Monday, August 26, 2013

Face-Lift 1149

Guess the Plot

A Not So Quiet Hostage

1. After witnessing a murder, Alice Platinum is taken hostage by the murderer. But only for one month. That's as much of Alice as he can stand.

2. It was a simple plan. Kidnap one of the king's daughters, collect the ransom, retire to the tropics. But the princess that bandits Fenton and Bock grab has a terrible secret: she snores. Also, she wants to join their gang.

3. Gwen, drunk and wandering, encounters a real centaur in Adirondack Park. He throws her over his back and ties her up on his bed. They engage in the most interesting acts for weeks until Gwen's abusive husband beats on the door with his rifle.

4. Aid worker Petra is taken hostage by insurgents, beaten daily and threatened with beheading. Her situation seems hopeless until she realizes she can project her thoughts to one of the captors. Can she persuade him to release her? Or will he accuse her of witchcraft, guaranteeing her death?

5. Ax'nat'Henes has seized the Earth as hostage until the Sun returns those comets stolen when the solar system first formed. Since the comets were runaways and not stolen, the Sun has no intention of returning them. And so another 10.9 hits Los Angeles while Earth fights for freedom.

6. Elf twins Talien and Glorian have a great plan for world peace: Capture Dwarf Prince Maggar and hold him hostage. But when the Prince turns out to be a spoiled, petulant drag queen, will they give in to the Dwarf King's demands? Or will they find a way to return the Prince?

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

A terrible past has haunted a twenty-four year old young lady named Alice Platinum for nearly six years, but when she moved far away to shut away all the lies and gossips, her worst nightmare arose from the blue.

A horrifying death of a young go-go dancer was witnessed by Alice’s eyes, but the guy who killed her was no other than, Jason Hampton; [,] a past high school rival. He had figured out who saw him, [;] before everything becomes exposed he kidnapped Alice and kept her hostage for a month. [Pluperfect, present and past verb forms in one sentence. Impressive.] Now to prevent her from exposing him, Alice was forced to join Jason on his dreadful mission without turning back. Not only is the truth of Jason’s deadly murder [All murders are deadly. Maybe it should be deadly mission and dreadful murder instead of vice versa.] being exposed, [Who is exposing it?] but his luck and faith lies with Alice. [

While the whole world assumes she knows a top secret code; a seven letter word which would open a safe that contains one tiny piece of paper, [Great scenes inspired by that clause:

1. A billionaire, having purchased an impregnable safe in which to keep his bearer bonds, writes the combination on a piece of paper because he's afraid he'll forget it, and then, afraid some criminal will find the piece of paper, locks it in the safe. 

2. Ruthless criminals torture a billionaire for hours until he finally reveals the combination to his safe; they open the safe and there's nothing inside except a slip of paper on which is written the combination.] multiple criminals are after it, [Is the seven-letter word "dolphin"?] [I have no reason to believe it is, but think how amazed the author would be if I got it right.] [....did I?] but one in particular is only after her; Mr. Stollen a massive criminal. [Maybe if he laid off the Stollen he wouldn't be so massive.]

Six Massive Criminals

Fat Tony (The Simpsons)

The Penguin (Batman)

 Mr. Stollen (A Not-so-Quiet Hostage)

Violator (Spawn)

The Slug (Capt. America)

Jabba the Hutt (Star Wars)

Don Corleone (The Godfather)

Now that her past stopped haunting her, Alice’s future lies under Jason’s hand. Alice tries to force her mind to trust him, but all the evidence provided proved her wrong because she is afraid of--- finding out the truth. While an ugly secret becomes exposed, not only about Stollen and Jason’s past rival, but about Alice’s disappearance and taunting past. Now to stop her past from taking over her future, Alice has to figure out what to do, all alone and to listen to all the unbarring truth which has to be revealed. [Possibly the vaguest four-sentence paragraph ever to appear on this blog.]

A Not So Quiet Hostage is a 50,00 word count, mystery novel. [Mystery? What's the mystery? Jason is the murderer and Alice's eyes witnessed it.]


I get it. Writing is in your blood, and for some reason you've decided to write this book in English. But you don't have the idioms and the punctuation and the word usage down yet. And once you've mastered the conventions, you'll still need to choose specific information that captures our interest, and organize it in a coherent, cohesive summary of your story.

A summary that might address some of the following:

Why is Stollen interested in Alice?

If Alice saw Jason commit murder, wouldn't he flee the country or silence her forever, rather than hold her hostage for one month?

Why does the whole world think Alice knows a top secret code? I don't see why anyone would think that. Who is she?

What is Jason's "mission"?


Anonymous said...


Let me encourage to keep going.

Sir Evil gave you some pretty good advice.

Keep writing (hard as it is in any language) and I wish you the best. Not real helpful but I hope encouraging.

Wilkins MacQueen

khazar-khum said...

What was Alice doing while her eyes were watching Jason murdering someone?

English is tricky.

You need to find a critique partner, someone who is willing to help you refine your writing. There may even be minions who'll do it. You need someone who can help you see where things are confusing, where there's room for improvement, and so on. In the meantime, keep writing.

