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First Chapters

Source: Adults

Author: Hugh Hazelton

Title: AMENDED SYNOPSIS FOR: Irregular Heartbeats.

This is an amended version of FC synopsis 6011. Please read in conjunction with note appended 3/3/09 to synopsis FC 6011.


BOOK TITLE: Irregular Heartbeats.

SUB-TITLE: Twelve Tales of Unusual Amour.

PROPOSAL: A collection of twelve short stories under the umbrella topic of unusual, unlikely, or out of the ordinary amorous relationships, their consequences for the disparate individuals involved in them, and their wider effect upon others. Unusual by virtue of the individuals involved, settings, times, places, circumstances, plots and imagination.

PURPOSE: To produce - as a hitherto 'unknown writer' - the most commercially viable product that it is possible to do from that status. To that end I believe that in the fiction market a collection of short stories is the way to initially go. Specifically, a collection of short stories on this particular topic would be very well suited to the on-line retail market (i.e. Amazon etc.) as casual gifts - Valentine's, birthday, love tokens etc., and also especially suitable for the on-line Christmas 'stocking filler' market. This book is designed to be aimed at the widest possible potentially purchasing readership - particularly including on-line purchasers - from the outset.

COMMERCIAL CONSIDERATIONS ASIDE WHY A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES? I believe that single author 'collected short stories' are now making a big come back in reading tastes. People lead busier than ever lives these days, and often like to dip in at lunchtimes, last thing at night, etc. Witness the vast resurgence of short story publication and appreciation on the Internet over the past half decade - as exemplified by Writebuzz and its lesser rivals! And also a short story collection offers a good variety and choice to the reader, and is probably therefore the best genre for an unknown fiction author to go for because potential readers/purchasers are more likely to take a chance on there being something that they (or the someone they are buying for) will like within a varied collection.

WHY CHOOSE THIS TOPIC? Relationships with other human beings are fundamental to life. 'One on one' relationships involving Love - with the principle sub-divisions of Lust, Romantic Love, and Attachment - hold interest to virtually all people of both genders. Celebrity scandals sell print! In the make believe world of the popular T.V. soap operas, and in printed fiction format such as Mills and Boon, many popular magazines, etc., love and loving relationships feature prominently. It is a topic that should appeal to, and can therefore be pitched at, a very large potential readership.

SO WHAT WILL MAKE THIS BOOK STAND OUT? This collection - as previously stated - will be concerned with the unusual, the unlikely, and the unexpected. Viewing the chosen topic 'outside of the box' is maybe one way of describing it!

THE STORIES: Most importantly this collection is not a literary work. The stories will be written to the highest possible quality throughout, but they will be simply and straightforwardly presented in all cases. The aim of Irregular Heartbeats is not to show the world what a clever writer its author is, but to be a viable work of published new author fiction which will entertain and please, and not disappoint nor confound, its readers.

Each story is individually different and distinct from all the others. Differing lengths are employed, and that is intentional. Within the stated umbrella topic themes are varied. Five of the twelve have essentially 'happy' endings. Three definitely do not. The other four end neutrally. Character driven plots are employed throughout, and there is a mixture of male and female viewpoint characters.

Sex will feature in most of the stories to varying degrees (in 'Kissing Miss St. Lucia' prominently). However the subject will be handled with careful forethought at all times. The targeted readership age range of the collection is between late teenage to elders, and the stories and their contents will in all respects be tailored to suit. Not coy, but this will not be a soft porn work either. It is intended that it should give enjoyment, and possibly in four of the twelve stories mild titillation, but certainly not come close to offending reasonable good taste. Nothing graphic therefore!

Specific violence features in one story (in 'The Lodger, the Wrestler, Her Mum, and the Tonypandy Cupboard') but within the controlled setting of an old fashioned British free-style wrestling ring at a funfair. There are a few other passing references, but again nothing graphic.

There will be no useage of gratuitous swearing. Strong swearing is employed twice (both times in 'Kissing Miss St. Lucia') when the character's situation reasonably justifies it in pursuit of realistic dialog. A few other mild terms appear in a some of the other stories.

