Author Topic: Amaranthine Historica YA Cyberpunk  (Read 333 times)

Offline KatyaStiletti

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Amaranthine Historica YA Cyberpunk
« on: August 31, 2019, 07:22:27 PM »
Hello everyone! Here is the gist of my query letter. I look forward to getting your feedback.



Trilingual lawyer, author and screenwriter, I write fiction and creative non-fiction in various genres (usually under pen names). My works generally explore social, political and ecological danger zones.

I am the lead author of "Juste Une Gifle?" ("Just One Slap?") presented by the World Bank during LJD Week 2017. "Juste Une Gifle?" is a creative non-fiction, which reveals institutional violence against women.

Today, I'm writing to present my 33,000-word YA novella.

'Amaranthine Historica—A Secret History' is an intertextual cyberpunk fantasy that weaves in and out from ancient times to medieval times, to the present and the future. It involves ordinary tyrants and surprising heroes—of the physical and metaphysical variety—and explores the nature of Humanity… and the nature of Nature too.

According to 'The Official Amaranthine History' written by historian O. Lemniscate, the Day of Destruction—known as 'D-Day'—flips the Amaranthine Calendar to 'Year 0' with a survival tally of 340 born humans, a batch-ready-to-hatch of 1000 incubating human embryos, 800 incubating mutants, and a 2000-strong cluster of transhuman robots. However, truth seekers must examine all sources, and the real source of Reality is in O. Lemniscate's verboten magnum opus; that is to say, in 'Amaranthine Historica—A Secret History'. The short title is 'Amaranthine Historica'.

'Amaranthine Historica' recounts the tragedy of the ancient multi-ringed canal city-state named after the unfading amaranth flower. Before D-Day, the city trembles in troubled waters—somewhere between the febrile ‘Gateway-to-Hell’ volcano and the ‘Gateway-to-Hell’ nuclear base. After D-Day, Amarantis is a floating graveyard, locked inside itself by its Membrane Dome and O-Gates! Almost all Life—Real and Artificial—is tinkered and reconfigured. Apart from Nobel Laureate W. Olfus and his lackeys, most Amarants are chained to the destiny of lab monkeys.

O. Lemniscate’s narrative is based on O. Lemniscate’s personal observations and various witness accounts. Primary witnesses? Two 'dusty' cousins—Pharaona and Astellaria. Pharaona (aka Ra) is a cranky 'She-Prometheus' made from the dust of the Great Egyptian Sphinx. Astellaria (aka Aria) is a sassy twinkler made from the dust of a shattered star. This dusty duo weaves History swimmingly, in and out of the 'Dreamtime Aquarium'—an ultra-dimensional dive that harbours all-time greats, such as Epicurus and Charlie Chaplin.

The story starts with Pharaona terrorising tourists in the Great Desert and rollicking her cynical dust across magnificent sand dunes. Life seems 'divine' until the unexpected arrival of the bold and brassy Astellaria who—literally—falls out of the sky. Pharaona begrudgingly extends her hospitality to the gatecrashing cousin and even agrees to take her on a whirling worldwide tour, on condition that they avoid Amarantis.

They ride on a wind and a prayer, but due to Astellaria's impudence—and imprudence—the grisly Mistral thrusts them into the forbidden city. Immediately, the Amaranthine surveillance system wails the Red Alert and the cousins are splattered all over the Amaranthine 'Wanted' posters. In a panicked get-away, Pharaona and Astellaria disintegrate into diaphanous dust, only to be vacuumed up during a Treasure Hunt.

Harnessing Hermetic science, the dusty duo manages to find a paltry escape route, which, alas, ends at the Amaranthine O-Gates. Cul-de-sac, they're stuck! The only way to their own freedom is to guide Amarants to theirs. Not an easy task! For one thing, Amarants are hopelessly enslaved by lies and misconceptions! And for another, Pharaona is constrained by 'The Soothsayers Code of Conduct', whilst Astellaria is pretty much clueless.

