An Uncapped Pen

April 16, 2008

Casual Duty – A Synospis (Revised 4/15/08)

Filed under: Writing — cindylv @ 2:06 am

Thank you to the eleven fans(?) who provided comments for revision. Here is round 2. I like this version much better, but I have a couple of questions.

1. Two people pointed out that “mortally wounded” means fatal. My dictionary offer “terribly, gravely, seriously, grievously” as alternates to “mortally”. My character doesn’t die. He’s seriously wounded, and I like the “seriousness” of “mortally”, but I don’t want to be too confusing in my synopsis.  Does “mortally” mean “fatally?”

2. I think the synopsis flows better when I start with Jackson’s character description, but BRIDIE is my main character. Do I need to start with my POV/Main character, or do you think it’s okay to start with JACKSON. OR, do you think it DOESN’T read better by starting with JACKSON?

Thanks again for your help! And please, no apologies for picking nits.

Every comment helps!


Staff Sergeant TOM JACKSON wants nothing more than to return to his Special Forces unit before his team deploys to South America on a secret drug interdiction mission. But first, he must complete his temporary assignment for the first annual Desert Warfare Training Exercise at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. When he discovers his support team consists of a band of inexperienced recruits, his mission appears doomed to fail.

Two days earlier at her Basic Training graduation ceremony, Private BRIDIE TRAYNOR (POV) stood with her classmates confident and ready to take on an entire Soviet Infantry Division armed with her M16 and a bayonet. Enroute to her new assignment at the Intelligence Center, BRIDIE finds herself tangled up in a hostage situation, where she must outwit the gunmen and rescue two civilians. When she eventually arrives for her training class, she finds herself crosswise with her new Platoon Sergeant who has reassigned her to JACKSON’s Advance Team. Despite the conflict that arises between them, BRIDIE finds herself irresistibly attracted to the ruggedly handsome Staff Sergeant JACKSON. Can she prove her worth as part of the team and earn JACKSON’s respect or more?

During her first foray into the desert, BRIDIE finds herself lost, injured and scared. She catches a glimpse of illegal aliens being herded across the river by their guides, the Coyotes. Frustrated when no one believes her story, BRIDIE takes on the mission to prove that not only is she telling the truth, but also to find out which of her new friends she can trust and which one has betrayed the team.

Just days before the Exercise begins, Staff Sergeant JACKSON discovers the enemy’s command post and is mortally wounded. Will BRIDIE conquer her self-doubts and put her new skills to use to capture the traitor and rescue Staff Sergeant JACKSON before it’s too late?



  1. OK, I concede. I’ll change “mortally” to something less fatal. Thank you to all who provided help, advice and other support!

    Comment by cindylv — April 17, 2008 @ 8:02 pm | Reply

  2. I like you starting with Staff Sargent Jackson. :-)

    Oh, and better late then never, I also vote for mortally to mean that the person dies. Gravely wounded or critically wounded, might be more what you are looking for.

    Comment by angel — April 17, 2008 @ 11:40 pm | Reply

  3. I’m sorry for being “MIA” for so long! I think you’re doing the right thing by not using “mortally wounded”. I always assume that means fatally wounded too.

    I think this is really well written, but I think it was better when you started off with Bridie. If I didn’t know better, I’d assume that whichever character you started out the synopsis talking about would be the MC.

    With regard to the timeframe, you may want to add something in addition to the Soviet reference to more firmly establish when this story happens. You may even want to say what year it is.

    Forgive me for being away so long! I am going to read the chapters I missed right now.

    Comment by Lisa Kenney — April 23, 2008 @ 5:38 am | Reply

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