Monday, December 28, 2015

Face-Lift 1291

Guess the Plot


1. On a near-future Earth, one man must locate the three coins that fit into an ancient amulet, thereby acquiring the power needed to prevent the demon Ezerkial from stripping him of his title. Also, a cranky witch.

2. Sixteen-year-old Trinity is the daughter of the Queen of the Faeries, the Emperor of the Elves and the kitchen boy of the Tuatha de Danann. (Magic was involved.) Thanks to that same spell, only she can save the world when the 2,500-year-old Irish planetary shield develops a hole and aliens land in Nairobi.

3. Set at White Sands during the Manhattan Project, "Trinity" tells the forbidden love story of Dr Bill Overton and his assistant, Josef Makelshmidt.

4. Deter Brule gets a full ride music/dance/theater scholarship to Trinity College. When his impersonation of a celebrity for the ceremonial first pitch brings a record turnout for the season, the college starts using him for other events. College football will never be the same. 

5. Triplets Lee, Lei, and Lae hate being referred to as the unholy trinity--arson, blackmail, and counterfeiting are normal for kids their age. Then Lei is bitten by a vampire, Lae is bitten by a werewolf, and Lee is abducted by cultists thinking he's Bruce Lee incarnate. Poor cultists.

6. Fifteen-year-old Silvia is invited to the Mardi Gras masquerade party at the mansion on Basquem Hill, but she has measles. She goes anyway, with only a pillowcase on her head and a white sheet over her scanty pink nightie. But three of the partiers aren't disguised--the new owners: Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman. Ever seen a vampire with measles?

7. This groundbreaking mashup of Roman Catholic theology and classic humor opens with the Supreme Being, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit walking into a bar. Hilarity and epiphanies ensue.

8. Trinity is the last of a hermaphroditic race that were male, female, and the rare bemale. When a genetic-cleaansing robotic horde target him/her/gim, Trinity must find the tri-gem to restore order to the galaxy.

Original Version

Dear The Agent to Be Named Later

Dragons have emerged from seemingly nowhere. Witchcraft has become mainstream. [Those two sentences aren't needed. Having looked ahead and seen that you have two characters who are dragonslayers and one who's a witch, I can infer that dragons and witches exist in this time and place.]  Louden Ellery, Dragonslayer, rushes to help out a fellow slayer only to find he’s too late. Instead, he stumbles across an ancient amulet created to balance Light and Dark energies on Earth. [We don't need to know what he was doing when he found the amulet. Possibly we don't need to be told he's a Dragonslayer either, as this gives the impression we're in King Arthur's time, when dragons existed, rather than (having looked ahead) the near future.] Suddenly, a man of little faith finds himself the terrestrial Guardian of Yahweh’s and Satan’s power. [I note that we're capitalizing a lot of words that normally don't need it (light, dark, dragonslayer--but not slayer--, guardian. If this is just the Tip of the Iceberg, it'll get Annoying.]

The amulet’s power, however, is fractured. Three coins, [one] each provided by Yahweh, Satan and the Garden of Eden, respectively are missing. The amulet’s power and thus Louden’s will only be complete when all three coins have been returned to the amulet. Aided by a mysterious priest and a cranky witch, Louden begins a quest to find the coins before a group of murdering satanists and a demon, Ezerkial, with aspirations of world domination strip him of his title, a lifelong obligation. [I assume by "his title" you mean Guardian of Yahweh's and Satan's Power? Why isn't it Guardian of Yahweh's and Satan's and the Garden of Eden's Power? Not that I was crazy about the Garden being one of the providers of coins, but it was, so it should be given credit.] [Not clear what you mean by "strip him of his title." How come satanists have the power to strip the Guardian of his title? As they're "murdering" satanists, why don't they just murder Louden and take the amulet?]

Trinity is a hero’s journey set in the near future, chronicling Louden as he learns to control his new powers [His powers aren't complete without the coins, so what are these new powers he has right now?] and stop Ezerkial. It is my first novel. I have previously published a bi-monthly column and feature articles for a craft beverage periodical. [No need to tell us this, but since you did, I accept payment for services rendered in Samuel Adams Winter Lager.] [Also, lay off the suds when composing your revised version.]

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Somewhere on Earth there are three coins that fit into this amulet, and he's supposed to find them? I'm worried that whoever had them accidentally used them in a vending machine.

I take it whoever previously had the lifelong obligation of guarding Satan's and Yahweh's power died? You'd think there'd be a system in place for that situation instead of the job going to whichever person stumbles across the amulet. Were the coins missing from the amulet when the previous Guardian had it? If so, why didn't Ezerkial make his move then? If not, how did they go missing?

