Well, the other day I was contacted by a newish blog-reader, Siena, who was having problems writing a synopsis. Pen2Publication is fully booked at the moment so I couldn't suggest she use my services there but it struck me that since this is "only" a synopsis and since she said nice things to me, I could, with her permission, put the synopsis up here and hand her over to you good people for your reactions. So, I have.
Now, this is not a game, but someone's writing life we have here, so there are some rules:
- Please respect Siena's work by making only genuine and constructive remarks.
- Respect her copyright.
- Siena is not presenting this as a finished draft: the whole point is that she doesn't know what is right or wrong about it. So, bear this in mind.
- Remember that this would form part of a standard UK submission, so it would be accompanied by a covering letter and the first three chapters as a sample.
- In your comment, please say something to indicate your experience, if any. For example, if you are an editor or a published author with some experience of the genre, please say so. If you have no special knowledge but are offering more amateur (but still very welcome) advice, say so. Just something that allows Siena to know where you are coming from, so that if, some of the remarks conflict, she can judge how to respond.
The Phantom Prince is about being young, famous and miserable – teenagers discovering themselves in the public eye, excess, escape an impossible love across the divide of the new ‘celebrity’ class.
Since Sophie’s sister made it as an actress, her world has been divided. At home, she is responsible for paying the bills and chasing down her father’s rent check, yet in another world her sister has been casted as the lead in The Phantom Prince alongside latest poster-boy Blake Edwards; star of the ‘Moonlight Saga’ films. The worlds cross when Sophie begins a summer placement at Pinewood Studios and falls for Blake, but her sister – not one to be outshone – is not happy and when her partying grows out of control, rumours on set threaten her career. Sophie must make a choice between family and love, and decide if that love is worth the sacrifice of her anonymity for ever.And here's the synopsis, which is what she's asking you about. It fits easily onto two sides of A4, by the way.
At 17, Sophie Heaton’s most notable achievement is being the sister of Lydia Lowe - a bona-fide A list actress and her biggest worry is how to pay the bills; having a famous sister doesn’t mean that normal problems just end. When Sophie goes to see her sister at Pinewood Studios, it isn’t to get a taste of celebrity life (though she is intrigued by her sister’s world secret world); her father’s rent cheque is weeks later, and her mother - who had never got over the divorce, spends a good part of her day in bed- aided by her bottle of sleeping pills.
It wasn’t like she expected Lydia to make everything better, empathy wasn’t exactly her forte (not when it wasn’t scripted anyway) and Sophie was used to taking care of things on her own. Her sister had moved on, moved out of the family home, even changed her last name! So when she is met with her utter indifference, it doesn’t come as a surprise. Despite this, her journey isn’t wasted. Sophie is captivated by the world of film, and in particular Blake Edwards- a mysterious actor and star of the ‘Moonlight Saga’.
Blake has had little time to get used to fame, the press say he is the latest heartthrob, battalions of teenage fans think he is their dream guy, and the director considers him the best new acting talent since Johnny Depp; but alone in his luxurious Mayfair suite, he can’t remember what normal life feels like.
For Sophie, the situation at home reaches breaking point when her father admits that there will be no more cheques. She has no other option but to go back to Pinewood and beg her sister’s help. Lydia is more than forthcoming in offering it, and taking advantage of her sister’s good spirits, Sophie asks if she can stay and help out on set.
Finally, her life begins – sure, there are coffee runs and a lot of standing around, but she’s actually at Pinewood, there are no more bills to worry about and she’s found a friend! Amelia Brightside is the daughter of Kurt Brightside (deceased rock-star), Lilly Brightside who last she heard was still in rehab and step-daughter to the director. It is no wonder that at the end of a long week, Sophie finds herself at a loss with what to do on her day off. And OK, it isn’t exactly a co-incidence that she bumps into Blake Edwards at the National Portrait’s ‘Live Fast Die Young’ exhibition (she did kind of steal the flyer from his trailer, which might technically be kind of creepy, but its Blake Edwards for God’s sake!)
