Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New Beginning 1029

The trees didn’t say a word. They never did. They watched. They always watched. Well, today, I watched them right back. I stood in the middle of the dog park, staring at the woods in the distance. The trees huddled together like giant aliens, studying me for some crazy experiment. The leaves flickered in the breeze as if a million green fingers were reaching out, begging me to come inside.

So weird.

Sure, Mom’s warning blared in my head for the millionth time. I mean it, Cody. It’s too dangerous. Gangs and drug addicts hang out in those woods. You’re never to go in there. Understand? Never.

I stared at the trees. Never? Like never ever? But my friends would be stinking jealous if I went in the woods without them. This time, I’d have all the great stories to tell when they got back from summer camp.

Sweat dripped down my face and I wiped it with my t-shirt. Matt and Zach left for camp yesterday. They were probably swimming in that freeze-your-toes-off lake right now. Lucky turds. The only water I’d get to swim in was in the bathtub.

But that wouldn't be so bad if it was the giant alien trees' bathtub, cause it would have to be as big as the lake, only deeper and there'd be whales I could ride and I'd have my own personal submarine with torpedoes to blow up sea monsters and save the world from Aquaman's enemies now that he's too old to be fighting underwater supervillains like The Malignant Amoeba and The Human Flying Fish and Aquabeast. Plus I'd have my own enemies like Sharkwoman and The Electric Eel, and Captain Piranha. And there'd be pirates, of course, and crocodiles and daily sharknadoes and my weapons would be spear guns and rubberduck grenades and I'd have a sidekick named Squirt and they'd call me--

"Cody," Mom yelled. "Time to go home for your bath."


Opening: Diane Adrian.....Continuation:Evil Editor

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Synopsis 41

Ratman's Revenge

When eleven-year-old CODY feels left out and alone [abandoned] by his too-busy divorced parents and his off-at-summer-camp friends, he ventures into the woods for the first time. There he meets two kids who claim to live in a city deep below the surface of the earth where everyone has amazing paranormal abilities. Of course, Cody doesn’t believe them. [Of course. But later when no one believes Cody about seeing a man-sized rat, he won't understand how they can be so dense.]

The next day, Cody’s mom bails on him when she starts dating a new guy, and Cody’s dad says he’s moving to across the country with his giggly girlfriend. Cody has had enough and storms off to the woods. This time, he begs the kids to take him to their underground city. Even though [when] they warn him [that] once he goes down, he can never go home again, Cody is all-in. [He can never go home because it's against the rules or because it's physically impossible?]

With strange caves to explore and plenty of new friends with crazy abilities, Cody thinks he’s scored the perfect new home. Except outsiders from the surface are not allowed. [So the kids who brought him down and the plenty of new friends he's made are unaware that surfacians aren't allowed?] But when Cody is discovered by the Council of Elders, instead of executing him, they ask for his help. [If execution is the usual penalty for being there, you'd think that would have been mentioned by the kids who brought him down.] With his knowledge of the surface, he may be able to find out what happened to their missing Detectors, the citizens who protect the underground city by patrolling the surface.

As a way to find the Detectors, the council wants to teach Cody paranormal abilities and create a psychic link between Cody and the Detectors. [Have they tried creating a psychic link between the two kids Cody met in the woods and the Detectors?] Cody is determined to help his new home [friends]. The problem is, he’s failing his simplest paranormal classes, and a man-sized rat, RATMAN, attacks [him] every step of the way by using paranormal abilities to create Cody’s dangerous “accidents.”

Since Cody is the only one who sees the giant rat, no one [else] believes Ratman exists. So while Cody struggle[s] to find the Detectors, he wants to figure out who or what Ratman is and why he’s attacking him.

When Cody finally develops visions in his meditation class, he gets glimpses into the mind of Ratman. He discovers [that Ratman is usually thinking about cheese.] there’s a real man behind the rat illusion, [If you're gonna create the illusion that you're an animal, you oughta be able to come up with something better than a rat.] and that man is a vengeful council member, KIRK, who has been using the missing Detectors to locate a mysterious power source that can create an earthquake. Cody fears Kirk is about to get his revenge for the death of his family by destroying the city with a man-made earthquake. [This is the plot of that Star Trek episode where Kirk destroys the planet Romulus as revenge for some Romulan woman digging Spock more than she digs Kirk.] [Also, how did this Elder's family die? Unless everyone in the city was responsible, destroying the city seems like overkill.]

