Monday, March 18, 2013

Face-Lift 1111

Guess the Plot

Haven in Hell

1. The true story of Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel's drive to turn a sleepy little town into the gambling capital of the US. Also, a bonus Sinatra DVD.
2. Demon hunter Aldrick will do whatever it takes to save the woman he loves. And by "whatever it takes," I mean bring about the complete extinction of humanity.
3. When Mother Mary Therese discovers her lifelong nemesis, the miserly old pornographer across the street, repented at the last minute and got to Heaven, she realises her only escape from seeing him again is to find... a Haven in Hell.

4. Code named "Haven," she's the coldest, deadliest assassin in the world. Until she dies in a freak baking accident. Luckily, the devil needs a good hitwoman and he's willing to make a deal.

5. The Haven, an abandoned hotel in the ghost town of Hell Arizona, is refurbished as a luxury bed and breakfast. But it’s built atop an ancient Apache burial ground. Bizarre events occur. Guests vanish from their rooms, a paranormal researcher is disemboweled, and Joost Kraa recruits three virgins. Gretchen Borden, the proprietor, swears she’ll get to the bottom of it or die trying.

6. Life is perfect for Carmella. No matter what she eats she's a perfect size 2. Guys swoon when she walks by. If only the hellfire and brimstone didn't scorch her hair every time she tries to get close to Luc, the hottest guy around.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

In a medieval age where daemons have brought the earth to the brink of apocalypse, HAVEN IN HELL is the story of a man whose well-intentioned choices unwittingly set humanity teetering toward extinction. [Choices don't actually have any wits. You could say . . . a man who, through his well-intentioned choices, unwittingly sets... Or you could just leave out the choices part.] [Also, if the Earth is on the brink of apocalypse, one might say humanity is already teetering toward extinction, no matter what this man unwittingly does. It's sort of like saying: With the Lakers trailing the Heat 122 to 31 and two minutes left, Kobe Bryant's charging foul puts the Lakers in jeopardy of losing.]

Aldric, sworn against daemons and their ilk, hunts any that worm their way inside Haven’s borders. [What is Haven? A village? A country?] So why can’t he bring himself to kill the young woman at his feet? [My guess: She's a young woman, not a daemon or its ilk.] [Although not being a daemon, I suppose, doesn't necessarily mean you aren't one's ilk.] [Are vampiresses and wolfwomen considered ilk, or is it just those possessed by demons who are ilk?]

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Calaia just saved his life. She claims that she is not possessed, that the daemon slowly devouring her soul has no power over her—but that's impossible. Right up there with Aldric owing his life to a warlock.

From that moment onward, Aldric’s beliefs crumble one by one as he discovers the truth about daemons, their soul-fueled sorcery, and the goddess who safeguards the last of humankind. When Calaia’s sorcery goes awry and threatens them all, his only ally is a daemon. Can he embrace the enemy to save the woman he loves?

HAVEN IN HELL, complete at 90,000 words, will appeal to fans of Peter V. Brett’s The Warded Man and C. S. Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy.



I'm making certain assumptions that aren't necessarily true based on the way this is written. I'm assuming Aldrick in paragraph 2 is the man from paragraph 1 who's putting humanity on the brink of extinction. I'm assuming Calaia in paragraph 3 is the young woman in paragraph 2 at Aldrick's feet. I'm assuming the woman Aldrick loves is Calaia, even though I have no reason to believe he ever met her until she saved his life a few sentences earlier. I could assume Calaia is also the warlock, as both Calaia and the warlock saved Aldrick's life. I'm not certain the goddess and/or the daemon who's Aldrick's only ally aren't also Calaia, though it seems doubtful. Now if the first paragraph read . . . story of Aldrick, a man who . . . and the 2nd paragraph read . . . bring himself to kill Calaia, the young woman . . .  etc., it would be clearer.

Saving the woman he loves, Aldrick's goal at the end of the plot summary, doesn't seem like such a big problem when at the beginning he had set humanity teetering toward extinction. Once you tell us we're all gonna die, we lose interest in whether Aldrick finds his soul mate.

Maybe you should introduce Aldrick as Calaia saves his life, then take us through the story up to the point where Aldrick is faced with the decision that will determine the fate of humanity.


Veronica Rundell said...

This story could be fun, however, the query lacks specifics. Is the whole world consumed by daemon activity, excepting Haven? How close to extinction is humanity?

As it seems a no-brainer to kill a person suspected of possession, considering the apocalyptic backdrop offered, there needs to be a plausible, logical explanation behind Aldric's choice to spare Calaia--'love at first sight' seems rather thin, as EE notes.

Best advice: Cut the questions and give some answers.

BuffySquirrel said...

I have no idea what happens in this story.

Mister Furkles said...

I’m with Buffy on this. I have no idea what your story is really about. All I get is that it’s about magic and demons.

Consider these questions:
- Who is the protagonist? Aldric, okay, got one.
- Who is the antagonist? Is it an army of demons? Can’t tell from the query.
- What choice does Aldric face? This needs to be specific.
- What are the risks either way? This is not clear.
- What is the main conflict? This is not specific enough.

Condense to 60 to 100 words addressing all of the above. Then expand to include intriguing details – like when and where it happens.

Revise and add it below.

And EE: “Are vampiresses and wolfwomen considered ilk, or is it just those possessed by demons who are ilk?”

Ilk are giant brownish deer with really big ant … uh, no wait … those are elk. Maybe ilk are like medieval elk?

sarah hawthorne said...

It comes across as kind of generic. It might be a good story but you're not giving us the right details.

Here's kind of a rough rewrite that might give you an idea what info is missing:

"Aldric is a ___, sworn to protect the kingdom of Haven from daemons and their human hosts, called warlocks. But nothing prepares him for a warlock who risks her own life to save his. Calaia is a ____, in control over the daemon rather than its hapless victim. Because ____, Aldric lets her go.

But this act of mercy sets in motion ____. Aldric's superiors have lied to him about daemons and their soul fueled magic. One by one his beliefs crumble as he ____s and Calaia ____s.

But when Calaia's sorcery goes badly awry, Aldric faces an awful decision between _____ and _____. If he ___, then ___, but if he ____, then ____."

Good luck!

Ruth said...

It sounds good in a general sense, but I also have no idea what the story is. (But I'm a fan of Peter V Brett! Tell me more....)

Once you've made EE's changes, I'd suggest combining paragraph 2 & 3, and taking out the unnecessary details in pars 3-4. Then add more concrete details about the plot.

It does sound like a really interesting story! My kinda book. :) It can be so hard to summarise a complex book in so few words, but I think the key is to focus on the main plot; ignore subplots; and don't try to be mysterious.

Good luck! Hope to see a rewrite. :)