Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Face-Lift 1340

Guess the Plot

Red-Eyed Daniel

1. A 2.30 am flight over the Bermuda Triangle returns sans passengers and pilot. No one is sure how it landed safely. The black box recording only has noisy static, and one blip of sound that might or might not be someone screaming Red-eyed Daniel in Taiwanese.

2. Lurking above Silverwood lake is the remains of a burnt mill. In that ruin waits the ghostly fiend known as Red-Eyed Daniel. The kids from Cal State San Bernardino who party there all think it's a legend--until one night in June.

3. Everyone thought Daniel's eyes always showed up red in pictures due to the mysteries of photography. Everyone was wrong. He really is a demon, and he must corrupt three innocent souls to return to hell. The problem? Finding three innocent souls.

4. Daniel, a twenty-year-old 747 jet, longs for retirement. He wishes he could just fly short hops during the day, when his eyesight is at its best. Yet Daniel is stuck on the nightly LA-NY red-eye schedule, and he's not sure how much longer he can take it. But when he meets a shiny new Airbus determined to take over his route, Daniel vows to take up the fight... and the flight.

5. Daniel has a choice. Give the demon who kidnapped his mother what he wants, and become a demon himself, or swallow a live roach. Sure, it seems like an easy decision, but you haven't seen the size of the roach.

6. Daniel has a long trip to make at a terrible time. Can he make it through 11 hours of children crying, terrible food, and absolutely no leg room? He will, thanks to a little dimension hopping and a shadow monster from a bad inflight movie. 

7. He really shouldn't have had that last drink. Now Daniel's eyes are bloodshot, his almost-girlfriend recently confessed she now wants to go by the name of Andrew, and some mafia folk think he is someone else, and want their money back. Maybe another drink will help.

8. Freda Foxx has a problem: her eyes are red during the day as well as at night. Thus, she is an outcast among the foxes. Then she meets Daniel, a Sherwood Forest hare, with the same affliction. Together they join The Red-Eyed League, a charity adjacent to the Bank of London. The two are paid two thousand pounds per week for trivial work. One morning the charity office is left vacant and they are arrested as accessories to bank robbery. Also, Sherlock Holmes.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Fifteen-year-old Daniel Venture knows two things for sure: 1. His mother is held hostage in a parallel world. 2. There's no way in hell he will do nothing about it.

When he crosses the bridge between the universes, he finds a world where demons freely roam the streets and kill people, [and] noticeboards hunt for telekinesis experts (twenty years’ experience, high salary assured), and telethoughts are used to message brief thoughts.

He discovers that only soldiers can protect citizens from demons, like the creature who kidnapped his mother. Then Daniel learns something else: If he wants to battle the kidnapper, he must join a military academy and become a demon slayer himself. [Maybe it's just laziness, but I think I'd just inform the soldiers that my mother needs rescuing, rather than spend however many months or years training in a military academy while my mother is being tortured by demons. The soldiers are probably better at rescue operations than Daniel will ever be.]

Daniel is prepared. [Daniel's training goes quickly.] Learn this world’s bizarre physics. Cram for parapsychology. Swallow a living roach to inoculate himself against demons. [If that's all it takes to inoculate yourself, seems like everyone would be inoculated.] [Everyone except me, of course, as I'll surrender my soul to the demons long before I'll swallow a live roach.] [So these people the demons roam the streets killing all refuse to swallow a roach?] But he’s not prepared to discover that his body contains an immense telekinetic energy. Asmodeus, one of the most powerful demons, wants this energy so much that he ordered to kidnap his mother [orchestrated Daniel's mother's kidnapping], knowing Daniel would follow, and fall into his trap. Now Daniel must choose: give Asmodeus the energy he wants and join him and his demons, or sacrifice himself to kill the demon. [I'd give him the energy, even knowing he'd probably kill me and my mother with it, because I'm a spiritual weakling.] 

RED-EYED DANIEL is a YA paranormal mystery, which draws on demons and other elements from the Jewish mythology. It is complete at 92,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


So Asmodeus kidnapped mom instead of Daniel because kidnapping people with lots of telekinetic energy is impossible or dangerous? And now this powerful demon on his home turf can't take Daniel's telekinetic energy, but Daniel can give it to him?