150 said...

Hi, author. I Googled my way to another blog where this was posted. Based on your comments there (and the number in your screen name), I'm guessing you're quite young. Congratulations on finishing a novel! However, your writing is not good enough right now to compete on a professional level. Cherish your book, be proud of it, put it in a nice folder. Don't query it. Write another one. Write a bunch! Read attentively and hugely. Enjoy the whole process. It doesn't have to be published, or even publishable, to be worth your time doing. Trying to sell something that's not close to ready, though, that will break your heart.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Now I've done the same googling as 150 did. Oh, goodness, I didn't realize you were only 14.

Okay. Wow. Yeah. As 150 (and everyone else) said, your writing isn't really of professional quality. There are errors, like run-on sentences, punctuation errors, and shifts in verb tense.

It's because we all know how competitive the writing business is, and how hard it is for even a grammatically perfect query and manuscript to get attention, that we're not being very encouraging.

But if you're only 14, you still have years of school ahead of you, and you can work on the skills you still need to develop.

There's a saying that you have to write a million words before you're publishable. You've written 50,000 of them, so that's something.

Looking back to when I was your age, I wanted to be a singer, a concert pianist, an actor and a writer. All four of those fields are hideously competitive, and the problem with the first two was that I have all the musical talent of a carrot.

Guess what I'm trying to say here is that, from what I've seen, nearly everyone in the world seeks creative expression in some way. Right now you might be trying to figure out which way is right for you.

If it does turn out to be writing and if you decide to seek publication, then be prepared to work very, very hard.

But if it turns out to be something else, and if that's your passion, then embrace that. Follow your bliss, as they say.

khazar-khum said...

Hi Author

My first writings are so ghastly they won't even use them as torture devices in Syria. People gently, kindly, told me I needed to do far more research if I wanted to write historical novels, and they expressed this gently and kindly by giving me an 'F' on the project. Other educators simply told me I had no imagination. I was told, over and over, that I was not going to ever be published.

And you know what? At the time, they were right.

You have the kernal of a good idea here. No one here is ridiculing you. Everyone here was once where you are today, wondering why the world hated you--and your book.

We don't hate you. We want you to improve. It's like anything else--you have to practice to get better. And you can.

Nanowrimo is coming up. Get involved in their Young Writer program. It's FREE, and you'll have a great time while learning a lot.

Put that mind to use and write.

Tk said...

Hi author, you are 14 and you have written a 50,000-word novel? That's incredible.

If you know how to work that hard, for that long, you can use it to your advantage. You will be able to also work on the critiques made here - improving your word choice and grammar, writing so it sounds like the way people actually talk.

Your willing attitude on the other forum is admirable.

P.S. If Alice knows everything about Jason, maybe she can blackmail him back? I like your idea, expressed in your title, that she will stand up for herself and not let Jason dictate her life.

Veronica Rundell said...

Hey Author,
Keep writing. That's the only way to get better.

If you seriously want to publish, you should also READ extensively. In this way you learn what's already published (your competition, per se) and you pick up on the finer points of story development and execution.

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Hey Alaska,

Good to see the sense of humour. Howled when you said you have the musical talent of a carrot. Thanks for the laugh. Needed the chuckle. All carrots by the way were purple way back when. I love carrots, of any colour.

And you gave some pretty good advice to the young writer.

W. MacQueen

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Thank you, W. I shouldn't diss carrots like that. They may have buckets of musical talent for all I know.

Jo Antareau said...

The massive criminals were hilarious, EE. Thanks for the laugh.

Out of curiosity, should the words not so quiet be hyphenated? I'm wondering what the rule is. I'm guessing anybody who can throw terms like 'pluperfect' around in conversation would know a thing or two about hyphens.

@ author - yes, sadly your query seems rough. Although it's probably better than anything I would have done at age 14. Keep going.

In terms of structure, I suggest you leave out the detail in the first para, as it's backstory.

Start with Alice witnessing the crime and then getting kidnapped (ALice Platinum is a great name, BTW).

The part about the seven letter code then comes out of the blue and I think some connection between this and the crime might be helpful (eg, did the go-go dancer utter it into Alice's ear with her dying breath?)

Then finish with what Alice needs to do to stay safe and bring the kindapper to justice. Or whatever.

And remember, queries are harder than novels to write. Just dont give up in your dream because of some criticism.

Evil Editor said...

Words put together to form one adjective should be hyphenated. not-so-quiet, seven-letter in paragraph 3, possibly top-secret in paragraph 3 ( although it can also be argued that "top secret" is already a word unto itself and thus not being manufactured from two words), and 50,000-word mystery novel rather than 50,00 word count, mystery novel.

Before you ask, there are several schools of thought on whether all the words in a compound adjective should be capitalized if it's part of the title. I've seen none that suggest it should be Not-so-quiet on the grounds that that is one word. But whether the "so" should be lower case because it's a small word isn't universally agreed on. Most book covers avoid the problem by using ALL CAPS in the title.

Jo Antareau said...

Thanks for the response, EE.