I'm currently playing around with the idea of a kinetic yuri VN and would appreciate opinions on my synopsis!

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I'm currently playing around with the idea of a kinetic yuri VN and would appreciate opinions on my synopsis!

#1 Post by coreynj » Tue May 14, 2019 2:05 am

I love to write and have written short stories before, and I've been told that I have the potential to be a great author, but I just haven't found the drive necessary to create an entire story until now. I hadn't read visual novels before, but recently I started getting into them and I've absolutely fallen in love with them. I've read a couple by Studio Elan, and their stories have given me inspiration to create my own. Today while I was working, I suddenly got a creative drive and thought of a unique story that just kinda clicked. I would love if you guys would critique my synopsis and let me know where I can improve on my writing and wordage. The name of the story is From the Ashes. Thank you guys in advance!
Ashfall has long since been forgotten by most of the world. A small, reclusive village at the base of the monstrous volcano Ishva, its blistering year-round heat makes it a treacherous place for even the most daring of visitors. But for the Ashen, their natural resistance renders the heat of their home ineffective. Amber Bell is a young Ashen girl with a fiery attitude, and fiery-red hair to match. She is the first Ashen in 74 years to be born with the Mark of the Flame, a birthmark signifying that the High Priestess, keeper of Ishva, will soon be passing the torch unto her. High Priestesses are capable of premonition, and through proper utilization of their abilities can predict what kind of sacrifices are necessary to maintain volcanic stasis. Disaster strikes while Amber is being mentored by the current High Priestess. She receives a premonition of a girl at the edge of the volcano, and fearing the worst, Amber makes the trek up Ishva to its peak. Peering over the edge, Amber’s eyes lock onto a girl floating mere inches above the lava. The girl introduces herself as Fia, a goddess that has lain dormant inside the volcano for thousands of years.

From The Ashes is a tragic story about betrayal, sacrifice, and the lengths a person will go to for true love.

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Re: I'm currently playing around with the idea of a kinetic yuri VN and would appreciate opinions on my synopsis!

#2 Post by Mutive » Thu May 16, 2019 5:50 pm

My thoughts...

Ashfall has long since been forgotten by most of the world. A small, reclusive village at the base of the monstrous volcano Ishva, its blistering year-round heat makes it a treacherous place for even the most daring of visitors. But for the Ashen, their natural resistance renders the heat of their home ineffective.

You're using a lot of words here just to describe a place. I don't *dislike* geography, but it's not interesting to me the way people (and plots) are. I'd recommend starting with your protagonist and explaining her predicament.

Amber Bell is a young Ashen girl with a fiery attitude, and fiery-red hair to match. She is the first Ashen in 74 years to be born with the Mark of the Flame, a birthmark signifying that the High Priestess, keeper of Ishva, will soon be passing the torch unto her. High Priestesses are capable of premonition, and through proper utilization of their abilities can predict what kind of sacrifices are necessary to maintain volcanic stasis.

It's great that you've moved onto the protagonist! But a lot of this stuff isn't really relevant until you get to the problem Amber is facing...(which to be honest I'm still not 100% clear on). I'm probably not going to play a VN because the character has fiery hair, for instance, or that the character is special. (Most tend to be, right?) I'm more inclined to play it because of some aspect of the character's personality. (Which tends to be best expressed in how she uniquely solves the problems presented to her.)

Disaster strikes while Amber is being mentored by the current High Priestess. She receives a premonition of a girl at the edge of the volcano, and fearing the worst, Amber makes the trek up Ishva to its peak. Peering over the edge, Amber’s eyes lock onto a girl floating mere inches above the lava. The girl introduces herself as Fia, a goddess that has lain dormant inside the volcano for thousands of years.

I'm not sure how disaster strikes here. She receives a premonition and sees a girl. I'm guessing this means that the volcano is going to blow, but honestly am not certain. It also takes a *long* time to get here.

From The Ashes is a tragic story about betrayal, sacrifice, and the lengths a person will go to for true love.

Show, not tell.

A way to revise this (to show more personality) might be something like:

Amber is about to put a frog down her High Priestess' back when she sees a vision in the sacred flame. It warns her that the volcano she lives on is about to blow and turn her - and everyone she knows - into human-ka-bobs. Amber tells everyone she knows about this premonition, but after her last fib about seeing dragons off the north coast, no one will believe her. Now she has to find some kind of proof that the volcanic threat is real.

(Or whatever makes sense for your character, her behavior, the stakes, and what she has to do in order to prove the threat real. I tried to use concrete examples like "put a frog down her High Priestess's back" as it's a lot more evocative than "Amber is mischievous" as it shows the type of mischief. It can also be useful to use words that sound like your/your protagonist's voice, like "the volcano is about to blow" vs. "the volcano is about to erupt" (depending on how she'd actually *talk*) as it gives a sense of voice.)
Enjoy Eidolon, my free to play game at: https://mutive.itch.io/eidolon or Minion! at: https://mutive.itch.io/minion

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Re: I'm currently playing around with the idea of a kinetic yuri VN and would appreciate opinions on my synopsis!

