Friday, September 27, 2013

Prep Work Round 2 #9

TITLE: The Legacy of the Eye
GENRE: Adult Science Fiction

LOGLINE: Jane Austen's Persuasion meets 1984 in space--Love and politics on a planet colonized according to Plato’s Republic. When the top governance graduate discovers a secret hereditary polity (and that the woman he loves is next in line), he must expose the deceit or risk ruling via a crown.

FIRST 250:

It might have been a symbolic gesture, but I was not budging. My hand covered the keypad inside the traveling pod as I faced the old instructor standing next to me. "Come on, Max. We're leaving the school anyway, why not let me punch the code?"

Arms crossed over his loose-fitting black outfit, the short instructor obscured the pod's doorway. "The council should have made you wait until after graduation like everyone else."

Cat and I had been confined in the school since we were two. What difference would two weeks make after sixteen years? "We've earned the distinction."

"Next you'll ask to stop for a black uniform on the way out," Max said.

We probably earned that too, but I knew how to pick my battles.

Cat's hand pressed my shoulder. "David, we'll be late."

"Tell him that."

"You're only making him more stubborn, Max," she said. "You know we have no reason to run away."

The instructor hesitated. Would he make us miss our appointment with the council? He knew Cat and I could not navigate the maze of buildings to get to the gates--even disregarding the risk of being detained as soon as we left the governance complex. Our gray uniforms would give us away as soon as we stepped outside because students were not allowed to leave their home departments. How long would it take to convince every instructor in our path that we had an appointment with the council?


  1. Your logline didn't work for me. A) I've never read Persuasion by Jane Austen, B) don't know the specifics of Plato's Republic, C) don't know what you mean by "secret hereditary polity" and D) have no idea how this entire mess would give your MC a crown. I have to do too much research to decipher your logline. Maybe an agent would understand all this, but I sure don't and I read a lot of sci-fi.

    What was a "symbolic gesture"?

    How is his hand inside the pod, yet the instructor is outside standing in the way? I'm lost. I can't figure how the surroundings.

    I had to read it twice to figure out the instructor is Max, especially near the end. Say, "Max hesitated."

    Also, turn "was not" to "wasn't" and "could not" to "couldn't" (unless your character if very formal).

  2. I’m sorry, but I'm with Tiffanie; I’m fairly articulate but I had to look up polity.

    After I looked it up, I’m still not sure how a secret hereditary polity ties in with a women he loves being next in line (for what?), how this means he has to expose deceit (which is vague) or how that ties to risking ruling via a crown. Combine this with the comparisons in the first part (I like the first two but you lost me with Plato), and I think you’re trying to pack too much information into your logline. I think going back to the big three of queries might help: What does he want (to save the girl?), what does he have to do to (save her), and what happens if her doesn’t (besides her dying)?

    You set up some nice intrigue in your first 250 and I think the premise of your book sounds fantastic. However, I’m confused overall. I don’t understand from this why they’re arguing.

    In the first paragraph, Is the symbolic gesture punching a code to open the door? Or to launch the pod? Why does Max care who punches in the code?

    “Tell him that” – would benefit with a dialogue tag. I wasn’t sure at first who was speaking.

  3. Hi there.
    I have read Jane Austen, 1984, and Plato--but I'm going to agree with the other two posts. I think you're trying to do too much in the logline. This kind of thought (my book is this book meets that book) is great, but not usually part of a logline. Great for a query letter, but I'm not sure it should be here.

    I'm also going to agree with the notion that the conflict is unclear. If my girlfriend were going to be queen soon, I'd be jumping for joy, not trying to stop it. I'm sure your character has a reason to want to stop it, but at this point, it's unclear.

    I thought some of the backstory/character information that you squeezed in could wait for later. I agree with Martha--I wanted to know more about this argument. I think you should take out the lines that give the reader extra information and just focus on painting the scene that you are working with. I wanted to know more (as Martha said) about the argument. I was confused by it. On the other hand, I was interested in the idea of a meeting with a counsel and the fact that they had certain color uniforms and with the possibility of running away. Overall, I liked it more than I thought I would.

    I want to end by saying that I think your writing has some really good qualities... just a few small fixes will make it much stronger!

  4. I agree with the other comments about the logline, so I'm going to discuss the first 250.

    I had a hard time figuring out where people were standing in the scene. Were David and Max standing next to each other? Because you say they are, and that they're facing, but then mention how the instructor is blocking the doorway. When I first read it, I got the impression Max was standing in front of David, blocking him from exiting.

    I thought the section could use a bit more description as it read very dry in my opinion. I know that Max is short, but that's about it. I have nothing to form an image in my head of David and Cat. You don't need to give a full description, but just one thing would do the trick.

    I also came to the conclusion that the symbolic gesture was opening the door, but it really meant nothing to me and was worded in a way that was confusing. If you're going to start your novel with "It" I feel you need to quickly explain what "it" is so that you don't confuse the reader immediately.

    That being said, it looks as if you started off in a great spot. Just some tweaking and you'll be golden.

    Good luck:)

  5. I found the logline confusing as well, but that's been covered so I won't pile on.

    My main critique is with this opening scene - after reading it a couple times, I'm still not sure I know what's going on. We're plunked down in the middle of this scene, but don't have much info about the characters or the situation. I know 250 words is not much, but I think you may need to add some details here to ground us.

    Also, in the first two paragraphs, you refer to the 'old instructor' and then the 'short instructor.' Those together came off sort of clunky to me. They call him Max, so I'm not sure why it's 'instructor' when he's talking.

    Good luck with this!