Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Face-Lift 1394

Guess the Plot

Who Pours Out Vengeance

1. Kill Bill, The Musical.

2. When Saphrina is reincarnated in her dead daughter's body after being burned alive, she enlists the help of a handsome time traveler and a witty shapeshifter to take revenge on her ex-husband.

3. Who sows discontent. Who harvests wrath. Who claims greed. Who shops for arguments. Who neglects their own interest. You too can raise your own Who zoo, now with a pachyderm-skin carrying case.

4. When he accidentally catches a fanfic spawned cannibal cult in the act, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things: 1) he should have charged his cell phone last night, and 2) he shouldn't have skipped out on early morning jogging.

5. Randy Boilermaker is your stereotypical bartender, always ready to listen to your sob story while dispensing gallons of alcohol to drown your sorrows. But after closing time he puts on superhero tights and sets the world to rights, dispensing oceans of pain and justice on those who done you wrong.

6. After Rory MacLean's farm is wiped out in a Campbell raid he sets about igniting a war between them and the English with the help of two tons of gunpowder currently locked in a border fort, a talking raven, and a friend named McGuyver.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

When presidential candidate Oren Loresmeth of the Infinite Isles throws his wife aside for a woman closer in age to his daughter, [I would say "a woman not much older than his daughter." If you mean closer in age to his daughter than to his current wife, that isn't necessarily a big difference.] his ex Saphrina only plans to take revenge in the form of a vicious divorce battle. [Is it okay to call her his ex before they're divorced?] Then someone curses her to burn alive inside her car. [How do they know the fire was caused by a curse?]

Two months later, Saphrina wakes up on a morgue slab—in the cold body of her sixteen-year-old daughter. After Saphrina’s death, her son was murdered and her daughter committed suicide. Saphrina doesn’t know why she resurrected in the wrong body [She can hardly come back in her own body if it was incinerated in a car fire.] or who caused her children’s deaths, [Her daughter's death was caused by her daughter according to the previous sentence.] but she’ll hunt them down with the fury of an avenging mother.

She allies with a handsome time-traveler [Life tip #23: When someone tells you he's a time traveler, be skeptical. He's probably just trying to get you in the sack.] [Of course, since he's handsome, maybe you're okay with that.] and a witty shapeshifter who both want revenge on the same people. [The same people as each other or the same people as Saphrina? I thought Saphrina didn't know who she wanted revenge on.] [You could name her allies. For instance, shapeshifter Odo and time traveler Marty McFly.] Her ex-husband is at the top of everyone’s shit list,

[Odo's Shit List

Saphrina's ex-husband

Gul Dukat

Marty McFly's Shit List

Saphrina's ex-husband

Biff Tannen
Ronald Reagan

Saphrina's Shit List

My ex-husband

Whoever burned my new car
My ex-husband's whore]

but he’s protected by powerful magic. [So they decide to kill Biff instead.]

Saphrina must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to take him down: the lives of innocents, her country, or her new friends. [Sacrifice the country. Who wants to live in a country where random people would happily curse you to burn alive in your car if you accidentally cut them off in traffic.] Saphrina believes she has nothing left to lose, but when her revenge endangers the last person left who she cares about, she must decide if murdering her old love is worth sacrificing her new one. [That's two consecutive sentences that include what Saphrina "must decide."] [Also, can't her old love wake up on a morgue slab in two weeks?]

WHO POURS OUT VENGEANCE is an 82,000 word fantasy novel where the schemes of Six of Crows meet the vicious political intrigue of Best Served Cold.


Presumably, the ex-husband is responsible for the deaths of Saphrina's children, as it's hard to imagine her considering sacrificing innocents, her country and her friends just because he left her for a younger woman. But you claim she doesn't know who caused her children’s deaths.

Who is the last person left who she cares about?

Who cursed her to burn alive?

In a world where resurrection is real, what's the point of cursing people to die or murdering them or committing suicide?

The title comes from chapter 35 of The Count of Monte Cristo: "Hatred is blind, rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught." Maybe that sentence, or the part after the semicolon should be put right before the text begins. Then change the title of the book to A Bitter Draught.

A curse, a time traveler, a shapeshifter, powerful magic, and resurrection. That's a lot for us to buy into in a nine-sentence summary of your book. As there's no time traveling or shape shifting in the query, we may not need to know Saphrina's allies have these abilities. And we don't need to know the fire was caused by someone's curse, as we don't know who or why.

Perhaps it would hold together if we focus on Saphrina's new love, and her dilemma when she discovers he'll die if she succeeds in getting her revenge.

P1: Saphrina wakes on a morgue slab, realizes she's been killed, discovers her children are dead, and sets out to hunt the villain down with the fury of an avenging mother

P2: She meets up with two men also seeking revenge on this villain (who I'm guessing is her ex). What's their plan? What goes wrong? What's plan B?

P3: What decision must she make? Apparently her choices are let the villain go free, or kill him (temporarily?) while also causing her new love's (at least temporary) death?

I'm forced to wonder how many people in this world have the ability to time travel. To shape shift. To reincarnate. To wield powerful magic. To curse others. Does everyone have at least one power? Or are the four characters in the query the only ones with powers?


Anonymous said...

My guess is the time travel came to stop the ex from being elected, which will mean he ceases to exist and they end up replacing the ex with the shapeshifter instead :/

I shouldn't have to guess what the plot is

Author, you have too many unneeded details on the set up and not enough on everything else. If there are more suspects for deaths of the children than the ex, we need to know who, otherwise don't talk about it like it's a mystery. The country and new friends are pretty obvious, but which innocents are we talking about sacrificing, and why does MC get to decide? What makes her the key player here?

You don't indicate in the given plot that there are schemes or political intrigue afoot. If you're going to comp it, it might be a good idea to give more details that would indicate you're doing so realistically than simply that the ex is a politician

Also, it could just be me but new love while occupying body of dead teenage daughter is a bit squick

good luck
if you revise, we'll take another look

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the critique, I found it very helpful!