But when the entire Council of Elders is the next to disappear, it’s up to Cody and his friends to stop Kirk. [I see we've decided to call him Kirk instead of Ratman. If Ratman is an illusion and is actually Captain Kirk in a rat costume, maybe the title should be Kirk's Revenge. You'd see huge sales to Trekkies who think it's fanfic.] Despite their best efforts, one of Cody’s friends is killed [The one in the red uniform shirt.] and the remaining friends are held under Kirk’s hypnotic spell.

As the earth begins to shake, Cody is left to face Kirk’s wrath [The Wrath of Kirk] alone and save his new home. Cody draws on the simple talents he had on the surface—quick thinking and telling a convincing lie—to deceive Kirk and refocus the power source to kill him. [Quick thinking and lying may be useful talents, but do they allow you to refocus a power source that's causing an earthquake so that it kills one wererat?] The council and the Detectors are then freed from Kirk’s control.


If these other kids are able to come to the surface, why wouldn't Cody be able to come back and go home?

Are the people who were unable to see Ratman able to see Kirk?

Hard to believe they pin all their hopes on an eleven-year-old stranger who fails even the simplest paranormal classes, just because he has some familiarity with the planet's surface. It would be easier to have Cody teach someone who aced his paranormal classes about the surface.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Face-Lift 1212

Guess the Plot

Ratman's Revenge

1. When Batman's latest movie is turned into a laughing stock thanks to a typo, the caped crusader goes on the rampage, clad in garments sourced from the gutter. Can the Joker persuade his nemesis to get real for the good of comics buffs worldwide? Or will he too run afoul of the errant wordsmith, and forever be cast as...the Poker? Or the PUKER?

2. When he discovers an awesome underground city with crystal caves and super-powered friends, Cody is thrilled. He's ready to make it his permanent home. Now, if only that mutant man-sized rat would quit trying to exterminate him.

3. In a damp cave where all God's creatures used to scurry and play, one lone rat hides. With one arm in a sling and two whiskers singed to the nubs, he waits, plotting his revenge.

4. Detailing Andrew Ratman's lifelong campaign to wreak vengeance on anybody who does so much as snicker at his name when introduced.

5. Ratman has successfully defeated the Diddler, Shoe-Face, and Gnatwoman. But when DC Comics lawyers coming knocking at the Ratcave door, can he convince them that he's not infringing on their copyrights? Or will Ratman meet his end at the hands of Cease-and-Desist Man?

6. Exterminator JC Bardley hasn't had a good day. His wife left him for the deli guy; his daughter called from Swarthmore, telling him she needs more money; and his son got thrown off the track team for something that happened in the showers. So when his accountant calls to say the tax man cometh, he heads for the company truck. It's time for the . . . Ratman's Revenge.

Dear Evil Editor:

When eleven-year-old Cody sneaks into an underground city, he battles a giant rat with paranormal powers determined to exterminate him. [We don't need this sentence; it's all repeated later on, except Cody's age, which can be added at the start of the next sentence.]

Cody is fed up with feeling [feels] left-out when his friends go off to summer camp and his too-busy-to-care divorced parents bail on him again. He ventures into the woods for the first time and discovers a tunnel leading to a city hidden underground with crystal caves, slugs-and-bugs soup, and new friends with awesome abilities like reading minds and seeing visions. [In some cities, seeing visions is considered less an ability than an affliction.]

Best. Home. EVER. [A place where people can read my mind doesn't sound so great to me, but of course when I was an eleven-year-old I probably didn't constantly imagine my teacher naked.]

But Cody’s new adventures take a pants-wetting turn when the people who protect the city, the Detectors, start disappearing. [That doesn't sound like a pants-wetting turn. More like a mere downturn or setback.] Without their warnings, the city could get blind-sided by earthquakes, floods, or invasions by deadly beasts. Using their psychic abilities, the city’s leaders discover someone is controlling the minds of the Detectors, but they have no idea who or why.

Cody isn’t about to let his new home come crashing down around him, but every time he tries to help, a mutant man-sized rat attacks him. Ratman roasts Cody with a hot crystal, pushes him down the Devil’s Mouth hole, and tries to drown him in the river. [Now those sound like pants-wetting turns.]

