The author of the book featured in Face Lift 1374 has submitted a revision and seeks your feedback.
Dear Mr. Evil Editor,
Ana is a monster. She doesn’t have claws, fangs, or even a tail-and that’s the problem. One by one everyone else around her has changed and taken on physical traits of an animal which matches their personality, just like they’re supposed to.
Everyone that is, except her. [I think you made that point in the previous paragraph.] Abandoned and feared Ana has raised herself in the woods just outside of town for eight years.
Then, one day, the forest is suddenly on fire. Before she escapes Ana rescues a coyote girl named Arella and her dog brother Rae from the blaze. The woods she called home are suddenly gone and now she must find a new place to hide. [Does Rae have the personality of Santa's Little Helper or of Cujo?
I mean, dogs have so many different personalities (unlike cats, which are all sneaky, stand-offish, disloyal, annoying, demanding, neurotic and stubborn) that it seems everyone could take on the physical traits of a dog.] Rather than fear her, Rae and Arella sympathize with her and even offer to have her travel [take her] with them to see King Nalvero so that he might help her. [So Ana is Dorothy and King Nalvero is the wizard.] Though they seem kind something about their story doesn’t make sense. For one thing, Ana knows from whispers in the village that Nalvero and his army are invading other kingdoms and on the verge of declaring war. [It's always best to invade other kingdoms before declaring war. It catches them off guard.] For another, there’s the matter of what they were doing in the forest in the first place. [Is it so outlandish that someone who physically is a coyote would be in a forest?] She can’t trust these two-but if there’s a chance that she can end her nightmare, she’ll take it.
The three have less than a week to travel to Nalvero’s castle while avoiding his soldiers, a panther bounty hunter, curses, prophecies, [a wicked witch, flying monkeys,] and Rae and Ana’s constant arguing. [What happens if they aren't there in less than a week? If their goal is to reach the king, why avoid his soldiers? Aren't the king and his soldiers on the same side?] [Try to keep lists to three items. Curses and prophesies don't strike me as things you can avoid.] They’ll have to rely on each other to make it, but the closer they become [get] to their destination, the closer they become [grow] to each other. [I don't see what point that sentence is making. The "but" suggests that it's harder to rely on someone you're close to. Isn't the opposite true?] With each passing day it becomes more and more difficult to keep up the ruse [What ruse?] and their schemes could unravel. [What schemes?] In the end Ana must choose who to trust in order to fulfill a destiny far beyond her choice. [Does she or anyone know what her destiny is?]
Keeper of the Woods is a 56,000 word middle grade fantasy novel. I look forward to hearing from you.
If Ana, Rae and Arella all have human intelligence, I would think the ones with dog and coyote bodies would have the easier time getting out of a burning forest. Were they trapped under a fallen tree?
If you don't change into an animal, that's a shame, but I don't see how the king can help. They should be off to see a wizard (preferably Harry Potter or Gandalf, not Oz).
Good that you're focusing on the plot this time, but more work is needed. Try limiting yourself to nine sentences. It might help you decide what's important and what can be left out.
I would add a few commas, after Abandoned and feared, Before she escapes, Though they seem kind. And get rid of the commas in Then, one day,