The end is a real twister, with breath-taking revelations about seemingly inconspicuous characters and events. The explosion wasn't the explosion we thought it was, the destruction wasn't the destruction we thought it was, the tyrant turns out to be many tyrants and the hero turns out to be many heroes. Truth and lies become unglued and we discover that the most important Truth in life is, that there can be no happiness without freedom and no freedom without courage.

“Amaranthine Historica” has far-reaching possibilities—it can be turned into an animated movie, 3-D animated movie, VR game or video game. It is entertaining and educational. A portion of my audiobook is uploaded for free access on Anchor at https://anchor.fm/s/da39230/podcast/rss.



Offline SincerelySinclair

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Re: Amaranthine Historica YA Cyberpunk
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2019, 11:29:59 PM »
Hi there! Congrats on writing but your query could be improved if you followed the basic query format.


Dear X,

(Introduce world & characters).

(Introduce conflict)

(Raise the stakes with a satisfying hook)

(Add in all the cool stuff that you've done)

---------------------------------------------------------

Dear X,

Life in the Great Desert was a paradise for Pharaona before Astellaria literally fell out of the sky. Bounded by sacred hospitality, Pharaona begrudgingly extends her home to her gatecrashing cousin. But when Astellaria wanders into the deadly and mysterious city of Amaranthine and puts Pharaona and her life in danger, they'll have to work together to escape the city.

If they can't overcome their differences, they'll die.

Amaranthine is a story of feuds, tyrants, and freedom. I am X (all that cool stuff about yourself. Also, please not that my example super quick thing and not to be taken seriously at all. This is just an example for formating's sake.)

-------------------------------------------------------

My most pressing matter so far is which method of publishing you want to go down. Is this meant to be a videogame or a novel? You've called it a novella in your query, so it makes things weird if you tell an agent or anyone that it can also be a videogame, a movie, or whatever. An agent, specifically one that's going to read your query letter, is interested in turning your query into a novel, not marketing it into a movie or a videogame.

Overall, your story is complicated. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, you don't want to bog down on too many details in your query letter. It's here that you want to get your plot across as clearly as possible. Details are to be saved for the synopsis. Go over your story and pick out the most crucial items that will get an agent's attention.

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: Amaranthine Historica YA Cyberpunk
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2019, 07:07:32 AM »
Dear SincerelySinclair, thank you sooooo much for your advice! This is my new version. I look forward to feedback from members here on the forum.

Dear X,

Life in the Great Desert was paradise for Pharaona before Astellaria ( what is Astellaria? ) literally fell out of the sky. Bound by sacred hospitality, Pharaona begrudgingly extends her home to her gatecrashing cousin. ( At first I thought Astellaria was an asteroid so I am now thinking  you didn't mean literally and I'm a bit confused )  But when Astellaria inadvertently lands them in the sinister city of Amarantis and puts both their lives in danger, they'll have to work together to escape. ( It feels like you skipped over too much here for me. 'puts both their lives in danger' vague and when things are worded vaguely for plot points it's hard to connect and care about MC )

If they can't overcome their differences, they face a common fate with most Amarants—a life no better than that of lab monkeys. ( Why? I'm not sure I understand this )

Harnessing Emerald Science, the dextrous duo manages to find a paltry escape route, ( Why are they needing to escape? )  which, alas, ends at the Amaranthine O-Gates. ( This is meaningless to me since I don't know what it means ) Cul-de-sac, they're stuck! The only way to their own freedom is to guide Amarants to theirs. ( I don't know what an Amarant is ) 

'Amaranthine Historica' recounts the tragedy of the city-state named after the unfading amaranth flower. ( Why tell us what it's named for and not the tradgedy? ) The long title is 'Amaranthine Historica—A Secret History'. It’s a 33,000-word YA cyberpunk novella that weaves in and out from ancient times to the present and the future. It involves ordinary tyrants and surprising heroes, and explores the nature of Humanity… and the nature of Nature too.