But Cody can’t stop. His clues point to Ratman as the one controlling the Detectors. And since Cody is the only one who sees the giant rat, no one else believes the freaky fur-face even exists. [Not that it matters, but is Ratman invisible to others, or does he attack only when no one else is around?]

It’s up to Cody to trap Ratman in time to save the Detectors and the city from whatever this whiskered weirdo is plotting. Or at least before Ratman’s next attack actually kills Cody.

RATMAN’S REVENGE, 76,000 words, may appeal to readers of Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven and Jeanne DuPrau’s The City of Ember. I am enclosing the synopsis below per your guidelines.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,

(my info)


Usually when you seek revenge, it's on someone who's wronged you. If no one even believes Ratman exists, how will anyone know why he wants revenge? How satisfying will Ratman's revenge be if no one knows what they did to incur his wrath? In Revenge of the Nerds, the revenge wouldn't have been nearly as sweet if the Nerds had simply bombed the jocks' frat house and the jocks all died never knowing what hit them. In Revenge of the Sith . . . well, I never saw that one, having given up on Star Wars after the Jar Jar Binks episode.

All of which is why you should change the title to Cody Cooper and the Mutant Man-sized Rat. This makes it easy to name all the sequels, i.e. Cody Cooper and the Mutant Man-sized Porcupine.

Other than that, it does sound like something kids would dig. Although it's often said that kids like to read about older kids, so if you want your audience to include 11-year-olds, you could make Cody 13.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Face-Lift 1211

Guess the Plot

Wyverns of Mass Destruction

1. A disabled American carpet salesman is tricked into leading an air force of dragons against the US military.

2. When the King orders the Dragon Defense Program dismantled and all dragons and dragon-like creatures killed, it's up to Grahm Merrikon to find peacetime applications for his beloved flock of wyverns.

3. US forces rekindle the ire of worldwide Geekdom when they raid an Iraqi warehouse looking for wyverns of mass destruction but find only... dragons.

4. Galankitus has found his perfect weapon: Wyverns of Mass Destruction. But General Lossone can't figure out how to pronounce it. Is it Wivverns, or Whyverns? And if he orders the wrong group into battle, what will Galankitus do to him?

5. Miles Carmichael directs B grade (ok Z grade) movies. His small cult following (emphasis on the cult) frequently volunteer as extras. Unfortunately their shennanigans have gotten him trapped in his latest film while the monsters terrorize Hollywood. Can a ditzy actress rescue him? Without a raise?

6. A Catholic mass is interrupted when giant serpents rampage through the vestibule. Signior Adorno assumed the horsemen would arrive on, you know, horses, but either way, he's gearing up to stop the Apocalypse—with the help of his childhood love and a homeless Shiba Inu.

7. Johnny always knew he’d start the apocalypse. It wasn’t because of the hoard of Wyverns he was raising and equipping with enriched uranium, it was because he was born on the 6th of July 2006. Wait, July is the 7th month, maybe it was the Wyverns.

8. Physicist Boris Fridkin never expected his government's secret nuclear tests to unearth an ancient cache of reptilian eggs. When the irradiated eggs begin to hatch, revealing monstrous creatures from another age, Boris must race to find the finest knightly re-enactor from all the renaissance fairs in the world - the only person capable of stopping the . . . Wyverns of Mass Destruction.

9. The story of a hyperactive dragon with concentration problems, who is seeking a…Hey! Is that a squirrel?

10. Princess Jessica vows to hunt down the fierce Wyverns of Qari. After many adventures, Jessica is faced with the most important decision of her young life -- whether to admit she knew all along that Qari WMDs never existed

Original Version

Michael Boorley thought he was fighting for his country. Tell that to the American soldiers he’s killed.

The last thing Michael’s father said before driving into a semi was ["Aughghghghhhhhhhh!!!] that Michael didn’t deserve to join the Air Force. The resulting accident crippled Michael’s right hand [Manually disabled] and ended his dream of becoming a pilot until twenty years later, when brilliant young scientist Phyllis Harper invites him to join the next generation of combat pilots: a group calling themselves the [Afflicted Airmen? Prosthetic Pilots? Lofty Lefties?] First Wing. He’s pretty skeptical about how she’ll transform a middle-aged carpet salesman into a soldier, but when a beautiful woman invites you on an all-expense-paid trip, you go.