It is the simplest of boy-meets-girl stories. They got on, they had a lot in common and...Yes she was smitten but that’s normal, right? When you meet a boy you like? And with the filming moving from Pinewood to location in Dorset in a matter of days, she doesn’t have long. Sophie’s fantasy begins to unravel when she learns just how far removed their two worlds are at a cast party. She knew Blake was famous, but the press and the screaming fans were more than she’s been expecting. More worrying is the Issue of Lydia whose excess has begun to draw attention. As Amelia explains, everyone does drugs, it’s fine as long as no one knows, but people were beginning to talk. Then, her last hopes for happiness are shattered as Blake is snapped leaving the party with her sister. A phone-call from Blake the next morning explains the situation, but Sophie has little time to be relieved. Lydia is in trouble, Blake found her five sheets to the wind and whisked her away before tongues began to wag. He forces Sophie to face up to Lydia’s problem and the sisters talk frankly for the first time in years. Her head full of other worries, Sophie is surprised when she is asked to go to Dorset with the cast...to actually accompany Blake, as his assistant. It is obvious to both her and Amelia that the request could only have come from one person.
A long drive north brings them together and feelings are re-kindled as Sophie enjoys Blake’s growing attentions; but he is confusing and indecisive, suspecting that Sophie has fallen for the public image, rather than the real him. He pushed her away, and Sophie- used to being the plain sister - believes herself unworthy, something which isn’t helped by her discovery that it was Lydia and not Blake who requested her presence in Dorset.
The loss of Sophie- the only person in his who does not judge him, and his only link to the real world – effects Blake more than he expected and when he makes his feelings clear, it looks like Sophie can finally be happy, but Lydia has other plans. Her condition deteriorates and she finds herself at the same time reliant on her sister and envious of the attention she receives. Lydia convinces Blake that it would be in Sophie’s best interest to be kept away from the media attention, and agreeing with her, Blake leaves Sophie with little more than a note explaining that he is returning to London, alone.
Heartbroken, Sophie tries to piece her life back together, but when your first love is Blake Edwards, getting away isn’t easy. She takes to her bed, and when Lydia finds her with a handful of their mother’s pills, she finally begins to take responsibility for the situation she has brought about. With Lydia in charge, the mother is sent away to get better and Sophie takes comfort in a world of credit cards and designer dresses, but Lydia continues to party and rumours of her breakdown finally begin to affect her career.
The Phantom Prince is premiering in the West End and Lydia asks her sister to go as her date. She is confident that the new designer- clad Sophie is over Blake and sees no threat in the meeting, but she has underestimated the connection. Blake’s is confused when he sees Sophie in front of the cameras, he confronts her and she learns of Lydia’s part in the break-up. The lovers make a run for it, leaving the celebrity circus behind. Their exit down the red carpet is captured by a shower of flashing lights and no one notices that Lydia has stumbled out of the screening, determined to find her sister and explain. She finds a row of parked black cars, waiting to take the guests to the after-party. One of the cars is empty, keys still in the ignition and Lydia falls behind the wheel ; drunk. When Blake’s Porsche pulls up outside the Heaton house, Sophie immediately knows something is wrong, there isn’t usually that much traffic, and the police cars could mean anything, but she knows before she sees the wreck , that her sister is inside.
It has been almost a year since the accident. Sophie has moved to California with her mother to start a degree at UCLA. She hasn’t seen Blake since that night, well, aside from on TV. Sophie understands- she told him she needed to be alone and she thought he seemed relieved; being associated with the accident could bring negative PR. She’d caused him enough trouble. Amelia comes to visit, and Sophie arrives at the restaurant excited to see her friend. What she wasn’t expecting was Blake to be there too, his feelings for her, unchanged. Sophie and Blake decides to give it another go, a new start in a new city, but being on the arm of the hottest actor in town will undoubtedly bring new problems.Over to you - be kind! I hope to comment myself soon, but, as some of you know from Twitter, the mother of all house moves has begun...