Friday, April 12, 2019

Face-Lift 1391

Guess the Plot

The Murderer from Jerusalem

1. In ancient Jerusalem, there's a murderer loose in the temple. If scrub maid Arsiya can expose him, she's positive the king will make her the first Priestess of Jerusalem. 

2. Someone killed Lord George, but detective Collier isn't sure whether it was the butler from Jerusalem or the gardener from Geneva. You'll never guess which one.

3. Don't believe everything you read. That story about Jesus being crucified? Hogwash. He was murdered by a fat guy from Jerusalem. This is his story.

4. Tel Aviv police detective Lev Mendelsohn has enough on his plate, what with Passover approaching, but when someone starts killing people by battering them with stones stolen from the Wailing Wall, it looks like he'll be missing the seder. Oy vey.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

In ancient Jerusalem, lofty priests sitting in luxurious temples control science and magic. Being a priest in the Holy Temple is one of the most desirable jobs a man can have. Unfortunately, Arsiya is a thirteen-year-old girl who dreams of becoming a priestess. Honestly, she’s done nothing wrong. Trying to get accepted into the priesthood program with the boys in her city doesn’t count, right? Alas, the snotty priests who sentenced her think she’d do better as a scrub maid in the Holy Temple. [That was a lot of words to set up the situation. This is more concise: In ancient Jerusalem, thirteen-year-old Arsiya dreams of becoming a priestess. But the temple priests would never accept a girl into the priesthood program. They put her to work as a scrub maid in the Holy Temple.]

Yeah, right. Arsiya would rather spend her time in prison than waste her days tasting firemelons and other strange fruit as part of her work. [I don't see tasting fruit as a scrub maid's job.] But right before she tries to escape her “new home”, she overhears a conversation about magic. Now, that’s an opportunity she is not going to miss. She decides to stay, read some scrolls, and become the first priestess of Jerusalem. [A shorter version of this paragraph: No way is Arsiya going to waste her days cleaning floors and scrubbing pots. But then she overhears a conversation about magic, and decides to stick around after all. She'll secretly study some scrolls, and become the first priestess of Jerusalem.] 

Refusing to give up on her dream, Arsiya scours the temple for a scroll of secret [arcane] knowledge that will help her prove she’s as good as any other apprentice. Instead, she finds the mutilated body of a maid. Eyes pricked and flying in the air, the dead maid is definitely [has] not [been] sacrificed to the god Resheph; she has been murdered. As the bodies pile up, Arsiya’s quest of [for] secret scrolls turns into [becomes] a search for a killer. If she catches the murderer who lurks within the walls of the Holy Temple, the king will name her First Priestess of Jerusalem. If she fails, she might be the next victim.

ALADDIN meets AGATHA CHRISTIE, THE MURDERER FROM JERUSALEM is an #OwnVoice middle grade fantasy, complete at 54,000 words.



There's a lot that's unclear. What was the sentence the priests handed her? Is she in prison? If not, why does she need to escape? If so, how is she free to look for scrolls? Did the king tell her he'd make her a priestess? Whose bodies are piling up? Important people or maids? Eyes pricked and flying in the air? If you shorten what you have as suggested, you might have room to answer some of these questions.

A better title would help.

1 comment:

St0n3henge said...

I feel this girl is a bit naive.

If a scrub maid catches the killer, a priest or other big shot will no doubt take credit for it, leaving her with nothing.

I have to wonder who in this temple honestly cares that much about catching the killer of lowly maids. Make it clear that priests are also in danger.

Inevitable question (before anyone else asks): If the priests control science and magic, why does it take a thirteen year old girl to solve the murders?

Come to think of it, why can't a serial killer bump of a simple thirteen year old girl?

None of this works as written. I'd suggest starting over.