But Phyllis’s vision for the future of air warfare doesn’t involve planes. Instead, she modifies his DNA [This is why, when a beautiful woman invites you on an all-expense-paid trip, you don't go.] and binds his brain to a genetically-engineered dragon. Since the pilots of the First Wing were assembled from a cast of fugitives, drug addicts, and all-out rejects, Michael has no clue why Phyllis recruited him in the first place, [In the kingdom of society's dregs, the carpet salesman is king.] let alone why she assigned him to ride the Wing’s alpha dragon—five hundred pounds of wings, muscle, and a bad attitude.

But when the Wing’s territory is invaded by armed drones and commandos, Michael discovers that shooting down aircraft from the back of a giant reptile is a great way to earn the respect of the Wing’s other pilots. Six weeks later, he’s appointed the Wing’s field commander. [In the kingdom of bilateral upper extremity paralysis, the one-handed man is field commander.] Even his father would be proud of that.

Then he’s captured. He learns the invaders belong to the real Air Force—[Shouldn't he have noticed the insignia on the planes he was shooting down?] and Phyllis is working for a terrorist group dedicated to exposing America’s greatest vulnerability. [Our vulnerability to a dragon air force.] His captors offers [offer] him a deal: spill the Wing’s battle plans or face execution for treason. With hours to go until the Wing is extinguished, Michael’s got to choose between helping [the] country his father would have died for—or risking his life to escape and save the only place where he’s ever felt like a hero. [Won't he feel like a hero if he prevents these terrorists from destroying America with dragons?] [If the Wing is going to be extinguished within hours, why does the US want Michael to reveal their battle plans? It's like sinking a pirate ship and when you capture the one survivor you ask him who he's planning to attack next.]

WYVERNS OF MASS DESTRUCTION is what you'd get if Tom Clancy wrote 'His Majesty's Dragon'. [Novik's dragon air force attacking ships and ground forces in Napoleonic times was nothing compared with your dragon air force defeating modern fighter jets.] It's 200,000 words long and told from seven different points of view.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


Michael isn't the only one wondering why Phyllis recruited him. What's he got that other potential terrorist dragon pilots don't?

A crippled hand doesn't strike me as so horrendous that I'd be an outcast and would agree to let someone modify my DNA. I think you need to explain how Mike gets talked into this. Whom does he think he's fighting against before he finds out it's the US?

Exposing America’s greatest vulnerability sounds like a good thing to do. Phyllis is doing more than exposing it, she's attacking it. Whatever "it" is. I suppose if America were conquered by a dragon air force tomorrow, Republicans would blast Obama for not seeing it as our greatest vulnerability.

If you can't shorten this by half, can you find a stopping place near the middle and turn the rest into Book 2?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Face-Lift 1210

Guess the Plot


1. Tin Woodsman, a cyborg with a dark past, is sent to Oz intergalactic prison to pay for his crimes.

2. Just when the Karkonians and the Malabahians are about to go to war, Laura White, the cruel and ruthless teenaged warrior leading the Karkonians, must contend with her own sister's rebel army. Is destroying your own sister good tactics, or just . . . heartless?

3. Are all men as cruel as the one who just burned Ellie? We're about to find out, because now it's her turn to hurt someone stupid enough to believe in love.

4. When a man is found dead with his chest ripped open and his heart missing, homicide detective Chris Sanchez knows two things: the guy didn’t die from natural causes, and the guy isn’t his AWOL partner Zack Martinez.

5. Curmudgeonly New York editor R. J. Calhoun is gravely ill. Without a heart transplant, he won't live more than a few weeks. Fortunately, his gifted cardiologist is Dr. Tracey Spellman. Unfortunately, Calhoun recently rejected the good Doctor's manuscript.

6. Rupert is a golem. Except for a heart, he has everything any golem could want: a strong body of stone and steel, eternal 'life', and a brain as sharp as a tack—in fact, made of brass tacks. But while Goldberg, Rupert's sorcerer, was off getting him a heart, priests caught Goldberg and burned him to death. Now poor Rupert wanders the Earth searching for a heart.

