Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Face-Lift 1277

Guess the Plot


1. Not really a manuscript. Nothing to see here. Move along.

2. Stage magician Harry "Whodunnit" must prove his assistant's live beheading was suicide, not murder, or his next escape act will be from death row.

3. Kate has her summer all planned out, until she's kidnapped by an organization of good magicians from another world. Then an evil band of magicians shows up, and it's up to Kate to thwart their diabolical plan to make human beings less creative.

4. When magician Kris Angle dies in an onstage stunt, it's considered an accident by Las Vegas PD. But LA homicide detective Zack Martinez was there, and he knows two things. One, a simple disappearing stunt shouldn't kill anyone, and two, 'Cirque de Soleil' puts out a better show anyway.

5. Life got you down? Truth hurts? Ask your doctor about Illusion (TM). Congressman Charlie Hahn has, and even though his fiance is cheating on him, his subordinates hate him, and he's five shades greyer and 15 pounds heavier than the guy being groomed to replace him, life is great. But what happens when he develops a tolerance for Illusion and his prescription runs out?

6. When Tom Bradley wakes up with a bloody knife in his hand and a dead clown in his bed, he's got a mess to clean up. But a witness comes forward and Detective Sophie Lamb is on the case. It's not the first time a hunky suspect claimed it was all an illusion. But will she fall for that again?

7. Debra Loughlin married too young. At least, that's her excuse why her husband is cheating, her kids hate her, and she just got fired from her job. But now she's got a plan. One evil magician, one deadly illusion, and her life will take a new turn.

8. Rupturio is a stage magician with a stage like no other, but when shapeshifting mobsters sieze his illusory platform and tweak it for their own nefarious purposes, rabbits gotta be pulled from hats. Big rabbits. Fluffy. Some of 'em babies.

9. Joey is a high functioning autistic savant. He sees things that aren't there, then shouts things these things at strangers. They all come true in some odd way. One day he tells a mob boss that he’s going fall to his death. Now Joey must run for his life because the boss’s henchmen try to kill Joey. Also voices in his head.

10. When Jonathan Holmes meets Cherry Lane, he projects his best possible image: Tall, dark, and handsome with just a touch of scoundrel. She buys it, of course, as have most women who've fallen under his magical spell. But when Jonathan realizes he actually loves her, he must decide whether to keep up the illusion, or reveal that he is, in fact, a troll. 

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

Sixteen-year-old Kate Stillwell has her summer organized into a tidy list of bullet points and subheaders—until she’s abducted by Idina, her best friend.

Kate is taken to the headquarters of the Celestian Guard, an organization of magicians from another world. While at the Guard, Kate learns that she is the daughter of a Celestian and a human, which gifts her with a rare form of magic: her words can become reality. [They can? Or they do? Anyone's words can become reality. For instance, a while ago I said I was going to publish this blog post. Hey, I'm a magician!] [Has she ever noticed that her words become reality? Or did she think it was a coincidence that even her most outlandish words actually happened?] [If she says, Justin Bieber will walk into my bedroom, does she have to do something special to make it happen, or does it just happen?]

She also discovers that the magicians were commissioned to protect the delicate balance between humanity’s magic—creativity—and real magic, a task the magicians fulfilled effectively until an enemy band of magicians called Berserkers severed the pathway to Celestus. [I thought the Celestian Guard lived on Celestia, and the Celestusian Guard lived on Celestus. Guess I had that backwards.] 

Now the Berserkers are hunting for a lost sword that could be used to free their leader from his prison in the center of the earth. Intent on protecting creativity, Kate volunteers to join a hunt to find and destroy the sword—but if they can’t, then creativity will fall. [It seems like all Kate has to do is say, "The sword is in Mt. Doom." Problem solved. That would be too easy. What can make Kate's words not become reality?]

ILLUSION is a YA contemporary fantasy complete at 54,000 words that could be pitched as National Treasure meets The Kane Chronicles. ILLUSION does have series potential, but can stand on its own.

I am a member of the Florida Writers Association. ILLUSION is currently a finalist for the Royal Palm Literary Award (winners to be announced in October).

Thank you for your time and consideration.



A sword doesn't sound like the best tool to free someone from a prison. Although even if it is, the hard part will be getting to the center of the Earth. Of course Kate can prevent the Berserkers from bringing the sword to the center of the Earth to rescue their leader by simply saying  The Berserkers' leader is now imprisoned in the center of Uranus.