The end is a real twister, with breath-taking revelations about seemingly inconspicuous characters and events. Truth and lies become unglued and we discover that the most important Truth in life is, that there can be no happiness without freedom and no freedom without courage.

( The above is super vague and could apply to many fantasy novels , not just yours. It's best to leave out theme and definately don't 'tell' the agent 'the end is a real twister'. I mean, of course YOU the author are going to say that. Saying these sorts of things just isn't done as it makes you look self complimentary. It's for them to decide if the ending is a real twister )


Lawyer, author and screenwriter, I write fiction and creative non-fiction in various genres (usually under pen names). I am the lead author of "Juste Une Gifle?" ("Just One Slap?") presented by the World Bank during LJD Week 2017. "Juste Une Gifle?" is a creative non-fiction, which reveals institutional violence against women.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2019, 12:35:32 PM by Pineapplejuice »

Offline KatyaStiletti

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Re: Amaranthine Historica YA Cyberpunk
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2019, 09:55:55 AM »
Dear @SincerelySinclair and @Pineapplejuice thank you so much for your advice! This is my new version. I look forward to feedback from members here on the forum.


Dear X,

I am writing to you about my 33,000-word YA cyberpunk Odyssey, ‘Amaranthine Historica—A Secret History’ (short title ‘Amaranthine Historica’), written under the pen name O. Lemniscate.

‘Amaranthine Historica’ is based on various witness accounts. Primary witnesses? Two ethereal ‘dusty’ cousins—Pharaona and Astellaria. Pharaona (aka Ra) is a cranky 'She-Prometheus' made from the dust of the Great Egyptian Sphinx. Astellaria (aka Aria) is a sassy ‘Phoenix’ rising from the dust of her own explosion.

The story starts with Pharaona terrorising tourists in the Great Desert and rollicking her cynical dust across magnificent sand dunes. Life seems divine until Astellaria falls out of the sky. Bound by the laws of sacred hospitality, Pharaona begrudgingly extends her home to her gatecrashing cousin. But when Astellaria inadvertently lands them in the sinister city of Amarantis and puts both their lives in danger, they must pool their respective dust and forces.

Failure to escape would doom them to the common fate of the majority of Amarants—a perfect life inside a perfect prison.

Harnessing the science cached in the Emerald Tablet, the dextrous duo manages to find a paltry escape route, which, alas, ends at the Amaranthine border. Cul-de-sac, they're stuck! The only way to their own freedom is to guide Amarants to theirs—by delivering the fire for the mastery of happiness. Thus, they separate lies from the truth ‘sweetly with great industry’ and suddenly Amarants discover an unquenchable thirst for freedom, the very Quinta Essentia of life!

The end illuminates with unusual revelations about seemingly inconspicuous characters and events. The explosion wasn't the explosion we thought it was, the destruction wasn't the destruction we thought it was, the tyrant turns out to be many tyrants and the hero turns out to be many heroes. We also discover some mind-blowing nitty-gritty about O. Lemniscate!

Lawyer, author and screenwriter, I write fiction and creative non-fiction in various genres (usually under pen names). I am the lead author of ‘Juste Une Gifle?’ (‘Just One Slap?’) presented by the World Bank during LJD Week 2017. ‘Juste Une Gifle?’ is a creative non-fiction, which reveals institutional violence against women.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2019, 12:33:46 PM by KatyaStiletti »

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: Amaranthine Historica YA Cyberpunk
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2019, 12:11:32 PM »
I think Sincerely Sinclair did a great job getting to the meat of your query. ( The synopsis part ) and I liked the shape of your query better the last time you posted. )

I think you removed it?

This version here is a big ten steps back imho.

It's just not following normal query rules and risks reading as a big boring world building info dump.

I'm sorry to be harsh but doing so to save a lot of time and energy ( yours and anyone here ).

Just check out query formula's on google or successful queries and you'll see that there is a general method of introducing the Main Character, with the set up and plot twist and stakes ( what the MC has to lose ) etc.

