I reworked the synopsis of ‘The Angel’ based on the feedback I’d received.
Probably the biggest change was that I gave James and Emma a different backstory that changed the start of the novel — I married them — unhappily of course as there wouldn’t be much of a novel otherwise. Actually, in terms of a catalyst for action, he doesn’t actually fully realise that he is unhappy until the relationship develops with Kim. Emma will have some good qualities but I think theirs will be one of those functional sort of relationships that people drift into, ready to be shocked out of them at some point.
Because James will be newly married then his relationship with Kim will need to start more gradually — and this will hopefully give her decision to run the pub with him some more plausibility. She’ll need to be running from something in London, however, as much as being attracted to the countryside. James and Kim can still go on their massive bender round London — that’s a slightly environmentally friendly approach as I’ve already written something very similar for an OU course (albeit as a screenplay). It should be good for location and setting, though.
Most of the middle of the synopsis has stayed the same butÂ Kim’s storyÂ follows a simpler narrative arc — she arrives, settles in eventually, deals with some crises which eventually lead her to move away again — and at the end the big question is ‘does she come back again?’ She does undergo some change, however — a development of calm and spirituality.
I’ve cut some of the ending of the previous synopsis — the bit about the abortion and so on. It was a bit too rushed to properly do justice to in the synopsis and I need to think whether it’s appropriate in the light of the other changes. The way the synopsis now reads, she could be motivated to leave by the fire.
One thing that’s not in the synopsis that I’ve been considering is making Kim even more of an outsider by having her as a non-white character. IÂ think it would makeÂ a negligible difference to the plot –Â but it mightÂ give the outsider theme some more resonance. It would also be a challenge to write — and a potential minefield.Â However, I’ll carry on considering this as it’s not something I’d want to take over the novel.
I kept the locations at the end in (Tate Modern and Millennium Bridge) mainly to give some sort of sense of location.Â In practice I may well go for something more original — or perhaps subvert expectations by having them set-up to meet on the Millennium Bridge but things don’t go to plan and they are reconciled somewhere else — the skateboard park under Waterloo Bridge perhaps?
I created a spreadsheet based on Emily’s list of questions/attributes for characters. I still need to properly fill it in but it made me realise another flaw in my synopsis — I don’t seem to have enough characters. I can see this might have been a reason behind some of the feedback. There’s really only two who play a role all the way through — James and Kim. If you don’t like them then you’re not going to like the book. I have Emma and her predatory father as additional characters in the synopsis but I think I need a couple moreÂ significant characters.
So I’ve simplified my original ideas but I think I need some new ones for the actual novel. The synopsis itself is much improved, however. Here’s the version I handed into Emily.The Angel Revised Synopsis v4 — Distributed Dec 09