If creativity exists on Earth and magic exists on Celestus, why are the magicians charged with keeping a balance? It's really hot on Mercury and cold on Neptune, but it wouldn't make sense to tell someone to keep a balance between their temperatures.

Kate has an unstoppable super power. We need to know her limitations.

As Idina is never mentioned again, do we really need to know she's involved in the abduction? Do you really need to abduct your best friend? Can't you just say Come with me to a magical world.? I'd go.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Feedback Request

The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1262 would like feedback on the version posted below:

Dear EE,

Allie shouldn’t have watched the strange man sneaking around in the woods—because now, he’s watching her.

Thirteen-year-old Allie is the queen of imaginary adventures, so even her best friend, Brandon, doubts her latest story of seeing a killer dumping a body in the woods. But when Allie and Brandon explore the woods the next day, they discover a body at the bottom of a cliff. Before they can find a way down to investigate it, the body disappears.

But Allie can’t go to the police. No body means no crime. Since no one has reported a missing person in her small town—and with her history of crazy stories—no one would believe her. [How do the police know about her history of crazy stories? Does she regularly go to the police with false reports of crimes?] [Even if they do know, I doubt the police would refuse to investigate a report of a corpse in the woods. They've got something better to do in this small town?] Then Allie finds out her brother has been lying about not going into that area of the woods. 

[Allie: Was that you I saw dumping a corpse in the woods?

Brother: No.

Allie: I happen to know you're lying.]

Now Allie is determined to solve the mystery of the missing body, and hopefully prove her brother isn’t involved. [Has anyone suggested that he's involved? She saw the killer dump the body, right? She should know if it was her brother.] 

Her adventure takes a dangerous turn when Allie sees a mysterious figure in the bushes outside her window and when someone breaks into her room while she's gone. She suspects the killer saw her spying on him in the woods that night and he has hunted her down. Now Allie must figure out what happened to the body and who the killer really is—before he makes her disappear. [Why does she have to figure out what happened to the body?]

SILHOUETTE is my upper middle grade mystery complete at 34,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


She's still worried that there's a killer trying to make her disappear, and she's still telling no one. This seems pretty similar to the original version. Not that we expected you to rewrite the book, but being the queen of imaginary adventures isn't enough to keep her quiet with her life on the line. The fact that no one believed her previous five stories didn't keep her from telling a sixth, so why should it keep her from telling the truth?

Monday, October 05, 2015

Feedback Request

Those crazy American Pawnbrokers are back. Is there no one who can stop them?

Former FBI consultant Flynn Christopher is asked by a friend at the bureau for a favor; let the FBI use Flynn’s Baltimore area pawn shops for a sting involving fake credit cards. Their target is Alexei Antonov a former Russian Colonel.

It’s supposed to be simple, do a meet and greet and leave it to the professionals, but Antonov “Google's” [Googles]  Flynn before the meeting. He learns Flynn is well connected to the American Pawnbrokers Association, [and] just the guy Antonov needs.

Antonov is about to pull off the heist of the century, countless millions in diamonds from a processing and cutting plant deep in the Ural mountains. However he lacks a network to sell the stones, reputable dealers won’t handle diamonds with an unknown history, but he thinks pawnbrokers will. [I'd go with semicolon after "stones" and period after "history."]

They start small, a couple of hundred carats for Flynn and some friends. When the fake network is expanded Antonov is hooked. But Flynn acts like this is a game,provoke Antonov, get him to expose himself so the FBI can follow the money and roll him up. [Either period after "game" and start new sentence with "He" or change "provoke" and "get" to "provoking" and "getting."]

Then the impulsive Flynn makes up [comes up with] a plan on [of] his own own, [colon] make Antonov believe he’s been double crossed.It’s classic Flynn, he can't’ [can't] resist taunting the lion in the cage, but this time the cage door comes open. [Semicolon after "Flynn" and period after "cage."]


Not bad. So, was Antonov ever involved in credit card fraud? Because that still seems like it might be more interesting to the FBI than diamonds stolen from a Ural Mts. mine. 

A sting is a good way to catch someone selling stolen credit card numbers. If a guy has millions in stolen diamonds, can't they just swoop in and arrest him with the goods?

Feedback Request

The author of the the query for The Adventures of Parker Rhodes seeks feedback on the latest version, which you'll find in the comments there.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Feedback Request

The author of the query featured most recently here has submitted the revision below, and awaits your response.

