Saturday, October 12, 2013

Prep Work Round 3 #4

GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy
LOGLINE: Isa and her dying brother flee a tyrant’s guards when Isa’s attempted robbery ends in an accidental murder. Armed with only the knowledge that one of the country’s dead gods is still alive, Isa must hunt her down and return her to power. If not for her country, then for her brother.

FIRST 250: 

       A traitor dangled from the courtyard rafters. Blowflies and beetles hummed around him. They clung to the tattered frays of his King’s Guard uniform. I skirted around the edges of the courtyard and pulled my shirt over my nose. The rows of decorative bushes and vines along the walls snapped under my boots. A stray stick poked through a hole in the leather. I glanced to the guard. Pity someone had already stolen his shoes.
       I’d never seen this room so empty. The view through the sewer grate was always crowded by armored boots and bruised legs. I passed under the room often enough to know the layout. The heavy march of soldiers rattled the old walls of the abandoned aquifers. The rusted sewer grate tinted everything red.
       The room was larger than I’d thought. Without the press of bodies clunking around in armor, the empty dirt floor was a long one hundred paces. The dead soldier hung in the dead center. Dead flies and dirt collected beneath him.

       That was one way to stop defecting.
       “Eyes open,” I said. I touched my fingers to my temple.
       He didn’t respond. All the better. I wasn’t in a talking mood. The new pair of guards stationed outside the King’s storehouse was young, naïve, and took their jobs too seriously. Sneaking round them would be near impossible on a good day. Today, my stomach growled for attention every step. They’d catch me in a wick.


  1. The logline worked for me. I'm a bit confused with the opening because I think of courtyards as open spaces and the bushes corroborated with the image. I was imaging the guard hanging from rafters under an awning, but when the narrator called the place a room, I wasn't sure where s/he was anymore. Regardless, I was intrigued by why s/he was there and doing.

  2. I think the logline is trying to squeeze in too much info without giving any grounding. eg. the first sentence would be easily comprehensible without ' a tryrant's guards'. The next line talks about a 'country' that I'd love to know about Can you give it an adjective or setting? And then, for me, one dead god needs some explaining what kind of society is this? Where are we? Also how does one dead god and returning her to power tie in with Isa and her robbery?

    The 250: You've done a great job of really putting us in the setting here - lots of detailed description, very atmospheric. Like Patchi I read courtyard and thought we were outside but then we were in a room. I think you might need to set us straight.

    Other small things that stopped me were: a stick poked through the...'sole'? I can't understand where the 'leather' is and it holds me up. Also I glanced 'at' the guard not 'to' ? Also why would the guard not have shoes, for me this demands an explanation. It would give good insight into the kind of society we're living in.

    Reading through twice I got that he/she has been imprisoned under this room. It might be a good idea to say up front he/she was a prisoner and they all used to gather around the sewer grate to look up/out to see what was happening in the world.
    Watch out for the reptition of 'dead' in the following sentences. Good luck with this!

  3. I agree with Elizabeth that the robbery and returning the god to power don't seem to be related. Maybe something like: Only the god _______ can offer her a pardon. (or whatever the reason is) Now she must find her/him and... (?)

    In the first 250 I was confused about the boots too. Maybe you could put her "ratty" boots and then "their" leather to help the reader understand that those two sentences are connected and that she's longing for a pair to steal from the dead guard. I read those three sentences several times before I understood them.

    I thought the sound of the soldiers marching was something she was hearing NOW so I was confused about the courtyard being empty. Which made me have to reread again.

    I'm assuming she has some power to talk to the dead, but I didn't understand why she touched her own temple. And I thought she was just commenting that his eyes were open. Was she commanding them open? I think the reader needs a little more. Maybe rearrange it or have her touch him.

    Then I didn't see how her inability to talk to him had anything to do with the new palace guards. I felt like that should be a different paragraph.

    I think the overall feel is choppy. (My worst fault in writing too!) If you work on each sentence flowing into the next, I believe a lot of the confusion will be alleviated.

    Sounds exciting! Good luck with it!