#3 Post by coreynj » Fri May 17, 2019 2:58 am

I didn't do a great job of explaining her premonition, but basically what I was going for is that from her perspective all she saw was a vague vision of a girl at the edge of a volcano, so it looked like she was going to fall or jump in.

Thanks for the input, I'll change it up and see what I like!

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Re: I'm currently playing around with the idea of a kinetic yuri VN and would appreciate opinions on my synopsis!

#4 Post by Autumnotopia » Sun May 19, 2019 10:10 pm

I think that your concept is good, but your synopsis may benefit a bit from thinking about what tone your novel would have. Sort of like Mutive said, finding a way to incorporate the MC's personality may help the reader know what they're in for (you tell us that she's fiery, but it's always good to show it too!). Similarly, you mention at the end that the story is centered around sacrifice and betrayal. Those are two very cool themes for a novel, and I think it'd work in your favor to weave them more strongly into your synopsis. You mention that Amber is in charge of predicting sacrifices, that definitely seems like a point of interest that you could emphasize more.

You have the whole KN to introduce the setting, but only one blurb to hook the reader. People don't tend to care as much about the fine details of where the story takes place or why it's happening (at least not first thing!), so try to hone in on the emotions you want them to feel and figure out a way to translate that into a bite sized dose.

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Re: I'm currently playing around with the idea of a kinetic yuri VN and would appreciate opinions on my synopsis!

#5 Post by coreynj » Wed May 22, 2019 2:28 am

Autumnotopia wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 10:10 pm
I think that your concept is good, but your synopsis may benefit a bit from thinking about what tone your novel would have. Sort of like Mutive said, finding a way to incorporate the MC's personality may help the reader know what they're in for (you tell us that she's fiery, but it's always good to show it too!). Similarly, you mention at the end that the story is centered around sacrifice and betrayal. Those are two very cool themes for a novel, and I think it'd work in your favor to weave them more strongly into your synopsis. You mention that Amber is in charge of predicting sacrifices, that definitely seems like a point of interest that you could emphasize more.

You have the whole KN to introduce the setting, but only one blurb to hook the reader. People don't tend to care as much about the fine details of where the story takes place or why it's happening (at least not first thing!), so try to hone in on the emotions you want them to feel and figure out a way to translate that into a bite sized dose.
Mutive wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:50 pm
My thoughts...

Ashfall has long since been forgotten by most of the world. A small, reclusive village at the base of the monstrous volcano Ishva, its blistering year-round heat makes it a treacherous place for even the most daring of visitors. But for the Ashen, their natural resistance renders the heat of their home ineffective.

You're using a lot of words here just to describe a place. I don't *dislike* geography, but it's not interesting to me the way people (and plots) are. I'd recommend starting with your protagonist and explaining her predicament.

Amber Bell is a young Ashen girl with a fiery attitude, and fiery-red hair to match. She is the first Ashen in 74 years to be born with the Mark of the Flame, a birthmark signifying that the High Priestess, keeper of Ishva, will soon be passing the torch unto her. High Priestesses are capable of premonition, and through proper utilization of their abilities can predict what kind of sacrifices are necessary to maintain volcanic stasis.

It's great that you've moved onto the protagonist! But a lot of this stuff isn't really relevant until you get to the problem Amber is facing...(which to be honest I'm still not 100% clear on). I'm probably not going to play a VN because the character has fiery hair, for instance, or that the character is special. (Most tend to be, right?) I'm more inclined to play it because of some aspect of the character's personality. (Which tends to be best expressed in how she uniquely solves the problems presented to her.)

Disaster strikes while Amber is being mentored by the current High Priestess. She receives a premonition of a girl at the edge of the volcano, and fearing the worst, Amber makes the trek up Ishva to its peak. Peering over the edge, Amber’s eyes lock onto a girl floating mere inches above the lava. The girl introduces herself as Fia, a goddess that has lain dormant inside the volcano for thousands of years.

I'm not sure how disaster strikes here. She receives a premonition and sees a girl. I'm guessing this means that the volcano is going to blow, but honestly am not certain. It also takes a *long* time to get here.

From The Ashes is a tragic story about betrayal, sacrifice, and the lengths a person will go to for true love.

Show, not tell.

A way to revise this (to show more personality) might be something like:

Amber is about to put a frog down her High Priestess' back when she sees a vision in the sacred flame. It warns her that the volcano she lives on is about to blow and turn her - and everyone she knows - into human-ka-bobs. Amber tells everyone she knows about this premonition, but after her last fib about seeing dragons off the north coast, no one will believe her. Now she has to find some kind of proof that the volcanic threat is real.

