Guess the Plot
Shadows in the Forest
1. Hiking in the forest, Ami finds a box of trinkets. Could each of them be a trophy from some serial killer's thirty-year murder spree? She thinks so. But can she avoid becoming the killer's next victim?
2. TV talking heads say people can’t see the forest for the trees. Nick figures it’s because the canopy creates shadows. So he strings lights in the forest to eliminate them. It irritates nocturnal creatures so much they kill hundreds of people.
3. Attempting to determine whether a tree falling in the forest with no one around makes a sound, philosopher August Pendragon sets up microphones and cameras and waits for a tree to fall. She never actually catches a falling tree on film, but does discover that trees in the forest have no shadows when no one's around.
4. When the body of former Disney kiddie star - turned - singer Amber Wallenski turns up in the trunk of a rental car, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things: She didn't get that poison oak rash in a recording studio, and maybe he really needs to talk his youngest daughter out of a Disney singing career.
5. In the great coast redwood forests lives a secret: a society of faeries, who have the chameleon-like ability to blend with their surroundings. When 13-year-old Kai catches DaNaShi in a bird feeder, will their world be exploited--or will he have the best Science Fair exhibit ever?
6. Midnight. Judy the Psychic gets contacted by two kids lost in a forest, being followed by something that makes a big shadow and growls and noisily gnashes its teeth. Maybe a bear. All her kindly henchmen are asleep so Judy sends an evil elf to the rescue.
Dear Evil Editor,
With a typhoon raging overhead and a killer somewhere nearby, bound and beaten Ami Sato's certain of only one thing: she must survive.
To recuperate [Whoa. Is she still bound? Is the killer still nearby? What about the typhoon? Doesn't she have to escape from her hopeless predicament before she starts recuperating?] and get her head straight, Ami decides to spend the spring renting a remote cabin in Japan's countryside. [It's a decision she'll be acting on as soon as she manages to untie these ropes.] Here, she forces herself to confront [she confronts] the mistakes she's made in her life. [For instance, wandering alone in the Forest of Typhoons and Serial Killers.] While hiking in the woods, she finds a hidden antique, wooden box of trinkets. One item, a pendant with a name inscribed on the back, catches her eye.
With that pendant and the help of a friend, [How remote can this cabin be if she has a friend nearby?] Ami discovers a [an] unsettling pattern of murders in the area spanning thirty years, souls trapped between life and death, and just how strong her will to live really is. She must overcome her own inner weaknesses before she becomes the killer's next victim. [Is this the same killer she was bound and beaten by? Maybe after she escaped from the killer the first time she should have rented a remote cabin on one of Japan's other islands instead of in the same forest he's been killing people in for thirty years. Just saying.] [What are these inner weaknesses she has to overcome to avoid getting killed? Explain why she can't flee to Tokyo instead of overcoming her inner weaknesses.] At first, all she wants is [wanted was] to get her head straight. Now all she wants - is to keep it. [That's the second time you've used the phrase "get her head straight."]
SHADOWS IN THE FOREST is a 78,000 word mystery with paranormal elements. Per your submission guidelines, I have included [***]
If this is paranormal, more about that aspect would be helpful. I assume the souls trapped between life and death belong to the killer's victims? Although a killer's victims are usually completely dead. Are they zombies?
I'm not clear on the timeline. We open with Ami bound and beaten by a killer. Then she moves to a remote cabin to recuperate, but she's still worried about the same guy killing her? Is the killer human?
Maybe we should start with Ami moving to a remote cabin to meditate on the mistakes she's made in her life, one or two of which you might specify. Then she finds the box, at which point you might specify how this reveals thirty years of murders and souls trapped between life and death. Then the killer captures her (for the first or second time), or she foils him/her/it.
In other words, tell us a story. Right now all we have is a list of events. She moves to a cabin, finds a pendant, discovers a pattern of murders, survives by overcoming her weaknesses. We need elaboration on this stuff. Specific details, cause and effect, ideas building on each other.