Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Face-Lift 1334

Guess the Plot

Cruel Sacrifices

1. "We all have to make sacrifices" is what Kelsie's mom told her when she drastically limited her phone time. Well, mom, say goodbye to your dragon dildo collection.

2. An imp pretends to be a genie and convinces poor 39-year-old virgin Eddie that in order to finally get laid, he first needs to perform a spell that involves sacrificing his testicles.

3. A 1980's period piece, inspired by the infamous McMartin preschool trial, featuring a bitterly divorcing couple, a desperate-to-please 4-year-old, and an eccentric, free-spirited young teacher who may or may not actually be a sadistic bride of Satan.

4. When Indigo Aimes made a deal with the devil to rule the world, he knew he would lose his wife, his children, his friends, and his soul. On the bright side, he would be immortal, eternally young, and wealthy. He didn't count on the nuclear holocaust and becoming a cockroach.

5. Jason's life is not all its cracked up to be. After a terrible accident he is left unable to eat a majority of his favorite foods. Now he must subsist on a rainbow color of supplements . . . and human flesh.

6. Dar'qhart Raevyncloake just wants to rule the world...but in this vicious satire of grimdark fantasy, he finds himself constantly having to sacrifice virgins just to prove he's Really That Evil.

7. Shannon and Andrea are the best of friends, partly because they enjoy going to parties and concerts together, but mostly because Shannon doesn't know Andrea killed Shannon's brother. Awkward. Will Andrea reveal the truth and risk sacrificing her friendship?

8. 28-year-old basement dweller Cody has finally found romance. But when his online lover, Heavenlee, insists Cody murder her abusive fundamentalist parents and all 9 of her siblings, he begins to have second thoughts. Especially when he finds out she's twelve.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Andrea is hiding a dark secret. She and her classmates played a cruel prank on a new student and he later dies [died] from it. Shannon escapes her unstable family [Wait, who's Shannon? I thought we were talking about Andrea.] and painful past by settling down in Andrea’s hometown. Shannon was that new student’s sister. [Wait, Shannon wasn't already living in Andrea's hometown, but her brother was?] [And after the students at her brother's school cause his death, Shannon decides that's the school for her?] [A high school student has an unstable family, so she moves to a new town and settles down? How is she paying her bills?] [Shannon should be introduced in a new paragraph. Her sudden appearance in paragraph 1 is jarring.] [And provide both girls' last names.]

Andrea and Shannon meet coincidentally and become close friends. They go to concerts, parties, [and] games, etc. together [ . . . until] Andrea moves on and closes that chapter on her dark past. She meets a new guy and enjoys her pleasant life [starts neglecting her friendship with Shannon]. [But] Shannon can’t move on and she constantly obsesses over her past. She rekindles the relationship with her old boyfriend and despises her new life.

[Eventually,] Shannon uncovers Andrea’s dark secret about her brother. She snaps and now she wants revenge against her best friend.

CRUEL SACRIFICES is a 51,000 word YA contemporary novel, with thriller and mystery elements. This is a standalone novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



It doesn't flow like a story. It reads more like an outline, a list of things that happen. Once you boil the story down to about ten sentences, it's time to connect ideas with smooth transitions.

Some specificity would help. What was the prank? How can a kid just move alone to a new town and start attending school? What is this past Shannon obsesses over? What are the cruel sacrifices?

Andrea enjoys her pleasant life? That's vague and doesn't sound like a description of high school.


Anonymous said...

Is this is supposed to be duel protagonists eventually fighting against each other?

If so, maybe try something like:

One paragraph intro to Andrea, the details of the prank, how she's moved on, her goals/feelings.

One paragraph intro to Shannon, her background, her feelings about what happened to her brother, her goals in her new situation.

One paragraph about Andrea and Shannon, their friendship, Shannon learning about the prank and what she plans on doing about it, how Andrea reacts, both their goals and the choices they'll need to make at the end.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

Hello, Evil editor,

Thank you for this critique. Actually, my query was completely different from this. I scrap the whole thing before submitting it because a few people told me the query below sounded too cliche but the story itself is not. Again, thanks for your help.


After committing a murder with her friends, Andrea's only now regretting it. The others don't feel guilty, and they all agree that the crime would never be solved, so they put it all behind them; but not for long. A stranger from cyberspace reaches out to Andrea, and her nightmare escalates. A shooting attempt on her life gives credence to the death threats.

After two of her accomplices turn up dead, she realizes that a killer is intent on picking them off one by one. Whoever it is that has their sights on them has to be close to her, because they know way too many personal aspects of her life. She has to make a choice: Kill or be killed, but first she has to identify her target.

CRUEL SACRIFICES is a 51,000 word YA contemporary novel, with thriller and mystery elements. This is a standalone novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Anonymous, the query you put in the comments is a lot easier to understand than the one that was posted. However, when you tell us in the first sentence that the character is "only now regretting" committing a murder, it's hard to sympathize with her. And we need to sympathize with her.

Evil Editor said...

In the first version it was a prank, which I took to mean a prank-gone-wrong that resulted in an accidental death. Now it's murder, which I take to mean they decided to kill the guy. What exactly happened?

khazar-khum said...

An accident is forgiveable. A murder isn't. "We were horsing around in the old barn to scare Jimmy when he fell onto a rake and died" vs "We shoved a rake though Jimmy's heart to shut his ass up".

But that's just the beginning.

The 2 queries sound like radically different books.

Shannon could move off by herself so long as there was a family member or trusted fried to stay with.

Anonymous said...

Evil editor,

Andrea's friends played a prank on the guy. One of the girls pretended to be his girlfriend and broke up with him. He becomes angry and they got into a fight at a party and he trips on concrete and dies.

It is an accidental death but the friends become afraid and lie to the police how he died--they said that he was drunk and fell and omit the fight.

Anonymous said...

Is this a party where only the friends were present? If not, there are witnesses to the fight. More witnesses is good for suspense: it means lots more potential culprits. On the other hand, the police aren't stupid. Although if it is an accident caused by himself, it's an accident, no matter who he was fighting with (assuming by fight you mean argument, not guns and knives). If it's reckless endangerment or something the police closing in on the truth could add to the suspense.

Regarding the two queries, the first one is more confusing, but also has more specifics about who's involved. I think it could be cleaned up to make the story sound interesting. The second one is clearer, but also sounds like the generic plot of a teen slasher flick -- it needs more details to make it sound like a uniquely story.

fwiw, the kill or be killed line sounds more like intentional murder, which your MC is considering adding to.