Friday, October 14, 2011
Guess the Plot
Phantoms in Stone
1. The most exciting activity in Darren's day is skimming stones across the water for 3, 4, even 5 skips. He is delighted when he finds the perfect skimming stone -- it does TEN skips -- but when it turns and skips right back to him, he realizes he is his planet's only hope against the . . . Phantoms in Stone! Sometimes it sucks being eight years old.
2. When Miri is framed for murder, the villain escapes via a ring of monolithic stones . . . a time machine! Now Miri must choose: chase the villain into time and apprehend him, or stay and face a murder charge and lethal punishment. Sometimes it sucks being twelve years old.
3. It isn't easy being a ghost. Especially when you get stuck in a statue and must learn to animate it. Can Nella win the heart of hunky Dorian when she's inside a replica of Michaelangelo's David? Sometimes it sucks being fifteen.
4. According to legend, the boulders of Blacklow are home to King Arthur and his knights, who still undertake heroic missions. But how does a poor little waif inspire them to pop out and murder her evil stepfather? Sometimes it sucks being six.
5. Ghosts in the machine, spirits in the linoleum -- these were things Stephanie could take -- but could her demon whispering skills handle the new threat trying to cross the life-afterlife divide.....phantoms in stone? Sometimes it sucks being fourteen.
6. Stone, Arkansas is just a boring little town, until a clan of ghosts move in and enroll at Stone Central High. Two hawt phantom guys, Chance and Dearborn, are both crushing on 16-year-old Dakota Edwards. Dakota can't choose between them. Sometimes it sucks being sixteen.
12-year old Miri wants to be a Master Instructor at the Academy.
But girls can’t be masters, or so her fellow male Scholars attest. [I know exactly where this is going. Miri works twice as hard as the boys and becomes the best Master Instructor of them all.]
Then a colleague frames her for murder and escapes through the Halo and into the Timestream. [What the--? Okay, I'm man enough to admit I didn't see that coming.]
Her choice is clear: make the Crossing into the Timestream and apprehend the real villain, and possibly die in the attempt, or suffer the lethal punishment the remaining Masters will impose. [Referring to the "remaining" Masters implies that the villain is a Master. When the villain was referred to as Miri's colleague, I assumed he was a Scholar. In any case, what powers does this 12-year-old girl have that would enable her to apprehend anyone in the Timestream?] [Wait, a lethal punishment for a 12-year-old girl?]
If she succeeds, then there is a high probability she can return to her Academic life. If she fails, then her rogue colleague will succeed in re-writing history, and white her out in the process. [If people don't regularly enter the Timestream, then it seems unlikely Miri would be worried about the villain rewriting history and whiting her out. More likely she'd assume he entered the Timestream just to hide.]
Her journey takes her to Eirinn, where Otherwordly travelers are legend but the fear of them is real. And her particular mathematical skills are not entirely welcomed by the natives. If she can’t come to terms with her reluctant guardian [When did she acquire a guardian?] she could be hanged for witchery. And then there are druids to avoid, a mythical stone of great power that might help her get home, and the usual pangs of growing up to manage. Even the self-reliant Miri comes to realize that every girl needs a hero. [This paragraph would be better used telling us how Miri plans to find and bring the villain home than in listing random stuff.]
Phantoms in Stone is a fantasy novel of 85,000 words. If you would like to read more of them, I am happy to send them along. Thank you for your time.
[The Academy is what is left of a dying world and the Halo is a time machine in the form of a ring of monolithic stones. No one has been able to use it for anything other than viewing specific time quanta through a portal, and the secret to its real function has been lost. Framed for murder, Miri must follow the real villian into the Timestream, where she discovers that some of the things she's been seeing - lush vegitation, warrior queens, and a mysterious man with green eyes - aren't just phantoms in a stonework frame.] [Good move, leaving the phrase "specific time quanta" out of the actual query.] [If everyone believes the things seen in the Halo are just phantoms, rather than scenes being played out at other times, why does the term "Timestream" even exist? If no one has been able to use the Halo for anything except viewing things through a portal, how is it the villain is able to use it to escape and Miri to follow him? Why hasn't anyone else stumbled upon how to use it?] [Not clear what you mean by The Academy is what is left of a dying world. Is it a school? It's all that's left of an entire world?]
Do we need to capitalize so many words? I can handle some of them, but "Academic," "Crossing," "Otherworldly," "Scholars"?
The first four paragraphs are each one sentence, wasting valuable space.
Wouldn't the fact that the person Miri says framed her has suddenly fled into the Timestream bolster her claim of innocence?
Entering the Timestream is like falling down the rabbit hole. Finding the way home seems enough of a challenge without having to apprehend a villain and bring him home with you. And bringing him back doesn't mean he's going to confess that it was a frame-up anyway. Why would someone frame a child for murder? Whose murder?
A Scholar at the Academy is believed to have committed a capital crime, and isn't incarcerated in some way?
I would start over. Something like: When Scholar Lloyd Lamamour is found murdered at the Academy, all evidence points to 12-year-old Miri. She knows it's a frame job, but when she chases down the real villain, Hannibal Lecter III, he vanishes into the Halo, a ring of monolithic stones that permits time travel. Now Miri must decide whether to follow Lecter III into the Timestream or return to the Academy where a lethal injection awaits her.
Then something about how she finds Lecter III and what obstacles may prevent her from bringing him home.