Although sixteen-year-old Theia Bryar believes she is being abducted, she is actually being taken home. On an island inhabited by the Naturae, people who can control earth, air, fire or water, Theia learns why the sun has always shone when she’s happy, while thunder answers her cries of anger. She is the daughter of Mother Nature, and controls [has power?] over all four elements. 

With humans ravaging the Earth, the Naturae have been drained of their health and their powers [devitalized? weakened?]. But Theia remains strong, her father’s human blood keeping the illness that grips the pure Naturae at bay. She is the only one who can stop the devastation, and has been brought back to the island to do just that. Immersed in a new world, Theia is thrilled at the chance to get to know her birth mother, develop friendships and explore a budding romance. And learning to harness the elements proves to be easy for her, from controlling the tides to conducting lightening [lightning]. [Is that conducting like conducting an orchestra or like conducting it to a specific place? Or is there a better word?]

But soon Theia discovers that life on the island is not as perfect as it seems. Not all of her friends can be trusted, the romance she longs for is forbidden, and she misses the father and half-sister she left behind. And then Theia stumbles onto a terrible secret. Mother Nature doesn’t just want to heal the Earth- she wants to eliminate the threat of humanity completely. And she intends to steal Theia’s powers to put her plan into action. Now Theia must figure out how to unite the Earth and it’s [its] people before she finds the blood of all humanity on her hands. [Not clear how "uniting the Earth and its people" prevents Mother Nature from killing us. A few tsunamis and earthquakes, and we'll all be running around like headless chickens.]

EARTH EYES is a paranormal YA novel, which puts a dark twist on the usual perceptions of Mother Nature. It is a standalone novel with series potential complete at 52,000 words.

[This seems to me to be in pretty good shape.]

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Feedback Request

A new revision of the query for The Adventures of Parker Rhodes has been posted in the comments there and awaits your feedback.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Feedback Request

The author of the book whose query is posted just below this post has submitted a revision:

I made a few changes to the plot. Instead of Leslie being choked, it's Tony being brutally beat on by his father. Leslie [Spoiler alert] gets her father's gun and shoots her father.

 Here's the revised query:

Dear Agent,

When Tony's back is against the wall, his little sister Leslie is there to save him; she shoots their abusive father to death. Tony realizes that the police will find the dead body and look for the shooter. And if they catch them, they'll separate the siblings by taking Leslie to juvenile and Tony to a foster home. [I've seen "juvie" used as slang for juvenile detention center or juvenile court. Is the noun juvenile ever used to refer to a place? In any case, juvie isn't a place I would expect a seven-year-old girl to be taken. Then again, I wouldn't expect her to have access to a loaded gun or the skill to use one, either.] No way is he letting that happen, not when he and Les can just blend into the streets. But how long can a sixteen-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl survive in cutthroat northeast Bed-Stuy? 

Luckily, while on the run, they stumble upon a nice family—Will and Rita Thompson—that’s willing to take them in. But they don't know Tony and Leslie's past. All they know is the two kids and are without a home. When a home invasion robbery ensues, it's Tony's turn to do something incriminating. [You mean something illegal?] The police eventually arrive on the scene and Will hides both children in the living room closet to protect them from an interrogation. [You'd better tell us what it is Tony did that Will thinks shouldn't be revealed to the police. When your home is being invaded, you're allowed to do a few things that might otherwise be considered crimes. As you are when your brother is being attacked by a drunk bastard.]

Leslie makes a noise and the police are on to their game. Tony can’t just stand by and let them get caught. But the only way out just might land them in a hole bigger than the one they’re already in. [The way out of a closet is usually the way you went in. Is there a trap door that opens over a pit?]

US AGAINST THE WORLD is YA realistic fiction, set in an urban landscape during the 1990’s. It is complete at 78,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



You've taken us a little further into the story. A family takes them in, but soon they are apparently on the run again. I'm not sure anything they've done requires them to live on the streets, but I guess it's what Tony believes that matters.

However, they need a goal, beyond evading the cops. Does Tony think they can survive on the streets until Leslie is an adult? Probably not, so what is his ultimate plan?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Face-Lift 1276

Guess the Plot

Me Against the World

1. When a black market deal goes bad, Perry Barker tries to run for his life. But no one can escape the over 5000 members of the nefarious American Pawnbrokers Association.

