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Author Topic: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?  (Read 2886 times)

ryubyss

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the script submissions make it clear how to format a 2000 AD script. but I've seen no examples of the one page synopsis meant to accompany the script. does anyone know?

Lobo Baggins

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #1 on: 12 September, 2016, 10:38:22 am »
I've never seen a Future Shock synopsis either, but the trade paperback of Durham Red: The Vermin Stars has Dan Abnett's original pitch for the storyline to Bish-OP - and that's double-spaced.

Good luck!  I generally grind to a halt when attempting to write a synopsis, as it usually makes it look like my four page script is about seven panels worth of story, which in turn makes me realise I could probably tell the story in seven panels...
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ryubyss

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #2 on: 13 September, 2016, 12:22:18 am »
you know, thanks for that!

also, I recognize your icon picture. Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons. I would recognize a Target novelization cover anywhere.

Starkers

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #3 on: 16 September, 2016, 09:51:54 am »
Mine are always single spaced, and whilst I've never had a shock accepted I've had enough feedback on occasion to suggest a single spaced synopsis hasn't put them off looking at the script itself.

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #4 on: 16 September, 2016, 11:08:27 am »
I would've said for a four page future shock you should be able to get the entire synopsis in a paragraph.
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JohnOsborn

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #5 on: 18 September, 2016, 01:07:41 pm »
What I always do is put a brief note at the top ("to whom it may concern") thanking the editors for considering my work and hoping they enjoy it. Alec Worley recommended this in a recorded con panel you can listen to on his blog.

Then, I write out a single-spaced synopsis, typically one big paragraph for each page. I think that helps give an immediate sense of structure and rhythm. David Baillie has a couple of pitches on his blog, if you fancy a look.

After that, I stick my name and contact details at the bottom. Hopefully one day I'll be getting the good news of an acceptance. Hopefully!

Alec Worley

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #6 on: 19 September, 2016, 11:34:42 pm »
Wotcha! I haven’t got any Future Shocks synopses that aren’t terrible, but I’ve got a few other bits of a similar page-count to hand if that’ll help. Hang on…

Here's a Terror Tale I did with Tom Foster and Ellie De Ville in Prog 1886. Now bear in mind, I know the editor so I'm probably a bit more casual and flowery in writing this than I would be if I were approaching him for the first time. So I'd probably recommend being a bit more concise and formal than this. That said, I always tend towards the thorough with synopses as I like to know the story mechanics actually work and the editor isn't going to misunderstand some crucial cog in the clockwork of the thing...

PITCH – TERROR TALE: DONE DEAL
‘Done Deal’ is intended as a low-key, realistic urban horror story with loads of atmosphere and a high creep-factor; no flashy monsters or gothic gimcrack. Like the Terror Tales we did with Warren Pleece and Ben Willsher, and the ghost story 3riller with Mike Dowling.

We open on a crucifix on the bedside in a hospice, where 20-year-old Tia is visiting her mother, who is in a coma following a recent car accident. Her 17-year-old brother Kieron left his phone behind when he went to the bathroom. The phone bleeps and Tia reads a direct message from someone on Twitter called ‘Nick’.

“Done deal,” the message reads. “Will collect tonight.”

Tia tries to contain her anger; a message from one of Kieron’s dealer mates, she presumes. She quickly puts down the phone as Kieron returns and reads the message himself. Her brother’s face turns deathly pale. Tia thinks, what has he got himself involved in this time? She watches as he hugs their comatose mother especially hard, tears streaming down his face.

As the siblings walk home through the estate where they live, Tia finally breaks her silence and bawls him out. Their mother’s life-support will be turned off in two days’ time and Tia believes Kieron is again in trouble with a dealer on the estate. Kieron denies any such thing, and Tia reveals that she read the message on his phone. “What kind of lowlife are you bringing to our door this time?” she says. Kieron says nothing. (You’re not dealing but you come home with £200 trainers.) As Tia’s rant intensifies, we learn that she has had to drop out of her hard-won place at university and get a full-time job so they can afford to stay in their flat. She says unless Kieron wants to wind up in prison, he needs to face up to the impending loss of their mother. “Spend your life wisely, Kieron,” says Tia. “How many times has Mum told you that?” Kieron throws his arms around his sister and tells her to trust him. He’s going to solve all their problems.

That evening, Kieron stays in his room and refuses to come out, while Tia looks out the window for anyone hanging around outside their flat. Having locked the front door, she’s Skyping her friend, who’s trying on clothes for a party (Tia thinks they’re alone; girl thinks Kieron is in the corner.) Skype girl asks what Kieron thinks. Tia tells her he’s in the other room. Well, who’s the hell’s that sat in the corner playing with his phone? Cut to scream from room next door…

Tia rushes into her brother’s room to find only his smoking trainers. His discarded phone rings nearby. It’s another Twitter message from ‘Nick’. This one reads “Transaction complete”. She checks the sender’s profile picture: a horned silhouette with eyes that glow like those of a cat. Nick’s profile strapline reads simply “A man of wealth and taste”.

Tia stares at the phone for several minutes, trying to comprehend what just happened. Her own phone rings, startling her. It’s one of the doctors from the hospice. Tia’s mother has not only fully awoken from her coma and is walking about, but her irreparably fractured skull has somehow healed itself!

“I don’t know how else to describe it,” stammers the doctor. “It’s a miracle!” Tia listens as brimstone-smelling steam curls from the floorboards beneath the bed.


[end]


Then there's a Dredd six-pager I did with Leigh Gallagher, Chris Blythe and Annie Parkhouse in Prog 1911. Probably not a great example, but might give you some idea of how to describe the overall story without going into too much detail and give a visual sense of how it's going to play on the page...