The last version I looked at was a LOT better than this one.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2019, 03:46:11 PM by Pineapplejuice »

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: Amaranthine Historica YA Cyberpunk
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2019, 12:22:53 PM »
Dear @SincerelySinclair and @Pineapplejuice thank you so much for your advice! This is my new version. I look forward to feedback from members here on the forum.


Dear X,

I am writing to you about my 33,000-word YA novella ‘Amaranthine Historica—A Secret History’ (short title, ‘Amaranthine Historica’).

‘Amaranthine Historica’ (written under the pen name O. Lemniscate) is a cyberpunk Odyssey about newfangled hubris and nemesis, involving ordinary tyrants and heroes, surprising clones and preternatural robots. It explores the perils of science without ethics and echoes the current alarm bells relating to the survival of Homo sapiens and other life on Earth, as we know it.

( Don't talk about theme in your query synopsis )

O. Lemniscate’s narrative is based on various witness accounts. ( Don't talk about structure ) Primary witnesses? ( don't ask questions in queries. Don't talk at the reader )

 Two ‘dusty’ cousins—Pharaona and Astellaria. Pharaona (aka Ra) is a cranky 'She-Prometheus' ( I don't know what this is so it's best to cut it rather than have to explain over detailed world building things ) made from the dust of the Great Egyptian Sphinx. Astellaria (aka Aria) is a sassy twinkler made from the dust of a shattered star.  ( This was all just a list of characters. A query needs to do many things. Prioritize plot )

The story starts with ( Agent hate it when authors begin wit 'The story starts with' because every book's query can start with it. ) Pharaona terrorising tourists in the Great Desert and rollicking her cynical dust across magnificent sand dunes. Life seems divine until the bold and brassy Astellaria falls out of the sky. Bound by the laws of sacred hospitality, ( I don't know what that means. Try to use simple phrases especially when world building complicated ) Pharaona begrudgingly extends her home to her gatecrashing cousin. But when Astellaria inadvertently lands them ( too vague ) in the sinister city of Amarantis and puts both their lives in danger, ( How? ) they pool their forces to escape.

Failure to escape would doom them to the common fate of the majority of Amarants—a life grimmer than that of the Elois in H. G. Wells’ ‘The Time Machine’. ( What is the fate? You're leaving the stakes out of your query. We don't know what the fate is. Also, the Elois ended up with a lot of hope thanks to the  MC in the Time Machine, because he went back. But are we to assume you mean your book has Morlochs or similiar in it? It wouldn't hurt to put the antagonist or the specific dire situation in the query. )

Harnessing the science cached in the Emerald Tablet, ( What is the Emerald Tablet?)  the dextrous ( Why are they 'dextrous?" <Maybe cut this term so you don't have to explain )duo manages to find a paltry escape route , which, alas, ends at the Amaranthine border ( Why is this a problem. Maybe it's just me but I can't remember reading why this would be a problem ) . Cul-de-sac, they're stuck! ( Stuck how? ) The only way to their own freedom is to guide Amarants ( what is it? )to theirs—by illuminating them on the mastery of happiness.  Thus, they separate lies from the truth ‘sweetly with great industry’ and suddenly Amarants discover an unquenchable thirst for freedom, the very Quinta Essentia of life! ( I'm really not sure what you're talking about here )

The end gives us unusual revelations about seemingly inconspicuous characters and events. The explosion wasn't the explosion we thought it was, the destruction wasn't the destruction we thought it was, the tyrant turns out to be many tyrants and the hero turns out to be many heroes. We also discover the mindblowing nitty-gritty about O. Lemniscate! ( This doesn't tell us anything about your plot. It's best not to do a little casual summary of the ending at the end of your query. Agents don't want to know the ending. The info here is pretty vague so it's best to leave it out altogether )

Lawyer, author and screenwriter, I write fiction and creative non-fiction in various genres (usually under pen names). I am the lead author of ‘Juste Une Gifle?’ (‘Just One Slap?’) presented by the World Bank during LJD Week 2017. ‘Juste Une Gifle?’ is a creative non-fiction, which reveals institutional violence against women.


