Monday, February 11, 2013
Guess the Plot
Under a Fading Moon
1. A talking cat offers Shadasa the ability to become a panther at will, but she won't get this power until the moon goes dark--if she lives that long, which is unlikely since an evil alchemist has summoned powerful spirits to hunt her down so he can sacrifice her to the Dark Realms.
2. It's the year 3021. The wealthy have relocated to an artificial environment on the moon, and now call Earth "The Moon." By the time planetwide natural disasters destroy the surface of Earth, the colony is just barely self-sufficient. Can the colonists learn to survive in a society where money has no meaning?
3. Molly the mole is anxious. There’s been a dearth worms lately. Robins have taken over topside because cats are kept indoors due to Valley Fever. She calls Acme Exterminators to spray mold poison but they misunderstand and spray mole poison. The other moles banish her to the light where she can only hunt under a fading moon. Also, a rockin’ robin.
4. In the land of Lunaria, the werewolves are getting worried. The moon, the source of their power, is starting to fade. If Lyca Greeneyes and her inner wolf don't find the answer before the next blood-moon, all the werewolves will lose their powers and those blasted sparkly vampires will take over.
5. 30 years ago, Brenda Nadsly was a headliner at gentlemen's clubs. But that was four divorces, one daughter, and three grandsons ago. Can she take the stage at the Angel's Club and show them that she still has what it takes, even though she's over fifty?
6. Life on Eldora is in turmoil as its constant illumination by full moon is waning. Crops across the planet languish bringing widespread famine to the population. Can chief agropologist, Shia LaGrume, perfect his incandescent device, or will all Eldoran's perish...Under a Fading Moon?
Dear Most Exalted Evil Editor, [Or Agent of My Choice]
A cat named NightShade gave Shadasa the second form of a panther. [Not one of my favorite opening sentences.] NightShade isn’t an ordinary cat -- she’s a NightPanther, a powerful, intelligent shifter. Once Shadasa and NightShade pass their first Dark-Moon together, both can become full-sized panthers at will. [So the second form of a panther, which NightShade gave to Shadasa, currently lets her shift into a less-than-full-size panther? Is that why you specify full-sized panther instead of just saying panther? Are you saying NightShade can't currently shift into a panther, that she too must wait for the Dark-Moon?] Her former Alchemist master chose Shadasa as the blood sacrifice that will give him control over the most powerful spirit in the Dark Realms. [Not clear how that relates to the rest of the paragraph. Nor in what way she was sacrificed.] Virtually helpless without the power to shift, Shadasa and NightShade travel with Velpheron, a kindly and capable nobleman. [Where are they traveling to?] [Also, Shadasa has never had the power to shift, so why is she suddenly helpless?]
Staying with Velpheron until the proper moon-phase seems prudent, especially after he saves Shadasa from a slavehunter. As she begins to long for darkness and blood becomes her ambrosia, [Whose blood?] she increasingly fears his rejection. She nearly abandons him the night he takes an arrow to the shoulder -- one meant for her. Though she manages to save Velpheron without revealing her secret, Shadasa further entangles herself by using her Imbued blood as a medicine to save his life. [Why is "Imbued" capitalized? Why was "Alchemist" capitalized? What about "NightPanther"? You didn't capitalize "cat" even though NightShade isn't an ordinary cat. We don't spell it "WereWolf."]
Velpheron’s delirium reveals his royal lineage. Having her blood inside him gives Shadasa access to the Prince’s [Velpheron is the Prince? Of what?] thoughts and passions, [Seems like it would be he who has access to her thoughts, but whatever.] making her feel unbelievably close to him while haunting her with guilt. Struggling to understand her relationship with Velpheron, who still thinks she’s only a slave, [I was thinking she was more a student or apprentice of her Alchemist master, not his slave. Guess I should have taken "slavehunter" literally, instead of thinking it was someone trying to capture her to make her a slave.] [Did she escape from her master? Hard to believe your Alchemist master would choose you for his blood sacrifice and then be careless enough to let you escape before he establishes control over the most powerful spirit in the Dark Realms. ] Shadasa knows he must soon discover what she is. She convinces herself he won’t be angry -- until he tells her of the NightPanther assassins who tried to kill his father, and how, in hatred, he killed one of them himself.
Resisting her feline urges as well as NightShade’s cynical advice seems impossible. [What is she advising?] The summoned spirits of her power-hungry master and the Prince’s own enemies converge on them, forcing Shadasa to make an agonizing choice. If she maintains her hopeless devotion to Velpheron, she must withstand his anger and loathing when he learns the truth -- but if she leaves the man she has come to love, she will despise herself for the rest of her life. [I can see her fearing she'll be lonely or regretting it, but despise herself?] [Also, before worrying about the consequences of her choice, she might want to consider how to deal with the summoned spirits of her power-hungry master and the Prince’s own enemies, who are converging on them. The choice can come after they survive. Which they won't unless the moon goes dark real fast and she can pantherize everyone.]
Under A Fading Moon is a 100K-word fantasy, first in a projected trilogy. Thank you for your time and consideration.
[Note to EE: I submitted once before, with the same general story, under the title DarkMoon. [See Face-Lift 1057--EE.] I've since done a LOT of revising, changed the focus of the story, invented a different title, and, as per your suggestion, changed the names of both main characters.]
If he can tell her he's a nobleman when he's actually the Prince, he can hardly complain that she didn't reveal she will soon be able to morph into a deadly creature capable of ripping out his throat as payback for the NightPanther he murdered. After all, he was already the Prince, while she won't be a NightPanther until the moon does its thing. She's probably not even certain she will be a NightPanther. If someone told me that I would have the ability to turn into a panther after the next Dark-Moon, I think I'd be skeptical. Admittedly less skeptical if it were a talking cat telling me, but still...
I assume the Alchemist still needs Sha-na-na, as he'd have better things to do than hunt her down if he already controlled the Dark Realms.
Does she meet the cat after getting away from the Alchemist? I think this would be more clear if you told it chronologically. Possibly it goes:
Subaru, an alchemist's slave, escapes before he can make her his blood sacrifice.
She meets a magical cat who gives her panther power (but it won't take effect till the next moonless night) and a nobleman who offers to accompany her as she flees the alchemist.
Needing Shakira back in order to become emperor of the Dark Realms, the alchemist summons powerful spirits to hunt her down. Meanwhile, the nobleman, who is actually the prince, is being hunted by enemies of his own.
To fight off their attackers, S will have to shift into panther mode. But if she does, the prince, with whom she has fallen in love and who hates people who can shift into panther mode, may be lost to her forever.
Note that I told the story without the arrow and the blood and ambrosia and NightPanther assassins. Needless clutter. Just focus on Shadow: who is she, what's her situation, what does she want, who doesn't want her to get it, what does she plan to do about it, what happens if she fails.
Why does S have to convince herself the prince won't be angry, when she has access to his thoughts and passions? She can just say, "NightPanthers," and read whether he's thinking, I won't stop till they're all dead, or Like with humans, a few bad apples can spoil the bunch, but I'm sure there are lovable ones.