2. My husband is cheating, the kids are delinquents, and I'm getting laid off next week. Plus, I'm turning 40 and can't fit into my size 10 pants. I dare you to say you won't represent my book.

3. Mom channels the spirit of Sarah Bernhardt. Dad invents things. Rocky crawled into the pantry last week and covered himself with flour and red food coloring. Ten-year-old Dusti Rhoades (her real name!!!) secretly plans to win the Kidtastic Writing Contest and tells you all about her life in... Me Against The World.

4. I shot my old man to save my little sis from the drunk bastard. Now they'll probably throw me in juvie. No way I'm letting that happen, not when I can just pack up my pjs and my Gameboy and blend into the cutthroat streets of Bed-Stuy.

5. My parents suck and school sux and I totally wish I had never been born. All my clothes are sooo last year!!!! Like, should I just get a tattoo saying "I'm lame" on my forehead? And my car. My car!!!! It's brown!!! It is like soooo embarrassing. My parents must really hate me buying such a piece of sh*t like that.

6. Jason Poe Jr has accidentally unleashed a curse that turns nature itself against him. It's him against the world... he attacks at midnight.

7. The planet Earth has shrunk down to human size and now it's looking for a fight. It's up to Big Brad Little to give Earth an ass-whupping so severe it'll go back to big and quiet. But can he administer the beating before the oxygen runs out?

Original Version

Dear [Agent Name]

Tony will do anything to protect his little sister Leslie—shooting their father included. When the drunk bastard attempts to choke Leslie to death, that’s just what Tony does. [Luckily Tony's father keeps his loaded gun on a table in the same room where he's choking Leslie, so Tony doesn't have to go get it, which would take way longer than it would take a man to strangle a girl.]

Sirens sound in the distance, which means the police are on their way. If Tony doesn’t do something, the police find two orphan minors and report the incident to Child Protective Services. Tony will most likely end up in a juvenile facility and Leslie in a foster home. But CPS has to find them first. And [no one is better at hide and seek than Tony and Leslie.] CPS be damned. Tony will not let the government split them up.

Hiding out and blending in with others seems to be the only way to avoid separation. The question is where. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many places to go with no money—except the streets. However, running the streets of cutthroat northeast Bed-Stuy is just asking for trouble—trouble they certainly don’t need.

Tony has not one, but two lives to think about. He doesn’t have much time to decide. CPS is coming. And they won’t leave empty-handed. [Actually, it's the cops who are coming, and they're gonna find a bloody corpse and start looking for a shooter, so it'll be a while before CPS is coming. My guess is the kids would be taken to CPS.]

Me Against the World is YA fiction, complete at 78,000 words. [Shouldn't it be Us Against the World? Surely Leslie is going to be useful in the quest for survival.]

Thank you for your time and consideration.



This could be pretty funny if you put it in first person present and tell it like a film noir:

I walk into the kitchen in my pjs hoping my kid sister Leslie hasn't finished off the Froot Loops. And there's the old man, trying to choke Les to death. Lucky I'm packing heat. I pull out my 44 and blast the drunk bastard to kingdom come.

Sirens. Shit, already? Gotta move fast or they'll throw me into juvie for saving Leslie's life, and I'll never see her again. But where can we go? Maybe the brutal, merciless streets of northeast Bed-Stuy? Nah, that's just asking for trouble. But we got no moolah. Wait, I've got my gat. We can rob a Chucky Cheese.

The trouble with my version is the same as the trouble with yours. It could all take place on page one of the book. You need to tell us a story, not just describe the situation the main character is in when the story begins. So instead of just deleting the parts I colored red, condense the setup into one short paragraph, something like:

After Tony shoots his father to stop the drunk bastard from choking Tony's sister Leslie to death, he realizes Child Protective Services will soon swoop in and separate the siblings. No way he's letting that happen, not when he and Les can just blend into the streets. But how long can an eight-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl survive in cutthroat northeast Bed-Stuy?

That leaves room to tell us about the plot: what they plan to do, who stands in their way, what big decision they face, what will happen if they choose badly . . .

Friday, September 25, 2015

Feedback Request

The author of the query for Keeper of the Woods, most recently seen here, would like feedback on the revision below.

Ana is a monster. She doesn’t have claws, fangs, or even a tail-and that’s the problem. One by one everyone else around her has changed and taken on physical traits of an animal just like they’re supposed to.

