Chris Lofts

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Retired IT Project Manager. Living the dream.

My Forums
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Hi Folks. I've been working on my Amazon sales pitch for my forthcoming novel Life Untenable. I'd re…
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  •  · Thanks, Robert. Appreciate you taking the time to respond.
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Morning All.Personally, I find the writing of a synopsis a bit like Marmite. You know - you either l…
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  •  · Chris, the synopsis is far too looooooooong and for me it was like watching all 264 episodes of Dall…
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They say, as authors, we should read wide and deep within our chosen genre. For me, it's psychologic…
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  •  · I just picked up an old Penguin copy of 'A Room With A View' for a change from all the new work I've…
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I guess we've all gone about learning our craft in different ways. I thought I'd share a list of the…
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  •  · I read a book a few years back called "How not to write a novel" which was really funny and wise, bu…
Chris Lofts
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Morning All.

Personally, I find the writing of a synopsis a bit like Marmite. You know - you either love it or hate it. I'm in the latter camp but understand and accept that it's a necessary part of the trad' publishing journey. I'm relatively new to the whole thing and have read numerous articles (including on JW of course) on the subject and also Nicola Morgan's useful book Write a Great Synopsis.

Actually, while I'm at it, I've read quite a lot of books on the subject of writing. You can see my Townhouse post here: it would be great to see your lists too.

So, I wonder if I can beg the indulgence of my author friends and ask for feedback on the synopsis for my current WIP Assisted FratricideI'd also like to know what you think of the title? Weird, had to look that word up, gripping, intriguing, were your drunk? Etc. etc. 

I also have an elevator pitch as follows:

Wealthy enigmatic artist secretly weaponises her art to exact revenge upon her jealous misogynist sibling. Convinced she has failed, retribution strikes in unexpected form from the shadows to finish what she started.

How's that? Does it have you running for the checkout or the hills?

Finally, here's the synopsis. It's one A4 page and 735 words.

Pandora (Pan) Strafer enigmatic artist daughter of reclusive technology billionaire Elliott Strafer cowers behind a thin veneer of wealth and respectability at Les Sources, the family's French estate in northern Burgundy. A patina of happiness and creativity disguises the terrible truth about her torment-filled existence at the hands of her jealous misogynistic older brother Tobin. Their father has always favoured Pan, lavishing her with praise, attention and encouragement. Disappointed by Tobin’s failure to meet his own high standards and expectations, Elliott regards him as an entitled wastrel. Elliott's premature retirement had failed to herald Tobin's succession as head of the Strafer business empire leaving his son bitter and angry. Tobin's psychological bullying and harassment of Pan takes a terrifying turn late one night in a taboo-shattering physical assault that threatens to plunge her beyond her propensity for self-harm. Any sane person with Pan's wealth would put as much distance as possible between themselves and their tormentor. But, her love and devotion for her quadriplegic mother and her unrequited love for H (Harvey) Montgomery, her father's driver and personal protection drown out the voices telling her to flee. Having learned that there is evidence of his assault upon his sister, Tobin takes desperate steps to silence the witness and destroy the proof. With the help of his friend Serkan Duru, he recruits the Duru family fixer Katja Almqvist to recover the video taken by the former housekeeper Delphine Beauvoir on her phone. Almqvist applies her own brand of perverse brutality assaulting Pan and coercing her into obtaining the video. With Pan’s behaviour become more erratic, H follows her as she attempts to collect the video from Delphine. Outraged by his Machiavellian tactics to discover the truth, Pan is left with no option than to reveal everything to H and eventually accept his plan to deliver the video. Both Almqvist’s and H’s plans unravel at the video handover. Almqvist evades H and escapes without Pan. Pan’s fight for her life leaves her traumatised, furious and hell-bent on exacting her revenge upon her brother. She retreats to her studio and immerses herself in preparation for the exhibition of her art which is gaining publicity and value. Alone, afraid and taking inspiration from Oscar Wilde’s Decay of Lying, she realises a way to exact her revenge on her brother with the only weapon she has at her disposal - her art.

Her father unwittingly comes to her assistance by asking Tobin to deputise for him at the exhibition launch, the proceeds of which are destined for the family's charitable foundation. Forced to share the stage with brother, Pan almost reneges on her plan but his Teflon-coated arrogance and disparaging remarks about her and her work serve to remind her why she has to reveal the extent of his torture and its culmination in her rape. To reinforce the point, she sprays the word RAPTOREM (the rapist) in blood-red paint across a painting with the harrowing video backing up her accusation. Tobin refutes her allegations, dismissing the grainy video as a fake. Pan delivers the coup de grâce in the form of a heart-rending ceramic of an eight-week-old foetus and a paternity test result that shows that her brother was the father of the terminated child. Tobin fights his way through the media mêlée and bolts from the exhibition with H in pursuit. He escapes H in the dense Dijon traffic helped by a leather-clad motorcyclist who blocks H. With Tobin's crimes in the public domain, Pan and H conclude that it would only be a matter of time before he is arrested. With her new-found courage and determination to start a new life, Pan again lets her art do the talking. She shows H a series of sensual and erotic sketches she has imagined of them together. The question of Tobin's whereabouts is resolved when Pan receives a package containing, amongst other things, a letter from Katja Almqvist. She writes of her mother’s suicide and all but confesses to the murder of her own father, who raped her when she was eleven years old. She adds proudly that her father's death gained notoriety for its violence when his severed penis and a video showing his brutal cannibalistic torture and death were sent to his new wife. Almqvist assures Pan that Tobin's demise, as shown in the video enclosed, was every bit as horrific and no less than he deserved.

Thanks, Everyone.


Currently reading: Life 3.0 - Being human in the age of artificial intelligence by Max Tegmark

Chris Lofts
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They say, as authors, we should read wide and deep within our chosen genre. For me, it's psychological thrillers. At the moment I'm doing some background reading/research on the subject of Artificial Intelligence.

Currently reading: Life 3.0 - Being human in the age of artificial intelligence by Max Tegmark

Next in line: Novacene - The coming age of hyperintelligence by James Lovelock

What about you - all genres welcome?

Chris Lofts
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I guess we've all gone about learning our craft in different ways. I thought I'd share a list of the books I've read on the subject of writing. Some are better than others but in general, I've got something out of all of them. I hope you find the list useful. 

It would be great to see your own lists and hopefully, we can build this into a nice resource for anyone looking for suggestions. Here goes and in no particular order.

Title Author
The Writer's Journey Christopher Vogler
Stein on Writing Sol Stein
How to grow a novel Sol Stein
Into the woods John Yorke
How to write dazzling dialogue James Scott Bell
F**king Apostrophes (don't read if the f-word offends) Simon Griffin
How fiction works James Wood
Bird by bird Anne Lamott
Write to be published Nicola Morgan
Dear Agent Nicola Morgan
Write a great synopsis Nicola Morgan
Eats shoots and leaves Lynne Truss
How to Write Harry Bingham
The joy of writing sex Elizabeth Benedict
The art of fiction David Lodge
Reading like a writer Francine Prose
The emotional thesaurus Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
The emotional wound thesaurus (excellent!) Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
The positive trait thesaurus Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
The negative trait thesaurus Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
The rural setting thesaurus Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
The urban setting thesaurus Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

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