienvenue.