Monday, June 01, 2020

Face-Lift 1401

Guess the Plot

The Anomalies

1. Things have been different for a while now. Yet Jake seems to be the only one to notice. Can he convince anyone else of the anomalies or will he be put in the nut house?

2. Natalie doesn't have much use for her super powers, so she spends her time training other superhuman anomalies and protecting them from vigilantes trying to avenge loved ones harmed by super accidents. Hey, it's a living.

3. It's a rare episode of Star Trek in which the Enterprise doesn't encounter a space anomaly, but in this fanfic novel, the ship encounters two anomalies!

4. Who can explain America's latest teen heartthrobs?... They play Glenn Miller, Stan Kenton, and Lawrence Welk, have neatly trimmed hair, no tats, no piercings, and they phone home after every concert. They're . . . The ANOMALIES!

5. When Rebecca sees spots through her telescope, she's not certain if it's aliens or her husband's mascara on the lens. Maybe he's having an affair. With an alien.

6. Felix Strell finds strange numbers in the account books for his customer Big Joe Mahoney. Should he tell the boss he's being scammed? Or try to get in on the action?

7. The five homes on the cul de sac are lived in by the Smiths, The Joneses The Johnsons, the Martins, and the Anomalies. Four of the families live in cookie cutter cottages. The other family lives in a full-size replica of the Eiffel Tower. It's a tall tale.

Original Version

In her spare time between gig jobs, Natalie rescues and trains superhumans whose powers strike like seizures. [Not sure if that means their powers come on unexpectedly, or they resemble actual seizures, or they can't be controlled or something else. And what does she rescue them from?] Years ago, Natalie fled the city to keep her lightning storms from hurting anybody else, [Anybody else besides herself or besides those they already hurt?] but now, Natalie has nothing to use her powers for besides tracing lightning across the sky to help her fall asleep. She rents in a cramped old house with roommates who can read her mind when they’re bored, who fly to the six pack shop to restock on beer, and who command wind to blow the smell of pot out of the yard. [Can all her roommates do all of these things, or is it that she shares a cramped old house with Mentalman, who can read minds, the Buzzard, who can fly (usually to the beer store), and Zephyr, who commands the wind (mostly to blow away the smell of pot)? This way has fewer words, but extra specifics.]

In a search for a new recruit, Natalie instead stumbles into his murder at the hands of the Witnesses, vigilantes who avenge loved ones harmed by super accidents. Natalie fears the destructive past she’s been hiding is to blame, and now everybody she’s saved is in danger. [I don't see why she would fear that, or why everyone she's saved is in danger. Does everyone she's saved have a super power? Because when super-powered beings team up, they often manage to defeat enemies a lot more dangerous than a bunch of human vigilantes. You think the Avengers would worry about the Witnesses when they've had to take on Thanos? Aquaman alone could handle the Witnesses.] [I might drop the last sentence, and work the information in the previous sentence into the next paragraph.]

When one of Natalie’s trainees has a public accident [That sounds embarrassing.] that draws the elusive Witnesses closer, Natalie can run and risk that the vigilantes know [discover] her secret, [If the vigilantes don't already know her secret, why was she afraid her past was to blame for the murder? Isn't her past the secret? I'm not sure running would give away her secret, unless she can run like the Flash. Running is what someone without a secret power would do. It's staying and attacking the vigilantes with lightning that would give away her secret.] or find a way to hunt the vigilantes back, saving her friends but proving the vigilantes were right to fear superhumans. [The vigilantes' motive was supposedly revenge for harm to their loved ones. If fear of anomalies is their main motive, no need to mention the revenge factor, as there are probably a lot more people who fear them than who lost loved ones to their accidents.]

THE ANOMALIES is a 95,000 word superhuman/science fiction novel that will appeal to fans of VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab, CHOSEN ONES by Veronica Roth, and Taika Waititi’s WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS. I studied Slavic Literature at the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on classics and science fiction. [Okay, I can buy people who fly and control weather and read minds, but no way do I buy that anyone would willingly study Slavic literature.]

Thank you for your time,


How often do superhumans have accidents? I'll admit it's likely that thousands of people die whenever comic book superheroes battle super villains, and that the editors fudge the numbers, but it sounds like your superheroes have retired, so there shouldn't be a lot of accidental deaths.

The voice is good. What I want to have clearly stated is what is Natalie's secret from her destructive past (Is it just that she's Lightning Woman?), what exactly will happen if the Witnesses discover it (It somehow reveals the identity of everyone she ever saved?), and how she plans to prevent this.

The superhumans don't seem all that super. Have they vowed not to use their powers for good because of the accidents? If they're willing to fly to the beer store, they ought to be willing to fly to their fortress of solitude to avoid the Witnesses.

When I plug "anomaly" into the search box at the top left of this blog, several old Face-Lifts come up. Maybe looking at them would be instructive or at least entertaining.


Abby said...

I really appreciate your feedback. I had a good laugh at the Slavic Lit and public accident comments. On a more serious note, you articulated what needs more explanation quite well, and now I know exactly what to target in revisions.

They’re definitely not very super, and it’s clear I need to better emphasize this. I’m going to reword exactly what state Natalie finds people in, which is basically homeless and with ruined lives, and that up until she met the vigilantes, all of them were working on the assumption that their earlier episodes were written off as nature.

Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Are the authorities willfully turning a blind eye to the murders? Why don't the anomalies just give them some anonymous help in tracking down the vigilantes?

fwiw, It took me a little while to realize the "new recruit" was the "his" being murdered later in the sentence

Good Luck

Abby said...

Thanks for the feedback!

The vigilantes are scary good. They’ll frame the murders to look like suicides, and often their targets have been driven to homelessness by their confusing and terrifying superpowered outbursts, so they don’t have people looking out for them. They also listen in to police scanners to monitor activity near them. They’re beginning to attract some attention, but not a lot yet.

I don’t like the idea of superhumans teaming up with authorities, police or military. I think it’s been overdone, it’s not giving us anything in the current cultural climate, and I want to take superpowers somewhere else.

I’ll be posting a revision that is hopefully less generic and clears things up! Thanks again.