In all cases too the characters - although unusual - are to be made believable. Likewise the unusual situations in which they may find themselves will always maintain a reasonable level of credibility and not become so outlandish as to loose the reader's interest. The first eleven stories all have real world settings, albeit in three cases not in the present time. The final story is a science fiction piece which fits in with the overall theme perfectly, but additionally 'moves the topic on' as the final tale in the book.

In order, commencing with the first, the proposed stories and their approximate word counts are as follows: A brief individual synopsis - more of a 'teaser' given present word count considerations - of each is also given.

TIPPING POINT: (5,000 words.) Sitting together in a car outside the staff entrance of a seedy city nightclub a life hardened lap dancer well past her prime spars about life, lust, love, and the future with her much younger middle class boyfriend. That she has serious doubts about the viability of their relationship she makes clear: He however feels differently and does his utmost to convince her of his sincerity. They have reached the point where their relationship is going to tip one way or the other - either become a lot stronger, or end. (Gritty, vicariously sensual, strongly character driven, contains conversational 'back story' insights into the circumstances of their first meeting, and their current life situations etc., and ends with a firm plot resolution.)

JENTY GIRL SMITH v. ALAN: (4,600 words.) After a disastrous date in a village pub a young man chances upon a female gypsy pugilist at the bar who four years previously in school mashed his face. Despite his misgivings he feels it is necessary that he makes himself known to her and remind her of her previous, unacceptable, violent conduct. They begin to talk. And their second encounter ultimately has a surprising outcome, and not only, as he discovers, for himself. (Quirky, 'feel good', additional secondary plot twist at the very end.)

THE SUMERIAN WOMAN: (2,500 + words.) Set in Palestine in September 1918 during the final chaotic retreat into Syria of the Ottoman Turkish forces fighting British and Arabs there, a deserting Turkish military intelligence officer, Suleiman Bey, determines to take a Sumerian woman, Samira, into Persia with him. However, when he arrives at the remote and evacuated army detention camp where he left her he finds evidence of recent activity. And maybe Samira has not been his willing companion over the past five years at all? Maybe despite Suleiman's firm view of their relationship the reality for Samira is altogether more sinister? (This is the most elliptical story in the collection. Tense, set in an unusual historical context, and ultimately very hard hitting. Requires some degree of reader thinking to successfully comprehend its full meaning.)

BANGALORE BELLE: (5,500 words.) In the newly independent State of India in 1949 a young Englishman with a school boy love of steam trains is made the unwitting victim of a cruel practical joke. But its consequences, involving narrow gauge trains, a beautiful young Bengali prostitute, and two adoring grandfathers - one Indian and the other deceased British - are far reaching and certainly unexpected. (Subtly humorous, main plot twist at end, evocative, strong 'feel good' factor. Thought given to putting two historical stories together, but this one is the complete antithesis of that which precedes it.)

KISSING MISS ST. LUCIA: (10,500 + words.) Set in south-east London. Discharged from hospital following a violent car jacking of which he has no clear memory, naïve white student Jamie finds himself drawn into a very sexy affair with his entrancing black neighbour Jodi - a former nurse several years his senior, a single parent, and an all round larger than life character. But why has this unexpected turn of events suddenly come about, where will it lead, and what lies at the heart of the vaguely menacing world which Jodi and her ill assorted group of relatives and associates appear to inhabit? And what is young Jamie to do when the answer to that question is eventually unraveled? (Very Sensual - 'Little rich white boy' Jamie enjoys some serious in bed action at the hands of 'hot hot' ex-Caribbean carnival queen Jodi, including 'making love St. Lucian style' ...! - also gritty, developmental and revelatory plot, with a major key character test point coming at the very end.)

IRREGULAR HEARTBEATS: (3,100 words.) On the eve of its first anniversary a not long before widowed lady contemplates her on-going affair with a younger man, and tries to find an answer to a soul wrenching dilemma. Can she move on from the overwhelming sense of attachment which she reluctantly recognises she still feels toward her late husband? Should she take the chance of second happiness with her altogether more vibrant young lover? (Key character narrative, explores class division as well as age difference, explores the difficulties of 'letting go' following bereavement.)