It's concerning that it's a novella as they aren't generally publishable due to word count.

A YA of around 70 - 80 k is a good publishable word count.

Good luck with revisions. The one I looked at earlier was a lot better than this one.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2019, 12:45:39 PM by Pineapplejuice »

Offline KatyaStiletti

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Re: Amaranthine Historica YA Cyberpunk
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2019, 05:05:25 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. Last attempt for today... NB: I have taken note of most advice but not all.

Dear X,

My 33,000-word YA cyberpunk Odyssey, AMARANTHINE HISTORICA, is written under the pen name O. Lemniscate. The setting is Amarantis, a fantasy city-state trapped by its technology and corrupt President, W. Olfus. Its inhabitants are called Amarants.

Two ethereal ‘dusty’ cousins—Pharaona and Astellaria—accidentally become the catalysts for revolution. Pharaona (aka Ra) is a cranky ‘She-Prometheus’ made from the dust of the Great Egyptian Sphinx. Astellaria (aka Aria) is a sassy ‘Phoenix’ rising from the dust of her own explosion. 

Pharaona’s favourite pastime is terrorising tourists in the Great Desert until Astellaria falls out of the sky. Pharaona begrudgingly extends her hospitality to her gatecrashing cousin. When Astellaria inadvertently steers them both into Amarantis, their cousinly quarrels ignite a chain of crazy events. They get arrested and are found guilty of treason. The penalty is capital. Recycling. They must pool their respective forces and particles in order to escape. 

Harnessing the science cached in an Emerald Tablet, the dusty duo manages to find a paltry escape route, which, alas, is blocked at the border. Cul-de-sac, they're stuck! The only way to their own freedom is to guide Amarants to theirs—by delivering the fire for desire... of happiness. 

Taking advantage of W. Olfus’ human and technical errors, together with what the Emerald Tablet calls the ‘cosmic force of things’, they separate lies from the truth ‘sweetly with great industry’. Amarants discover an unquenchable thirst for freedom, the very Quinta Essentia of life!

A domino effect knocks every cog in the Amaranthine wheel until it collapses. W. Olfus, the tyrant with a thousand faces, is alone in his castle hiding from the thousands spitting hatred and demanding “Real life here and now”! The revolution wins and Amarantis discovers paradise again. It also discovers the mind-blowing nitty-gritty about the Amaranthine historian, O. Lemniscate!

Lawyer, author and screenwriter, I write fiction and creative non-fiction in various genres (usually under pen names). I am the lead author of ‘Juste Une Gifle?’ (‘Just One Slap?’) presented by the World Bank during LJD Week 2017. ‘Juste Une Gifle?’ is a creative non-fiction, which reveals institutional violence against women.

I appreciate your time and consideration.





Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: Amaranthine Historica YA Cyberpunk
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2019, 06:36:49 AM »
Thanks for the feedback. Last attempt for today... NB: I have taken note of most advice but not all.

Dear X,

My 33,000-word YA cyberpunk Odyssey, AMARANTHINE HISTORICA, is written under the pen name O. Lemniscate. ( From what I  understand you can just put your pen name where you put your normal name, at the bottom. A pen name isn't a hook or personalization, so it's best not to begin with it. On QT people tend to put housekeeping at the bottom . Partly because Query Shark suggests it and partly because it's easier for people reviewing to help with the hardest bit first. )  The setting is Amarantis, ( Saying 'The setting is' and following with world building information is not advisable because it's like your cramming what should be in your synopsis paragraphs, into your personalization/housekeeping paragraph. The below should be woven in the synopsis paragraphs ) is a fantasy city-state trapped by its technology and corrupt President, W. Olfus. Its inhabitants are called Amarants.

