Thursday, May 30, 2013
Guess the Plot
1. Fenalda, apprentice of evil wizard Malvario, decides to turn good. Normally this would require Malvario to turn her into a bug, but he has developed a soft spot for her, so he lets her off the hook, hoping the League of Evil Magic never finds out he did something nice.
2. Lucifer never expected to be disappointed in his child, but it seems God just has to up the ante. If Lu doesn't act fast his hell spawn will be welcomed into Heaven for . . . Turning Good.
3. Nothing grows at Camp Yellow Pond. Not even the shadows at sunset. At least that's what everyone believes until a single sprout erupts from the putrid water. Could it be the lake is . . . Turning Good?
4. Fletcher Donahue has played a villain in 64 movies, and he's sick of it. His agent tells him no audience will ever believe he's good--he exudes evil from his raspy voice to his hawk-like eyes to his strange mannerisms. But Fletcher won't give in. He'll stop at nothing to play the hero.
5. Assassin Alison MacDuff just got engaged to the love of her life, an evangelical pastor. She's ready to reform for his sake, but now her old compatriots are threatening to tell him about her past. There's only one solution. She has to kill them all, and fast.
6. Teen rebel Dan Greely pulled one stunt too many. He's been sent to 180 Degrees Reformatory which claims to turn the worst delinquents into model citizens. Dan thought nothing could change him, but after one day of "special tutorials," he realizes he’s got to escape while he’s still in control enough to warn the world.
Dear Evil Editor,
When Malvario’s thirteen-year-old apprentice, Fenalda, decides to turn good, he’s faced with an embarrassing dilemma. As an evil wizard, he ought to destroy Fenalda or at least transform her into something nasty, but Malvario can’t bear to harm her. Instead, they agree on a ruse. She pretends to escape his clutches, and he publicly swears vengeance on her. [I'd start a new paragraph here.] If the League of Evil Magic learns that Malvario helped Fenalda change sides, they’ll have his head for consorting with good. And if Fenalda’s new mentors at the Guild of Good Magic learn she’s still in regular contact with Malvario, they’ll blacklist her for consorting with evil. She shares her secret only with her new friend Briarwood the Disenchanter, a wizard who has dedicated his life to rescuing people transformed by evil spells. He warns her to be careful—Malvario really is evil and there’s no telling what he might do. [Dump that last sentence.]
Two years later, Fenalda, now fifteen, [Got it. 13 + 2 = 15] discovers that Briarwood has a consorting secret of his own, and it just went sour. [That makes it sound like the secret is consorting with someone. "...Briarwood has been doing some consorting of his own, and it's coming back to bite him." is better, but better still is to tell us what happened. His consorting went sour is vague.] Now Tanis, a beautiful evil enchantress, is out to wreak vengeance [No, no, you wreak havoc. You take vengeance.] on him and, through some twisted reasoning, on Fenalda, too. [What's Tanis's beef?] When Malvario learns about the threat to Fenalda, he rushes to her rescue. Briarwood reluctantly agrees to accept Malvario's help in tracking Tanis. But Malvario has neglected to mention that his plan to save Fenalda involves sacrificing Briarwood as well as any of Fenalda's other Guild friends who happen to get in the way. [Furthermore, Tanis knows that Malvaria and Briarwood are tracking her, but Malvaria and Briarwood know that she knows, and she knows this. When Malvaria contracts malaria in Moldova, Fenalda cures him with a potion of fennel and tannis root, infuriating Tanis.]
Meanwhile, Fenalda joins a new study group and discovers that the Guild of Good Magic hides a secret that could shortly cause the destruction of Guild and League alike. [We don't need this. We care what happens to Fenalda, not to the Guild and the League.]
Turning Good, a YA fantasy adventure novel, is complete at 143,000 words. [It's too long. Make it two books or take a chainsaw to it.]
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Fenalda has a secret, Malvario has two secrets, Briarwood has a secret, and the Guild of Good Magic has a secret. Malvario and Briarwood know Fenalda's secret, Fenalda and Briarwood know Malvario's first secret, Fenalda knows Briarwood's and the Guild's secrets. I assume Tanis knows Briarwood's secret, and that's why she's out for vengeance. Only Malvario's 2nd secret, that he's planning to sacrifice Briarwood, is really a secret, and I'm betting Briarwood suspects it.
Is it really necessary to track Tanis? If she wants vengeance on Malvario and Fenaldo, she's tracking them. Wait around and she'll show up. Or is her quest for vengeance another secret?
The main plot seems to be the Tanis threat. You could remove the two sentences about the Guild and the League from paragraph 1 (I know, I suggested you make them paragraph 2, but that was before I knew Tanis even existed). That gives you plenty of room to tell us what Briarwood did to bring on the wrath of Tanis, and what the Bri/Fen/Mal team plans to do about her. Possibly it'll be easier to follow if you focus on the main plot.
That the villain is more interested in Briarwood than in your protagonist could be bothersome. Tanis's "twisted reasoning" is all that puts Fenalda in danger? Was Fen involved in any way in Briarwood's consorting? If not, how does Tanis even know Fen exists?