If dragons emerged in the near future, and they needed slaying, I doubt the job would go to individual dragonslayers. We have more effective weapons than Sir Lancelot had. Or did you fail to mention that witches made all the weapons except lances and swords disappear?

I think we need to know what will happen if Ellery returns the coins to the amulet, and what will happen if he doesn't. We know his powers will be complete if he does and his title will be stripped if he doesn't, but that's pretty vague. If the coins aren't returned, does Satan have an advantage over Yahweh? Seems like it should affect both of them the same.

No need to answer all my questions, but perhaps you can clear up a few points so I don't ask as many questions.

Ezerkial sounds like you misspelled Ezekiel. As you use the real names Satan and Yahweh, why not Google a list of real demon names and choose one?

Out of curiosity, is the title "trinity" Yahweh/Satan/Garden or Ellery/priest/witch or the three coins?


InkAndPixelClub said...

Let's go over query basics and see how we're doing thus far:

- Who is the main character? Louden Ellery, a man of little faith who by chance ends up with the most powerful religious talisman in the world. It's a good start if you lose the dragonslayer stuff, which doesn't seem to have any bearing on the rest of the story.

- What does he want? This is where things start to get hazy. I assume what he wants is to find the three coins, but why? You jump from Louden seeming like a reluctant hero who would barely believe the amulet is legit to Louden searching for the coins to "complete his power" or something. Is he in this for personal gain? Has he realized that prot citing the balance between light and dark is important? Will something bad happen to him if he doesn't get the three coins?

- What's stopping him from getting it? I'm not clear if the demons and Satanists are trying to get the coins before Louden does or steal the amulet from him before he unlocks its full power. Maybe both? Anyway, vague language like "strip him of his title" isn't helping, especially since I don't know whether he wants the title and the obligations that come with it in the first place.

- How might he get what he wants? He has the mysterious priest and the cranky witch to help him, but what exactly are they helping him do? Can they help him figure out the location of the coins? Are the coins heavily guarded or hidden in dfficult to get to places? Are they going to be fighting or running from the Satanists and demons on the way?

- What happens if he succeeds? The amulet will be fully powered and....I'm not sure. Louden is still stuck protecting the balance between light and dark for the rest of his life. I assume the fully powered amulet will make that easier, but protecting the balance between light and dark is not a clearly defined task, so I'm not sure what kind of future Louden is in for. Is there a point where he starts to feel personally invested in this battle beyond "If I don't win, demons will kill me"?

- What happens if he fails? Presumably, Ezerkial rules the world. Would he use the amulet to do this, or does si ply taking the amulet away from its bearer allow the balance between light and dark to be up for grabs?

Louden's stake in this fight and the nature of the amulet need to be made clearer. The idea has potential, but the whole thing is too vague right now.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

I would avoid saying it's a hero's journey. It's fine to write a hero's journey type story, but it's not really a selling point.

Anonymous said...

I'm unclear as to the situation the world is in. Yeah, there are dragons and witches now, so what? There are dragon slayers, but I don't know if that's because dragon blood can cure cancer, because dragons take dumps on peoples houses, or if it's because they're eating schoolgirls. The only witch you've mentioned is helping out your hero, so I don't see a problem there either.

I haven't seen an imbalance between light and dark energies in what you've shown of your world. Is something out of balance currently? Is it going to become out of balance soon? Is this the same as good and evil or are we talking about issues with earth's tilt and sunlight becoming a scarce commodity in some areas? Is the Garden of Eden representing the forces of science/nature and that's supposed to be keeping a balance between light/dark/good/evil somehow?

Also, how long have the coins been missing and why hasn't anyone noticed? Are they only important because the amulet has come to light?

Quests to find items have a tendency to look like plot coupons.

I'm not certain which part of the sentence "a lifelong obligation" is referring to.

tldr: What you have here is mostly setup. I don't know how your hero feels about his stakes, and I'm not certain what the impact of his quest will be upon your world.

AA said...

Okay- a guy has unspecified powers. He needs to find three coins so demons don't strip him of his title.

My question is, why should I care? Is there anything important at stake here? I assume there is. You mention world domination, but you sort of gloss over it. I can't be sure finding three coins would really stop the world takeover. It does seem a little like plot coupons- if the hero can find three coupons he can "buy" the safety of the world. Supposing he does find them, I don't see why reading about him finding them would be particularly interesting.

I will tell you that "protagonist learning to control his/her newfound powers" is the absolute number one cliche on this blog, so that isn't doing much for me.

I would suggest a rewrite that focuses on why the amulet is important to the fate of the world and what Louden actually does in the story.

Anonymous said...

What is the past tense of "lay off the suds"?