7. Cynthia's older sister Prue steals and uploads Cynthia's personal diary to the school website. She makes out with Cynthia's boyfriend at her own sweet sixteen and donates Cyn's brand new dress to the Goodwill. Ready for bloody vengeance, Cynthia discovers a voodoo spell which means she can torture Prue in any way she wants on the condition she promises to give her heart away. Trouble is, Cyn doesn't realise that's literal.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Laura White has been destined to become Karkonia's queen since her childhood, when her older brother renounced his claim to the throne and her older sister betrayed the family by joining a group of rebels aimed at destroying their father's imperialistic reign over the country. [Usually in these stories if you're "destined" for something it's from birth and not dependent on other events. The brother and then the sister were destined to take charge, and look how that turned out. Just because you're next in line doesn't mean it's your destiny. As Prince Charles would attest.] Now, at age seventeen, [Put her age in the first sentence; it doesn't work here.] Laura has been raised to be a cruel and ruthless warrior who will lead the Karkonian Empire to a victory against their neighboring rivals, the Malibahians, [Usually in these stories, when the countries are named Karkonia and Malibahia, the main character is named Lorelle or Liliana, not Laura White.] [Also, once Laura becomes heir to the throne, it's hard to believe she'd be allowed to continue in her role of ruthless warrior. In the first place, she might get killed, and in the second place, the Malibahians won't exactly be quaking in their boots when they hear that Laura White is on the warpath. The Karkonians need to keep Laura in the castle and send Aethelgyth the Disemboweler to handle the ruthless cruelty.] and extend her country's rule from coast to coast, a job that she takes with great pride. [I wouldn't call that a "job." A task or a goal maybe, but you don't take pride in a task or goal until you've completed it.]

 Everything goes according to plan- [Not clear to me what goes according to plan. It sounds like she's well on her way to extending her country's rule from coast to coast, but the rest of the sentence suggests she's barely started.] until Alicia returns with a new and improved rebel army, prepared to usurp the rule of Peter VII. Along with the help of her new and unwanted bodyguard Shane Kage, who is secretly a rebel himself, Laura searches [seeks] to destroy her sister and protect her country at all costs.

Lies come to light, loyalties are tested, war is on the horizon, but Laura's future has never been more unclear. She is faced with the most important decision of her lifetime: whether or not she should remain loyal to her power hungry father, or sacrifice everything she loves for the country that she was born to rule. [What do you mean by "sacrifice everything she loves"? What does she love?] [It seems to me that if the rebels win, and there's still a throne, Laura's sister or brother would sit on it. So if she was born to rule, it's an easy decision. Stick with dad and destroy sis.] [Furthermore, in the previous paragraph she was planning to destroy her sister to protect her country. Now she's apparently considering siding with her sister . . . to protect her country.]

HEARTLESS, at 75,000 words  is a young adult novel about strength, love, and sacrifice set in a medieval-dystopian world.  My first novel was published by a small press company in 2011, [Specifics?] and I am currently pursuing a minor in creative writing at the University of Louisville.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



If you want us to believe Laura has an important decision, you have to give us reason to believe that she's not cruel and ruthless, that she sees the rebels' side, that she has some redeeming qualities. Right now I'd rather read Alicia's story than Laura's.

When your sister shows up with a new and improved army, you need more than an unwanted bodyguard to destroy her. The way it's worded, it sounds like it's just the two of them against an army.

Several instances of slightly off word/phrase choice, while they don't interfere with my understanding, would have me worried.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Face-Lift 1209

Guess the Plot


1. A chronicle of Colorado's rise to world dominance through it's "Pot to the Military" program.

2. Forest ranger Gil has, through no fault of his own, lost face in his city. In hopes of restoring his good name, he leaves on a quest to find the legendary Panacea, which can cure the miasma that has decimated half the population. 

3. When Rotton Johnny didn't get the breakfast he'd ordered, he slapped his forehead. "I ordered pancakes! You stupid djinn. I'm hungry, not a world savior." Now the world looks up to the man who can't keep a job. And worse, he has to figure out how to employ all the medical and war materiel people he put out of work. And even more tragic, he's still hungry.