I think I'd like to know why telekinesis experts are in demand, and why Asmodeus wants Daniel's telekinetic energy. We're talking about the ability to move objects without touching them, right? It sounds more like a parlor trick than a useful weapon against humans or demons. I suppose if a demon can't personally harm a human who's swallowed a roach, being able to mentally tip over a dresser onto the human is the next best thing. 

You spend a lot of space setting up Daniel's situation with what he knows and discovers and learns. Here's the setup: Asmodeus, one of the most powerful demons, has lured 15-year-old Daniel Venture into a parallel universe by kidnapping Daniel's mother. The demon wants Daniel's powerful telekinetic energy in order to _________. To save his mother and himself, Daniel must train to become a demon slayer.

That gets Daniel into Asmodeus's world without us wondering how he happens to find a bridge between universes. And leaves plenty of room to tell us how Daniel plans to rescue his mom and what goes wrong, and what's at stake for the people of Earth if he fails.


Anonymous said...

It does seem like it might have been a better idea for Asmodeus to orchestrate Daniel's kidnapping before he has a chance to figure out how to use his tele-whatsis.

E. said...

Thank you for your comments. I realize now that I hit the send button too soon. It should be "inoculate...against demon diseases" and not just against demons (this way, it does sound strange). But this book doesn't concentrate on how he will find his mother, only how he will train to gain the ability to fight the demon, so later on he will find his mother.
"Daniel is prepared" - I see this is confusing, because you thought that his training goes quickly and "he is prepared" means he is prepared now, but that's not what I meant. I meant "he is prepared to do anything to become a demon slayer."

Anonymous said...

One thought that came to mind is just how sure is Daniel that the mother he went dimension hopping for really is his mother? After all, since we are dimension hopping, how do we know it isn't this parallel dimension's version of his mother?

St0n3henge said...

It sounds interesting. However, there are TONS of books out there with this combination of elements: "Teenager discovers he has magical/special powers" + "teenager travels to magical land to save kidnapped family member." I mean, a LOT. I'm thinking whatever happens in this book better be spectacular. But you're saying it's mostly his training? Unless this training is the most interesting thing I've ever read I can't see foisting another one of these books on the general public.

Maybe I'm wrong, but if I am, your query needs to show that the book is really good. Otherwise you're going to get, "Not another one of these!" which is never the reaction you want.

CavalierdeNuit said...

This sounds more like middle grade. Rescuing one's mother is sweet, but not really exciting. Does Daniel have a love interest? Would be hot and more YA if she were a buxom demon.

E. said...

AA, that's the book I wrote... It just might be one of those books. I love this genre, so this is the reason I wrote it. :-( [He discovers the powers in the end, not the beginning, if it makes any difference..]
What do you suggest "to show that the book is really good"?

CavalierdeNuit said...

Unless he has an Oedipus complex and his mom had him really young...

Anonymous said...

From your comments, it sounds like Daniel doesn't find his mother and rescue her in this book.

What does Daniel accomplish by the end of the book? The query needs to focus on that story, not on what happens later in a different book.

St0n3henge said...

I think Anon. 5:08 hit it on the head here.

If he learns to use his powers at least some during the book, that could be cool, but you say he doesn't. So, that's out.

It sounds like he doesn't actually get to the saving of his mom until the end of the book or even the next book. So, that's out.

The rest is training. Well, what does that look like? How does he train? Any specific incidents? Any interesting instructors or other students?
You've told us what the book is supposed to be about, but not what it's actually like.

E. said...

He actually does learn to use his powers by the end of the book. And his training - that's what I've mentioned: learn the physics, parapsychology - that's part of the training. I think mentioning specific incidents would be too much for the query, don't you think? That would be getting into really small details.
And he accomplishes the knowledge about his powers, that only happens in the end.

St0n3henge said...

Yeah, it's tricky, I know. But when you say "learn the physics," that can mean a lot of things. It's too vague for me to form a picture in my head. One or two one-sentence examples could help.
For instance, in Minecraft, the only blocks that fall are sand and gravel. A block of glass will happily stay suspended in midair for all the world to see. That's physics I had to learn.

As far as parapsychology, I'm old enough to automatically think the X Files. It also covers a lot of ground.
What you mentioned specifically is telekinesis, but I think it's been pointed out that we don't know if this is Carrie-level stuff here. Does it start by bending spoons? Does he learn to start fires with his mind?

Everyone has a different image of what certain words mean. You know your book because you wrote it. We don't. That's why you have to make it clearer.