AWAKENING!: (7,000 words.) Set in the English Lake District. A vivacious young woman sets out to climb her first mountain, and the events which unfold upon its slopes both test her character in various ways, then go on to lead her to make her choice between two distinctly different suitors. (Idealistic, romantic, key character testing, very 'feel good'. Pitched to some extent at the teenaged or younger adult readership. Emotional rites of passage. No sex. Firm plot resolution at the end.)

THE FINAL FANTASY OF SID THE THREE WHEELER MAN: (5,500 words.) In the very final moments of his life a well intentioned old man learns a hard lesson over the reality of a relationship he's completely misconstrued. (Partially told in reminiscence. Brings together three contrasting individuals plus a small dog which is plot relevant, explores the innocence of the very old, and the co-incidental if unintentional cruelty of the young. Twin on-going plots which make a complete switch-about - i.e. secondary plot line and viewpoints becomes primary and vice-versa - part way through.)

ONE SUMMER'S NIGHT: (1,100 words.) A boy and a girl take a moonlit walk together, and for a few hours enter a magical kingdom of their own imaginative creation. (Ethereal, dreamlike, very 'feel good'. Occupying ninth position this is very much the counterpoint to story number eleven, 'Remembrance', which is still to come. Closely based on an actual event.)

THE LODGER, THE WRESTLER, HER MUM, AND THE TONYPANDY CUPBOARD: (12,500 + words.) Set in southern England, mostly in the summer of 1971. Viewpoint character is Roger, landlord to recently moved in lodger Chris. Main part of story occupies a single memorable afternoon. Chris is very much taken with Amy, but Amy is completely off men following one too many bad experiences. Moreover, Amy is a 6' 3” and formidably strong and skilled young lady wrestler, currently beating all comers in a wrestling booth operating at a travelling funfair close by! Called to fetch Chris home after he has rashly stepped up to fight Amy in the ring in the hope of convincing her of the truth of his declared feelings toward her, Roger gets to meet Amy's engagingly eccentric mother Mae, who also happens to urgently require a very special piece of antique furniture collecting from across town. Roger is destined to remember this particular half day for the rest of his life! The final part of the story, which is set in present times, becomes a first person narrative by Roger, who has unexpectedly discovered a little of what subsequently became of Chris and Amy, neither of whom he has seen since that long ago eventful day. (Evocative of a past age, subtly humorous but not overtly so, fast paced action, enjoyable in their own right characters, has a feel good factor but also tinged with a degree of regret. Ultimately focuses on romantic love being born out of the most unlikely of situations. Plot resolution comes via the third party coda at the end.)

REMEMBRANCE: (1,100 words.) A disabled woman reflects upon a life chance lost and excessive parental love. (Sad in a doubly regretful sense. Explores a long passed conflict between romantic love on the one hand, and parental concern and mother-daughter attachment on the other.)

AN AFTERNOON WITH TONDA: (6,250 words.) In a far distant galaxy in the far distant future the most junior member of an Earth trade mission to Planet Aeralia - Samis - disregards all advice and entreaties to the contrary, and continues to pursue his pleasurable affair with a spectacular, but also very calculating female Aeralian guard officer, Tonda. Unbeknown to the love and lust blinded Samis however, Tonda is very much following her own agenda. The consequences of their actions when they become dramatically revealed to Samis are as unprecedented as they are irreversible, not only for Samis himself, but potentially too for the greater Universe. (Space opera, cautionary tale, escapist fun reading, as the final story in the collection it moves the topic onward in time.)

STATISTICS: After editing and general honing down the final word count should be c. 62,000 words. Several of these story titles have previously been published on Writebuzz. However, all are to be completely re-written and in most cases (hopefully!) significantly improved from their present forms. The 'First Chapter' - i.e. the first 3,000 words of 'Tipping Point' - will be posted on this thread as soon as ready. All stories are the unique work of Hugh Hazelton, and none has been previously published anywhere other than on Writebuzz.

The inclusion of a brief introduction could also feature if any fine tuning of the word count were to be necessary.

Very many thanks for reading! And if you'd like to leave a review ... please do ...! :-)

(Complete version of 'Tipping Point', when ready, will be posted on the Work in Progress channel.)

Published on writebuzz®: Adults > First Chapters

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