(Or whatever makes sense for your character, her behavior, the stakes, and what she has to do in order to prove the threat real. I tried to use concrete examples like "put a frog down her High Priestess's back" as it's a lot more evocative than "Amber is mischievous" as it shows the type of mischief. It can also be useful to use words that sound like your/your protagonist's voice, like "the volcano is about to blow" vs. "the volcano is about to erupt" (depending on how she'd actually *talk*) as it gives a sense of voice.)
I took what you guys said, and I scrapped my previous synopsis entirely, only re-using some key elements. It's quite a bit longer than the previous one, but I feels like it captures the reader's attention a lot better than the last one did. My only issue with it is that I feel like I made it a little too long. What do you guys think?
“I have to save her.”

That was the only thought racing through Amber Bell’s mind as she made the treacherous climb up Ishva, a dormant super volcano that served as the centerpiece of her reclusive village, Ashfall.

Awakening in the Cathedral, Amber had started the morning like any other, brainstorming ways she could prank her mentor, Iris. Perhaps she would slip marshmallows in her morning cup of joe. Iris preferred it black, after all. Iris is the current High Priestess of Ashfall, a role passed on through generations. They have the ability of premonition and use their abilities to predict the volcanic sacrifices necessary to keep Ishva dormant, else risking the total annihilation of everything within a hundred-mile radius. Amber is destined to carry the torch, and has been training for this role since she could walk. She finally mastered her abilities enough to make out vague premonitions, albeit only ones in the immediate future.

Amber’s current situation arose during her daily premonition exercises. Normally, her premonitions wouldn’t be of much use, but this premonition was another story. It showed a girl engulfed in flames, surrounded by a pit of lava. Amber jumps out of her seat, much to Iris’ protests, and rushes out of the classroom without enough time to explain. She reaches the peak in about twelve minutes, a new record for her, completely out of breath. Her gaze darts sporadically in every direction until it lands on something in the center of the volcano. A young girl, dressed in clothing made of flames, hovering mere inches above the pool. Noticing her presence, the girl makes her way over to Amber and introduces herself as Fia, a goddess that lay dormant in the volcano for thousands of years. She cuts her introduction short with one ominous sentence.

“Amber, Ashfall is in great peril.”

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Re: I'm currently playing around with the idea of a kinetic yuri VN and would appreciate opinions on my synopsis!

#6 Post by Mutive » Wed May 22, 2019 4:49 pm

I think this is a *huge* improvement! Congratulations. :)

That was the only thought racing through Amber Bell’s mind as she made the treacherous climb up Ishva, a dormant super volcano that served as the centerpiece of her reclusive village, Ashfall.
A quibble, but often synopses are done in the present tense. (I don't think it's a big deal either way, but it might be worth trying out present as well as past to see if you like one better.)
Perhaps she would slip marshmallows in her morning cup of joe.
This sounds very modern. If that's the goal (e.g. this is science fantasy or it's humorous or whatever), this might be the voice you want to use. But I find it a touch jarring to see "cup of joe" with what I'm envisioning this story as (something that's more high fantasy?) Again, I could be wrong...
Iris is the current High Priestess of Ashfall, a role passed on through generations. They have the ability of premonition and use their abilities to predict the volcanic sacrifices necessary to keep Ishva dormant, else risking the total annihilation of everything within a hundred-mile radius. Amber is destined to carry the torch, and has been training for this role since she could walk. She finally mastered her abilities enough to make out vague premonitions, albeit only ones in the immediate future.
This is super serious compared to the more light hearted bit above.

I think ultimately that you *want* the mix, but I find the shift from one to the next to be a bit odd maybe? (You might be able to trim this down quite a bit by saying something like, "Awakening in the Cathedral, Amber had started the morning like any other, brainstorming ways she could prank her mentor, Iris. Perhaps she would slip marshmallows in her morning cup of joe. But then as she settled into her morning premonition exercise, instead of trying to shake her legs to keep them from falling asleep without being yelled at, she saw a girl engulfed in flames, surrounded by a pit of lava."

That would get rid of some of the words + exposition. (And I'm not sure you need to explain the priestesses, seeing as you've already explained that they have premonitions and live somewhere volcanic.)
Amber jumps out of her seat, much to Iris’ protests, and rushes out of the classroom without enough time to explain. She reaches the peak in about twelve minutes, a new record for her, completely out of breath. Her gaze darts sporadically in every direction until it lands on something in the center of the volcano. A young girl, dressed in clothing made of flames, hovering mere inches above the pool. Noticing her presence, the girl makes her way over to Amber and introduces herself as Fia, a goddess that lay dormant in the volcano for thousands of years. She cuts her introduction short with one ominous sentence.

“Amber, Ashfall is in great peril.”
I really like this. It paints a super clear image and gives me a clear rallying cry.
Enjoy Eidolon, my free to play game at: https://mutive.itch.io/eidolon or Minion! at: https://mutive.itch.io/minion

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Re: I'm currently playing around with the idea of a kinetic yuri VN and would appreciate opinions on my synopsis!

#7 Post by coreynj » Wed May 22, 2019 10:31 pm

I'm glad that you like this one so much more! And yeah, it definitely still needs some more work, but overall it's a vast improvement. Thanks for your kind words!

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