Abandoned and feared, Ana has raised herself in the woods for eight years until, one day, a fire breaks out. In the blaze she finds and rescues a coyote-girl named Arella, as well as her dog-brother Rae. The siblings seem kind, and even offer to take a skeptical Ana to someone who might be able to fix her. Ana reluctantly agrees to travel with them, and even stays after she discovers they are wanted criminals. After all, she has nowhere to go and already knows she can’t trust anyone-but if there’s a chance that she can end her nightmare, she’ll take it.

They’ll have to rely on each other as they journey, but the closer they come to their destination, the closer they become to each other. [That makes no more sense than it did last time. You're saying: They'll have to rely on each other, but how can they when they've become close? It's like saying Dorothy needs to rely on the Scarecrow, but she can't because they've bonded. It's like saying when you need someone to rely on it's better to go with a stranger than with your best friend.] In the end, Ana can’t hide from the world anymore and will have to decide who to trust. Keeper of the Woods is a 56,000 word middle grade fantasy novel.

I look forward to hearing from you.


You're not giving us enough specific information about the plot. You have a paragraph telling us who your main character is, a paragraph telling us what her situation is, and a vague paragraph that tells us nothing. If you apply the same format to The Wizard of Oz it will sound like this:

Dorothy is an average girl living on a farm in Kansas. She has a loving family and a cute dog named Toto. Sometimes she stops what she's doing and breaks into song.

One day a tornado threatens the farm. Dorothy is knocked unconscious while trying to find Toto, and when she wakes she's in a wondrous colorful land populated by little people called Munchkins. The Munchkins and a kind witch tell Dorothy about a wizard in the Emerald City who might be able to help her return to Kansas. She has no better idea, and if there’s a chance she can get back home, she’ll take it.

Along the way Dorothy meets interesting characters and encounters some dangers. In the end, she will learn a valuable life lesson. The Wizard of Oz is a 56,000 word middle grade fantasy novel.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Note that my query leaves out all the good stuff. Now, if I condense it into one paragraph:

After 12-year-old Dorothy Gale is knocked unconscious during a tornado on her Kansas farm, she wakes in a wondrous land called Oz. She longs to return to her family, but it seems the only one who might help her is a wizard who lives in the Emerald City. So off she goes, accompanied by her dog Toto, to see the wizard.

. . . I'll have plenty of room to talk about the friends Dorothy makes along the way, and especially about the villain, the wicked witch who's trying to stop them. And then to wrap it up with what Dorothy might learn if she somehow survives.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Success Story

Carrie Ryan's book The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Book Chat 46) is, at long last, being made into a movie. It'll star, from Game of Thrones,  . . . Well you can read about it here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Feedback Request

The author of Antonov's Diamonds (most recently seen here) would like comments on this new version.

Former FBI consultant Flynn Christopher is asked by a friend at the bureau for a favor ; let the FBI use Flynn’s pawn shop for a sting involving fake credit cards. Their target is Alexei Antonov a former Russian Colonel.

It’s supposed to be simple, do a meet and greet and turn the operation back over to the FBI. Antonov checks Flynn out prior to the meeting and learns about his close ties to the over 5000 members of the American Pawnbrokers Association. [Are his ties to these 5000 members closer than other members' ties?]

He’s just what Antonov needs.

Unscrupulous land bosses in Russia, associates of Antonov, have conned the government into defunding a diamond mine deep in the Ural mountain wilderness. It’s been shut down as unprofitable and abandoned. However, the mine was out producing expectations and is secretly reopened. Criminals are running the mine now, complete with their own diamond cutters.

Antonov double crosses his partners in a brutal assault on the mine and makes off with untold millions in diamonds. [If the mine is outproducing expectations, and Antonov is a partner in the operation, I don't see why he's better off double-crossing his partners than just continuing to take his share over time. For purposes of the query (if not the book) Antonov could just be the part of the operation charged with finding buyers for the diamonds. You can just say Antonov's men are running the mine now, complete with their own diamond cutters. And leave out the brutal assault. It saves us wondering why he's giving up a sweet racket for a one-time score.]

Flynn is in way over his head when the unpredictable Antonov shows back up in [returns to] Baltimore. [We didn't know he was in Baltimore to begin with. Call it Flynn's Baltimore pawn shop back in sentence 1.] He wants Flynn to set up a network to sell the stolen diamonds through his fellow pawnbrokers. [He wants Flynn to contact 5000 pawnbrokers and invite them to sell stolen diamonds?]

