Jan 1, 2012

Post #2

Title: Shield & Crocus
Genre: Fantasy

Aging superhero First Sentinel finally has a chance to overthrow the oligarchs who have ruled his city for fifty years, but it means making a bargain with his oldest enemy, a gangster who has schemed her way to the top. His team takes the offer, plotting a mission to destroy the Rebirth Engine, a machine that wracks the city with magical storms. If the team cannot turn the oligarchs against one another, they will hunt his team down and crush their rebellion.

First 250:
Wonlar’s apartment was a carefully constructed ruse.  Papers, schematics and yet more papers covered the floor, spotted with yard-high stacks of books, delicate arrangements of spare parts, and sealed bottles of reagents.  Bookshelves filled the walls from floor to ceiling along three sides of the apartment, broken only by a closet, the hall to the bedrooms and the opening to the kitchen.  Over the last twenty years, the apartment had settled into Wonlar’s image: scholarly, brilliant, and scattered.

That was the intent.  His neighbors wouldn’t expect that Wonlar Gonyu Pacsa, absent-minded artificer and handyman could also be First Sentinel, leader of the Shields of Audec-Hal, the only major force standing against the rule of the oligarchs.  If they thought he was barely organized enough to keep track of whose oven he had to fix by Monday and mumbled to himself incoherently, they wouldn’t ask questions about why he was up at all hours and never seemed to be around for parties.

Wonlar stood above a table, squinting to focus on the job at hand.  He was approaching his seventy-first birthday, but he looked no older than any other Ikanollo.  He had the same square jaw, the same high forehead, sun-yellow skin and dark brown hair.  For other races, cadence and personality were most of what set Ikanollo apart, since each man looked like every other, each woman a perfect copy of one another in features and build.

Favoring his left leg, Wonlar stepped over a short pile of books on rare reagents.



louisaklein said...

If it can be of any consolation, I would definitely read this book. I really got sucked in instantly! I only have two doubts:
1) you should cut the longline a little, it's wordy.

2) A main character who is 71 is difficult to accept. I mean, you don't write literary fiction, you write urban fantasy, where the hero is usually young. I haven't read the book, of course, but maybe you should change the age, or make him be like Wolverine who is 150, but looks like a man in his late forties.

Just my thoughts of course, I may well be wrong.

A. K. Fotinos-Hoyer said...

The female gangster in your logline piqued my interest but I agree with the first commenter in that the logline felt a bit too full.

The first 250:
1) Wonlar is an odd name, so I think I really noticed it everytime it was used - and it was used a lot.
2) I loved the imagery you created of Wonlar's apartment and the first paragraph in general :)
3) The second paragraph became a bit like a lecture though. Could you somehow show this information? Maybe have Wonlar interact with a neighbor about this oven he needs to fix and then slip in something about that neighbor never guessing he had a (awesome-superhero-flying-device or whatever) strapped to his back beneath his shirt?
4) The third paragraph doesn't belong in the first 250 wrods imo. Maybe a word or two of physical desriptio would be okay, but I wouldn't use up so many of the precious first 250 on physical description. There should be something exciting here so that I just have to keep reading :)

Best of luck and thank you for sharing your MS!

Wendy said...

Try this for logline:

An aging superhero teams up with his arch-enemy, a scheming gangster, to take on the city's ruling family and destroy a menacing weather machine.

Or, in nine words...

A superhero swallows his pride to save the world.

:) hope it helps.

Melodie Wright said...

I agree w/ Wendy on your logline.

You have an info dump in your first 250 words in the third paragraph. You're telling when showing later would be more effective. Also, I'm not sure why knowing what MC's apartment looks like is so important you use it as your first paragraph. The first sentence is a tell, when the reader should be able to figure this out using other info you give them. IMHO, maybe write a scene showing Wonlar's interaction with one of his neighbors, who notices flashes of his brilliance fixing a toilet or something. Give enough odd hints about his real character that the reader wants to know who this guy really is in the 2nd chapter.
Good luck!

Mark Andreas said...

before reading your loglin:

loved the opening sentence. hooked me right in wanting to know what the ruse was about. It also flowed really well, great job. the only part I was a bit confused about was this: "since each man looked like every other, each woman a perfect copy of one another in features and build." I'm thinking you could wait to introduce this aspect of the world until there is an opportunity to show it, such as when another character comes into the scene and looks exactly the same.

and in this sentence, might as well have the book about somethign other than reagents, since you already mentioned that earlier. Here's an opportunity to add richness--make it a physics book or something.
Great job.

as far as the logline, I'm not sure why there is an engine wracking the city with storms. I would think the oligarchs would want to have people happy with their rule? maybe there is a way to make this clear in the logline while also shortening it a bit?

John Williams said...

As a query your logline has merit. You start with the character, you give us the conflict and a sense of what's at stake. (A logline is supposed to be shorter, and Wendy's recommended revisions have merit.) I like your logline (as a query), except for the "His team takes the offer" because it stops me from reading further-- I go back and reread the previous sentence looking to try to figure out what offer, and who made it.

First 250:
No conflict in your first 250 words. If not for your logline, I wouldn't understand where the story was going.

I don't have anything else to add that hasn't already been said by the other critics. (Mark: I love the first sentence; Melodie: Your first 250 words are an info dump in tell format, revise as show; Wendy: pithier loglines; and so forth...)

Bron said...

I agree your logline is too long. Wendy's revisions are good, but I would expand a little to add in the personal stakes for Wonlar if he fails.

The excerpt starts off well. I like the description of Wonlar's apartment, and I don't mind that the second paragraph is all telling. But the physical description in the third paragraph started to lose me. Does his appearance matter? By this stage I'm starting to look for a story, and one isn't materialising. I also agree that the age of the hero could put people off at first, so I'd wait until later to introduce this fact. I'd cut everything in the third paragraph after the first sentence. Also, I'm not sure what 'above a table' means. Is he standing on the table or next to it?

I also think you should try the suggestions above to rewrite to a scene where Wonlar is fixing an oven or something and then has to dash and off and do his superhero duties. Show us that he's a superhero in disguise and see which opening you prefer.