Guess the Plot
The Feast of Masks
1. As the kingdom of Galailia prepares for the sumptuous Feast of Masks, at which every maiden of age is matched with whatever noble chooses her, one feisty, raven-haired countess thinks she's beat the system by sending a shape-shifting goblin in her place . . . until her secret crush picks the goblin.
2. Only one woman can prevent a dragon from augmenting its power and laying waste to the city during the Feast of Masks festival. But in doing so, will she become an even greater threat than the dragon? Also, in the broad scheme of things, does it really matter?
3. When the Queen of Al Laheria dies, a Feast of Masks is held to choose her successor. All women between the ages of 13 and 30 are required to attend. Rabinah desperately hopes to be chosen. But with 5000 other girls attending, how can she increase her chances of being chosen and escaping poverty? Also, why should readers care?
4. Nothing is what it seems, there's an elusive secret, and a young serving boy must make a terrifying choice that will change the course of the armistice banquet: red wine? or white?
5. A new fad diet has taken the world by storm. It turns out plastic Halloween masks have half the carbs of a slice of bread. Little does the public know that this is the dastardly new scheme of mad scientist Dr Petar Vlodstolk, whose wife has recently opened a costume shop. He doesn't want to see her become depressed after yet another failed business.
6. Everyone who's anyone was invited, but when the guests remove their masks at the end of the Feast of Masks, they find their faces have changed. They all look exactly like their masks. It's a total disaster . . . Although you don't hear the woman who wore the Kate Middleton mask complaining.
Dear Evil Editor,
Years ago, Tali Adilrein abandoned the practices of the dragon path and sealed away the destructive magic they gave her.
When Tali rescues the Commissioner of Customs’ niece from smugglers, she's hired as the girl’s bodyguard. Her none-too-happy client is a dragon treasure: Her gifts can catalyze spells for those on the dragon path. Her life can augment the power of a dragon. [Meaning the dragon must kill her or just use her?] [Is the girl "none-to-happy" because she's a dragon treasure or because she's stuck with a bodyguard?]
The smugglers awoke an imprisoned dragon. It's influencing them to bring it treasure to fuel its magic. When it acquires sufficient power, it will lay waste to the city. [Not clear whether the smugglers woke the dragon while trying to abduct the girl, or had awakened the dragon previously, and were trying to abduct the girl for the dragon.]
The dragon spreads its influence to one of Tali's allies. [Unlike Tali's alleys, Tali's allies is a good tongue twister.] [Also, what do mean by Tali's allies? Allies against what enemy?] It hunts her client with magical flames. Tali returns to the dragon path to protect the girl. In doing so, she may become as great a threat as the dragon.
The Feast of Masks is a stand-alone fantasy adventure with series potential, complete at 111K words. I’m currently working on another book set in the same world.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Was Tali in the bodyguard business before she rescued the girl?
The last two plot paragraphs need more sentence variety. Those short sentences read like an outline.
Maybe it would be better to start with the dragon:
When smugglers inadvertently awaken an imprisoned dragon, the creature compels them to bring it treasures to fuel its magic. If it acquires sufficient power, it will lay waste to the city.
One powerful "dragon treasure" is Jane Doe. The smugglers abduct her, but Jane is rescued by Tali Adilrein, a woman who years ago abandoned the practices of the dragon path and sealed away the destructive magic they gave her. Tali is immediately hired by Jane's uncle as her bodyguard.
As the dragon hunts her new client with magical flames, Tali reluctantly returns to the dragon path to protect the girl. But in doing so, she may become as great a threat as the dragon.
That introduces your main character in the second paragraph, which isn't ideal, but it also gets the setup into paragraph 1 instead of P3. And it leaves room to add a bit more information, perhaps showing more about the new threat the dragon brings besides "magical flames."
Not sure we need to know Jane is the niece of the Commissioner of Customs, as we don't know whether that's an important position like adviser to the king, or a minor position like supervisor of mail carriers. Just knowing the dragon needs her is enough.