DREDD PITCH
Six-pager for the Prog; title TBC

Supercool bank robber Danni Pond addresses elderly passengers on a tour-bus, calmly threatening to murder them one-by-one unless they explain what’s going on. He’s just evaded the Judges following a successful heist and is carrying a gym-bag full of stolen diamonds. But the bus has missed the turning towards a nearby airfield and is now heading back into town. There’s no driver; the vehicle appears to be fully automated. What kind of coach party is this anyway…? The eldsters ignore Danni’s threats, too busy gawping at the Mega-City landmarks passing by. Danni brandishes his gun at an old lady, who opens her huge handbag and offers him a boiled sweet. Danni receives a text: ‘Where RU, baby? Pilot sez U got 10 mins!’

Meanwhile, Dredd is outside the posh jewellery store that Danni just robbed; Dredd is tending a mortally wounded Judge. Before he expires, the wounded Judge manages to give Dredd a description of Danni. “This Pond guy’s a pro,” says another Judge on the scene. “He’s probably on a jet to Brit-Cit right now.” Just then the tour-bus slowly passes in front of Dredd, who sees his suspect on board, desperately tugging at the emergency exit! Danni pauses and stares back at Dredd in disbelief. Dredd gives chase while the other Judge is still talking.

We’re now on the Sandra Bullock Overzoom and the bus is ignoring Dredd’s command to pull over. Danni goes to grab another, larger old lady, about to put his gun to her head and warn Dredd to back-off. Before Dredd can respond, the old lady grabs Danni’s arm and hurls him to the floor, informing him that she spent 50 years as a teacher in one of the Meg’s toughest kindergartens! Dredd accelerates, preparing to board the bus before the suspect can recover. Danni goes to grab his gun back off the old lady who confiscated it, but accidentally discharges the weapon…

The bullet hits an oxygen tank attached to an old man’s wheelchair. The escaping gas propels the wheelchair down the aisle, smashing it through the bus’s back door and forcing Dredd to leap onto another speeding vehicle as the wheelchair crashes down on top of his Lawmaster! The Lawmaster continues on its way with the wheelchair lodged on top; its occupant asleep the whole time!

Clinging to the hood of the speeding car, Dredd informs the driver that he’s commandeering his vehicle; he also books the guy for having an out-of-date tax disc! The zoomway forks, separating Dredd and the bus as Control tells Dredd that there’s something he ought to know about the vehicle he’s pursuing… Back aboard the bus, Danni sees it’s heading towards a bubbling chem-pit as the bus’s automation system thanks the eldsters for choosing Lemmington’s Euthanasia Services! He shoves aside the nice old lady who offered him a sweet and grabs his bag before leaping out of the now-open back door, just as the bus takes a nose dive!

Danni breathes a sigh of relief; if he carjacks a fast ride he can still make it to the airfield in time. He grabs his bag, then notices something… Dredd arrives to find the bank robber kneeling in defeat before the open bag. Dredd strides over, Lawgiver drawn, pronouncing his judgement and asking Danni if he has anything to say in his defence… Exhausted by his ordeal, Danni offers Dredd a boiled sweet from the old lady’s handbag – which he grabbed by mistake! The pair watch the rear of the bus dissolve into the chem-pit…


[end]

I think if you find yourself writing more than a page then you've probably got too much material, which you'll need to cut when it comes to actually scripting the thing. So, rule of thumb, if you find you simply can't boil it - that there's too many scenes, characters and exposition going on - then the idea's probably too big and you might want to rethink.

Right, I'm off to bed. Hope this helps. BTW, the 'get in touch' note to the artist is something I put on the script itself not the synopsis or cover letter.
Cheers, all
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IAMTHESYSTEM

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #7 on: 20 September, 2016, 09:33:32 am »
There you go good advice from a Script Droid. I'm off to re write everything I've ever written now ! 
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Starkers

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #8 on: 20 September, 2016, 01:04:00 pm »
I remember that Terror Tale!  :P

Thanks Alec, that reassures me that I'm not doing anything too out there with my synopsises! 

Lobo Baggins

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #9 on: 20 September, 2016, 04:05:45 pm »
Thanks, Alec - that's really useful!
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ryubyss

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #10 on: 20 September, 2016, 07:15:51 pm »
I would've said for a four page future shock you should be able to get the entire synopsis in a paragraph.

hoo boy... thanks for that. I find it tough to compress a story down into synopsis form without leaving out the details which make it different and not generic. (not that I have a generic premise, I mean just in general.)

ryubyss

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #11 on: 20 September, 2016, 07:17:55 pm »
Mine are always single spaced, and whilst I've never had a shock accepted I've had enough feedback on occasion to suggest a single spaced synopsis hasn't put them off looking at the script itself.

happy to know that they give feedback. I have submitted prose short fiction and know to expect usually nothing accept the notice of rejection and sometimes a request to send something else. but nothing in the way of suggestions for improvement.

ryubyss

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #12 on: 20 September, 2016, 07:20:34 pm »
thank you John and Alec. I wondered if I should also include a cover letter as a means to brag about inform them of my previous comics credits.

ryubyss

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #13 on: 20 September, 2016, 07:47:20 pm »
David Baillie's "Future Shocks" synopses.

http://www.davidbaillie.net/blog/

ryubyss

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Re: "Future Shocks" submission synopsis -- single- or double-spaced?
« Reply #14 on: 20 September, 2016, 08:00:19 pm »
I can't, for some reason, go back and edit my previous post, so ignore the previous URL. go to davidbaillie.net and click on "Words". you'll find the synopses there.