4. When trolls accidentally brew the perfect shampoo from a cauldron of distilled farts they are pursued across the galaxy by beauty-crazed nymphettes packing laser pistols. Can Ug explain away his species' momentary teen-style lapse or will trollkind forevermore be enslaved by the trollop-dressed-as-mutton industry? 

5. When billionaire film director Cam Jameson is found bludgeoned to death on the set of his new sci-fi epic Panacea, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things. One, that alien weapon looks awfully substantial for something supposedly made out of plastic; and two--wait, did that creepy alien monster dummy just move?

6. Davey Dixon is all about the ladies. He wakes up one morning to discover his penis can talk! Turns out he banged a witch and she cursed him. The only cure is a rare panacea. He now has three days to find it, before his big porn shoot! Oh the irony! 

7. Was it Panacea Bread where Bill's wife told him their soup and sandwich order would be? Who cares! The glowing green rock he found outside his back door this morning is giving him the strength to outrun the men in lab coats insisting he holds the cure.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,
Gil is a twenty years old [twenty-year-old] forest ranger in the city of Borderwoods, [Why would a city have forest rangers?] his work is to scout the city outskirts and stop the encroaching jungle from invading the city. [It was a rhetorical question, but since you've answered it, those don't sound like duties of a forest ranger.] [Admittedly everything I know about the duties of a forest ranger I learned from watching Yogi Bear cartoons, so there may be duties beyond preventing bears from stealing pic-a-nic baskets.] Most of his earned money is spent on medicine and treatment of his mother, because she, like almost half of the population has a fatal and incurable disease called miasma that is slowly decimating the realm.
One day during the training melee in the barracks, [I've never heard of a training melee, but if there is such a thing it wouldn't be staged in the barracks. And it would be conducted by riot police, not forest rangers, who I assume rarely deal with melees.] a noble's son, wanting to show his swordsmanship to his friends, proposes a training duel with Gil, that accepts it. [challenges Gil to a training duel.] [Why would the son of a noble and his friends be in the forest rangers' barracks in the first place?] The noble's spoiled son is easily beaten, and feeling humiliated, attempts to defend his pride by attacking Gil with an [a] true[-]edged sword. Again Gill [Gil] severely beats him this time sending him to the doctors.
The next day Gill [Gil] is Judged by a Court Martial and accused of violence against a nobleman, but is found innocent because of the sheer number of eyewitness [eyewitnesses] during the duel. Gil thinks that he is safe but the noble whose son he beat uses his connections and power to isolate him from his friends and mom and soon after, Gil almost dies in a fatal "accident". Facing a powerful enemy, Gil makes arrangements for the future treatment of his mother and decides to abandon Borderwoods. [Our hero.]
But as he is leaving the city he encounters a [an] expedition that claims to know where [seeking] the cure to the miasma, the legendary Panacea, can be found. Hoping to find the cure for his mother's disease and prove his worth to the people of the city, Gil joins the expedition in a difficult and dangerous Journey through and beyond the jungle where he will have to learn to believe in himself and his decisions, or let others decide his future and [that] of his family. [I suspect he will make the obvious choice: to let others decide his and his family's future.]
PANACEA is an underway fantasy novel more or less 55,000 words long
Thank you for your attention.


The large number of typos, punctuation errors, and incorrectly used words (many of which I didn't bother pointing out) would mean certain rejection, as the same density of errors would be expected in the manuscript.

Also, this is all setup. Condense this into one paragraph and you'll have room to tell us what happens after Gil slinks off in search of the Panacea.

Basically, here's what you've told us: A forest ranger is challenged to a duel by some idiot, wins the duel, and then decides to leave town with his tail between his legs because all of his so-called friends desert him. And the only way to regain his standing in the city is to cure cancer. We want to know what he plans to do, what's stopping him from doing it, what will happen if he fails, and why we should root for him instead of wondering why we're reading about this wuss.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Face-Lift 1208

Guess the Plot

Not Fully Human

1. Okay, okay, not at all human. It's a dog. But those cute expressions and the thoughts I feel certain he's thinking have convinced me he's just like you or me. Like the way he stares at me when I'm eating, as if he's looking into my very soul. He's always there for me when I need a friend, unlike my cheating bastard husband. I mean, which one is really the animal?

2. Sixteen year old Hunter has never truly belonged in her Colorado High School. So when fae prince Jukuluyuh appears to tell her she's really, half-fae, she gets as bored of this goddamned plot as everyone else and shoots his pansy ass.