Caught in the middle, he agrees to lure Antonov into an FBI trap. The plan calls for Flynn to double cross an increasingly psychotic Antonov. Cheated out of over five million in diamonds, Antonov [Wait, I missed that. How did he get cheated?] is set on vengeance, and Flynn. [He's set on Flynn? We assume you're talking about Flynn when you say he's set on vengeance.]


So as part of the sting, Flynn tells Antonov he'll distribute the diamonds to thousands of pawn shops, and Antonov says, "Great," and just gives him the diamonds? And at that point the FBI doesn't swoop in and take Antonov into custody, but leaves him free to seek vengeance on Flynn?

If Antonov gives the diamonds to Flynn and walks out, how does he find out he's been cheated? He can't expect the money to start rolling in immediately.

If Antonov wants to sell diamonds to pawn shops instead of jewelry wholesalers, it's probably because pawnbrokers have a reputation for questionable business practices, like dealing with stolen goods. But wouldn't that also mean they'd be more likely to give him a raw deal or even swindle him?
I don't think any of the versions has explained this. Why pawn shops?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Feedback Request

The author of the book featured in Face Lift 1374 has submitted a revision and seeks your feedback.

Dear Mr. Evil Editor,

Ana is a monster. She doesn’t have claws, fangs, or even a tail-and that’s the problem. One by one everyone else around her has changed and taken on physical traits of an animal which matches their personality, just like they’re supposed to.

Everyone that is, except her. [I think you made that point in the previous paragraph.] Abandoned and feared Ana has raised herself in the woods just outside of town for eight years.

Then, one day, the forest is suddenly on fire. Before she escapes Ana rescues a coyote girl named Arella and her dog brother Rae from the blaze. The woods she called home are suddenly gone and now she must find a new place to hide. [Does Rae have the personality of Santa's Little Helper or of Cujo? 

I mean, dogs have so many different personalities (unlike cats, which are all sneaky, stand-offish, disloyal, annoying, demanding, neurotic and stubborn) that it seems everyone could take on the physical traits of a dog.] Rather than fear her, Rae and Arella sympathize with her and even offer to have her travel [take her] with them to see King Nalvero so that he might help her. [So Ana is Dorothy and King Nalvero is the wizard.] Though they seem kind something about their story doesn’t make sense. For one thing, Ana knows from whispers in the village that Nalvero and his army are invading other kingdoms and on the verge of declaring war. [It's always best to invade other kingdoms before declaring war. It catches them off guard.] For another, there’s the matter of what they were doing in the forest in the first place. [Is it so outlandish that someone who physically is a coyote would be in a forest?] She can’t trust these two-but if there’s a chance that she can end her nightmare, she’ll take it.

The three have less than a week to travel to Nalvero’s castle while avoiding his soldiers, a panther bounty hunter, curses, prophecies, [a wicked witch, flying monkeys,] and Rae and Ana’s constant arguing. [What happens if they aren't there in less than a week? If their goal is to reach the king, why avoid his soldiers? Aren't the king and his soldiers on the same side?] [Try to keep lists to three items. Curses and prophesies don't strike me as things you can avoid.]  They’ll have to rely on each other to make it, but the closer they become [get] to their destination, the closer they become [grow] to each other. [I don't see what point that sentence is making. The "but" suggests that it's harder to rely on someone you're close to. Isn't the opposite true?] With each passing day it becomes more and more difficult to keep up the ruse [What ruse?] and their schemes could unravel. [What schemes?] In the end Ana must choose who to trust in order to fulfill a destiny far beyond her choice. [Does she or anyone know what her destiny is?] 

Keeper of the Woods is a 56,000 word middle grade fantasy novel. I look forward to hearing from you.


If Ana, Rae and Arella all have human intelligence, I would think the ones with dog and coyote bodies would have the easier time getting out of a burning forest. Were they trapped under a fallen tree?

If you don't change into an animal, that's a shame, but I don't see how the king can help. They should be off to see a wizard (preferably Harry Potter or Gandalf, not Oz).

Good that you're focusing on the plot this time, but more work is needed. Try limiting yourself to nine sentences. It might help you decide what's important and what can be left out.

I would add a few commas, after Abandoned and feared, Before she escapes, Though they seem kind. And get rid of the commas in Then, one day, 

Saturday, September 19, 2015