Thursday, March 10, 2016

Face-Lift 1305

Guess the Plot

Crimson Soul

1. The Crimson God attained his unlimited power by touching the crimson stone. Now he relaxes, secure in the belief that his legion of mechanical guards will protect him from the puny slave known as "Slim."

2. Due to an extreme tie dying session, the rivers run purple, the sky's tinted green, and someone's soul got turned crimson. Only the superhero known as the Crayola Corrector can set things right.

3. Vlad has finally earned his humanity after living as a vampire for a thousand years. Only now, he is finding that living as a human is much more complicated than his previous scare, eat, and sleep un-life before.

4. The wizard Phirmigle takes over the kingdom of Tashla, imprisoning its ruler in a ruby, the Crimson Soul. When he accidentally drops the ruby in a flooding river, he also loses his magic. Maybe he should have become a rutabaga farmer. Also, selkies.

5. Only those with purple souls can enter heaven through the fast lane. Blue is almost as good, requiring only a background check. Other colors can take ages, each having it's obstacles. Bob's soul is crimson, and he's so sick of trying to cross the minefield, he's considering settling for hell.

Original Version

Dear Agent,

Since you are currently searching for young adult novels to represent ["As you represent young adult novels" would be better, but even better would be to trust that the agent knows what she is currently searching for.] please consider my completed 95,000 word science fiction/young adult manuscript, Crimson Soul. [I'd put the title, word count and genre at the end and start with the next paragraph.]

The seven comets that struck the Earth in 2017 brought more than chaos and death. Each fallen stone gave unique super-human abilities [Such as?] to anyone who touched them, but the coveted crimson stone bestowed unlimited power, turning humans into gods. [How many humans did it turn into gods?] After hording [hoarding] the mighty stone’s power for himself a being known as the Crimson God created a fortress as a monument to his great legacy. [He has a legacy already? What year is it now?] Out of fear many slaves serve him faithfully. [Does a god with unlimited power really need slaves? Seems like anything a slave can do, the god can get done with a mere thought, and without worrying that the slave will screw up or try to betray him.]

The name branded on his shoulder reads SV117, but because of his frail stature his fellow slaves call him Slim. [His real name is SV830117, but he's so slim they couldn't fit it on his shoulder.] ["Slim" sounds like a cowboy name, possibly because I'm old enough to remember Slim Pickins and country singer Slim Whitman. I Googled people named Slim, and five of the ten are rappers, including Slim Jesus and Slim Thug, so I guess it depends on what generation you're from. In any case, it's a better description of physique than stature.] [Also, I don't like getting hit with all those pronouns without knowing who they refer to. Dump that sentence and start the next one "Sixteen-year-old Slim has known ...] This sixteen-year-old knows only a life of oppression until he meets and falls for another slave, who calls herself Val. [Do these people have actual given names?] Soon his joy turns bitter [I would say it evaporates rather than turns bitter. Bitter joy doesn't make sense.] when he learns of her impending death that he inadvertently caused. [I'm not sure you can say you caused something if it hasn't happened. Perhaps he learns that his actions have resulted in her death sentence.] Now he must defy his master, to free her. Val and Slim are willing to die for their freedom, but that's not enough. [They must die and then do even more.] If facing a legion of mechanical guards seems impossible, [Defeating them seems impossible; facing them is a cinch.] than [then] besting an immortal god is suicide. [Attacking him is suicide; besting him, while unlikely, suggests coming out alive.]

I graduated in 2013 with a degree in screenwriting from Azusa Pacific University [No need to mention that.] and I co-wrote an indie script named Saint Alex (2012). [No need to mention that, either, unless it's been nominated for at least a Golden Globe.] My manuscript is available, in part or full, upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.


It seems to me that if anyone's gonna defeat the Crimson God, it's a team of people who touched the other stones, and thus have unique super powers, not a couple of his lowly slaves. What does Slim have that makes him a threat? What's his plan?

How big are the stones? Where are they? Does everyone know where they are? Do millions of people go on pilgrimages to the stones so they can have super powers, or are seven people hoarding the seven stones?

By the time this book is in bookstores, it'll probably be at least 2018, and readers will know those comets didn't hit Earth in 2017. Sort of like 2001: A Space Odyssey was intriguing in the 1990s, but now it's just a reason to mock the author for his laughable predictions.

This is all just setting up the situation. Set it up in three sentences, then tell us what happens. Tell us the story. Focus on your main character and how he plans to achieve his goal: In a world where almost everyone has a super power and many are gods, one lowly slave named Slim sets out to win his freedom and to free his true love from a god who has unlimited power and a legion of robot warriors. Start like that, except tone it down so it doesn't sound like his chances are one in a trillion times a trillion, and change his name to anything else.


Anonymous said...

Touching a comet making someone an immortal god belongs squarely in the realm of fantasy no matter how many mechanical guards there are. I don't see any other plot elements that would make this science fiction. Knowing more about what kind of ability "unlimited power" is might help sort that out. The ability to will items into existence is very different from the ability to provide electricity to every city on the planet and both could be considered unlimited power, but the more of the former you have, the more I'd define it as near-future fantasy.

You need to have someone check for grammar, spelling, and awkward phrasing.

The plot goal appears to be to defeat the crimson god, so how does the MC go about doing so? You don't need to give away the ending, but we need to know the details of his plan, some of the obstacles he encounters, and how he'll go about solving them.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

There are a number of grammatical errors in this query. I counted four, and I wasn't really looking. I would strongly suggest that you really look, after you've rewritten this.

Then apply the same treatment to your manuscript.

AA said...

"Soon his joy turns bitter when he learns of her impending death that he inadvertently caused." As was mentioned, this makes no sense unless there's some strange temporal stuff going on. You can't have caused someone's impending death.

Watch your word usage. It isn't just correct grammar that's the problem. It's knowing which word to use when. EE called out: "besting an immortal god is suicide." Besting means defeating.

It also doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you say things like "created a fortress as a monument to his great legacy." A fortress is generally used for defensive purposes, and if the god thinks he's undefeatable it makes little sense as a stylistic choice, unless he considers himself a god of war, or is protecting a cache of treasure. And what does a "monument to his legacy" mean? It's really a monument to himself, right?

Work smarter, not harder.

Eric Bendas said...

Thanks everyone. Your feedback helps a lot.