3. Genetically altered with Neanderthal DNA and kept in a holding center with other human/Neanderthals, Mea escapes and vows to help all Neanderthalia have equality with the humans who buy and sell them.

4. Sharee longs to shed her gills and tail to be able to walk on dry land like a regular girl, but then wouldn't life be dull if she could no longer lure ships onto rocks and watch sailors drown. What to do?

5. Ethiel, a half human, half demon hybrid has stayed too long in the human world and is losing her powers. She planned to return to the netherworld months ago to rest and recharge, but she did the dumbest thing a hybrid could ever do. She fell in love. Now with that foolishness over, she heads home, but when she reaches the gates, all the guards see is a human. She consults the inter-world hag, who tells her love is changing her DNA and if she doesn't gain access to the netherworld soon she will--horrors!--become completely human.

6. It's another day in the life of a cyborg everyone thinks is human. Watch him bathe out of boredom, try to eat, admire human women, sort of smoke a cigarette, and parkour with ease around DUMBO. Until he meets Jeanette. What's love? Do they feel it?

Original Version

Genetically altered with Neanderthal DNA to correct multiple life threatening defects, Mea Gifford is faster, stronger, and has heightened sensory perceptions. [NFW.]

Two years ago, a plague linked to genetic engineering led to violent unrest. To quell the violence, all NFH were made wards in Holding Centers. [As you have yet to mention anything with the initials NFH, I'm forced to visit, where the most likely candidate is Neighbors from Hell. Although, based on the first paragraph, I'm inclined to go with Neanderthal-Female Hybrid.]

Mea and Carrie Mathews, her friend and fellow NFH look after each other at the Ardmore Holding Center  [AHC]. So when Carrie discovers management’s plan to sell Mea on the black market, they escape to Paradise Valley, Texas.

Expecting a short stay, Mea is unprepared to find friends, a budding romance, [But should she tell her new crush that she's a Neanderthal? Or should she risk that he'll find out from someone else? If this is her dilemma, I can suggest a better title: I married a Neanderthal.] and a job she loves [as a wooly mammoth rancher].

Everything is perfect, except Paradise has a missing teen problem, and that is a problem she can’t ignore. [Is Mea a teen?]

Brashly pursuing leads, Mea triggers a deadly game of cat and mouse which results in her capture and torture [Apparently she was the mouse.] when she interrupts the plans of her creator, Dr. Sean Adams and the Assistant Director of the Ardmore Holding Center, Dr. Dianne Meyers to experiment on and sell NFH. [Is there a big market for pet Neanderthals?] [The one place they escape to just happens to be the place from which the mad scientists are kidnapping Neanderthals to sell to . . . those who want Neanderthals?]

Pushed to her limits and with her abilities suppressed, Mea fights not only to free herself and the teens, but to stop Dr. Adams from covering his tracks by killing everyone in Paradise. [All of which would be easier for Mea if they hadn't captured her and suppressed her abilities. Is she imprisoned? How can she fight to do anything?]

NOT FULLY HUMAN, a Young Adult novel set in an alternate universe in a timeframe slightly ahead of our own. The novel is complete at 78,000 words.


It sounds like Mea could have found a better place to escape to than Paradise, which seems to be where Adams hangs out. Is he there because Paradise is where all the escaped NFHs go? If so, they need a witness protection-type system that sends each escapee to a different remote place, not a valley they can congregate in. Apparently, the speed, strength and sensory perception that Neanderthal DNA gives NFHs also gives them Neanderthal intelligence.

DNA experimentation goes on in our universe and in our time. What is it about this book that requires an alternate universe/time setting?

We need Mea's age and why she chose Paradise to escape to. Also, who buys NFHs on the black market, and why do they want them? As slaves to do the housework? As soldiers to help take over the world?

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Face-Lift 1207

Guess the Plot

If Only You Knew

1. The autobiography of a thermometer that has seen far too many openings.

2. Ostracized for throwing up on a basketball player, Melissa vows to get revenge on all of her high school classmates by creating an app that they must all pay for.

3. I could tell you things. Things so secret you’d simply lie down on the floor and die. But I’m not the kind to talk. When people tell me a secret, you can bet the farm it’ll go to the grave with me. By the way… could you loosen these ropes a bit? They’re cutting off my circulation. Wait… what’re you doing with that branding iron? No, wait. I’ll talk. I’ll tell you anything you wanna know. All you gotta do is ask. I don’t hold back. I say tell everyone everything, and it’ll all work out in the end. We’re all friends here, right? Wait…

4. In a peer-review, only you came through
But don’t misconstrue the Phillips-head screw
And why only you can get cheese fondue
To pass on through to the Kung Fu kazoo
Only me and you… and a dog named Boo.
If only you knew how new was the gnu
Then you, too, could chew the glue with a shrew.
In Kalamazoo, I threw him a shoe,
But Boo’s in a stew, and mooed in my brew.

5. If only Dolly the sheep knew how to spell. Then she could have effectively pointed out the murderer of nearly half the herd. With only rams left, it was up to Dolly and her littermate, Polly, to solve the crime. With blood pouring out of her entrails, Dolly tried to spell ewe, but...

6. ...what EE has used his slush manuscripts for. Will they continue to get stacked around his bathroom and thrust into his fireplace, or will he find one that tickles his fancy? Not recommended for readers with moral codes, or weak stomachs. 

Original Version

Seventeen-year-old Melissa Stratten’s classmates won’t stop whispering about the time she puked on a senior basketball player.

[Pssst! Remember the time Melissa Stratten puked on the basketball player?
Yeah. What was that, cafeteria chili?
I think it was hot dogs and beans.
I bet he was sorry he wore white pants that day.
Anyway, what else you wanna whisper about?
Nothing, let's keep whispering about this pivotal, overriding event in our school's history.]

So when her best friend Jack suggests they create an app based on school rumors, an ostracized Melissa desperately wants revenge on her classmates. [This is the plot of Carrie, except instead of killing people and burning down the school she creates an app.] "Chaos" anonymously gives everyone at school access to the hottest dirt. [She was thrilled with her accomplishment until she installed the app on her iPhone and discovered 90% of it was devoted to the time she puked on the basketball player.] Every student’s personal secrets are spun into one giant microblog; [Opposite of giant microblog: tiny megablog.] Chaos is school gossip taken to the extreme. Melissa wants Chaos to be so epic students will pay for it, and she can put her coding experience on college applications. [Among my passions and extracurricular activities are basketball and competitive eating. I also wrote the code for an app that allowed me to exact revenge on all my classmates.]

Then Melissa finds out Jack wants to use Chaos to publish a sex tape of a teacher with a student. If she goes along with Jack, the student’s reputation will be ruined -- just like Melissa’s. [Actually, the student's reputation will be enhanced if the teacher was Ms. Sommers. Or that hunky chemistry teacher.]

But, the more Melissa pushes Jack to kill Chaos, the more paranoid and threatening he becomes, planting drugs in her locker and pinning the entire app, and the video, on her. Melissa has to stop Jack before she ends up expelled, or else she can kiss her college dreams goodbye. [Stopping Jack would seem secondary to getting rid of the teacher who's having sex with a student.]

IF ONLY YOU KNEW, is a 60,000 word YA contemporary novel.  It will appeal to fans of ABC Family’s Revenge for it's theme of betrayal and The Social Network for it's  intellectual property battle.  Thank you for your consideration.  The complete manuscript is available upon request. 


High school kids have a reputation for being self-centered, but your heroine's dilemma should be whether to ruin the teacher by posting the video or by bringing the evidence to the principal or the school board, and she chooses the latter to protect the reputation of her classmate (presumably one of the classmates she wanted revenge on). Possibly this is how the story goes, but by stressing Melissa's motivation to keep from being expelled and ignoring the teacher's villainy, the query doesn't make Melissa a particularly sympathetic character.

A teacher is having sex with a student but the other students won't stop whispering about the time someone threw up on a basketball player? This just sounds like two different schools, high school and sixth grade.

I'm not sure how you mean the title, but unless "only you" is supposed to mean you and no one else, If You Only Knew removes the ambiguity.

Ostracization for throwing up would last only until someone spills soda on the front of his pants. I think Melissa needs to do something more humiliating.

Does Melissa have access to all her classmates' personal secrets? Or are the rumors to be provided by the classmates themselves?