Two ethereal ‘dusty’ cousins ( What does 'dusty' mean? You never explain it in the whole query so we just don't know and therefor it has no meaning to us ) —Pharaona and Astellaria—accidentally become the catalysts for revolution. ( This is 'telling' where is would be more interesting to hear the tiny tid bit story of how they became catalysts for a revolution instead of just flat being told it as if you're talking to a friend about your plot. The sentence brings us out of POV of character. Try to stick to one POV in on paragraph if you are going to use multi POV. Best to use one though ) Pharaona (aka Ra) is a cranky ‘She-Prometheus’ made from the dust of the Great Egyptian Sphinx. (I'm glad you explained this but I think this sentence would be a better first sentence as then we immediately know what she is )  Astellaria (aka Aria) is a sassy ‘Phoenix’ rising from the dust of her own explosion.  ( I don't know what this mean. I know I said this before if different words I'll explain what proble I have here.

In this query you're talking at the reader, saying:

This is the setting -

This is the two main characters - breif description

And it's reading like you've made a dot point list. Generally queries have a kind of narrative voice, in pov of character without being first person, that makes the query synopsis read like a micro story. But here your authorial voice is dominating the query with it's structure.

 )


 
Pharaona’s favourite pastime is terrorising tourists in the Great Desert until Astellaria falls out of the sky. Pharaona begrudgingly extends her hospitality to her gatecrashing cousin. ( I do love 'gatecrashing cousin' it shows personality to MC and the cousin ) When Astellaria inadvertently steers them both into Amarantis, their cousinly quarrels ignite a chain of crazy events. ( This is so vague. )

What kind of crazy events? Best to say what is happening without saying 'crazy events' as we don't know what you mean by it. Can we have an example? "crazy" could mean absolutely anything:

They have a confetti party, followed by being mugged the next day, but the mugger has confetti explode in his face and is blinded momentarily and they run off.

Or

People keep dying when Pharoana speaks to them

Like, I have to guess.


Conversely, you could leave it out



They get arrested and are found guilty of treason. ( Ahhh ok!!! So THESE are the crazy events? An agent might stop reading at 'crazy events' thinking that you're whole query is vague. So best to cut that wording and skip to saying they get arrested. _People ( agents ) can make snap judgements like I just did , assuming you weren't going to explain what was going on due to having summarized it vaguely as 'crazy events'. They might not read the whole query as they get hundreds a week at times )  The penalty is capital. Recycling. ( This one word sentence ....I don't know what it is referring to .Are you reminding the agent to take out their recycling mid query as environmental activism? Are their bodies going to be reincarnated? Capital punishment is the death penalty ...It's not clear to me. )  They must pool their respective forces and particles in order to escape.  ( Ok I don't know what you mean by particles but it's interesting but I need to be explained to not feel confused. The whole dust body aspect is really unique but I feel you haven't really explained what it means for the characters. )

I'd add 'the prison' to 'escape' as you don't actually say they were imprisoned.


Harnessing the science cached in an Emerald Tablet, ( Where did they find an Emerald tablet? Were they looking for one? Did they get it at the store? 'We need Milk, sugar, and oh yeah, an Emerald tablet ) the dusty duo manages to find a paltry escape route, which, alas, is blocked at the border. Cul-de-sac, they're stuck! The only way to their own freedom ( what is the exact logistical problem? They need to climb out of a hole but it's slippery? The cul de sac sentence didn't help me understand as it was too brief at 3 words ) is to guide Amarants ( You haven't introduced the Amarants yet so we don't know what it is ) to theirs—by delivering the fire for desire... of happiness.

Taking advantage of W. Olfus’ human and technical errors, together with what the Emerald Tablet calls the ‘cosmic force of things’, they separate lies from the truth ( truth about what? ) ‘sweetly with great industry’. Amarants ( Is Amarants a person. Should it be Amarants discovers ) discover an unquenchable thirst for freedom, the very Quinta Essentia of life! ( I'm not sure why POV has shifted from Pharoana and her cousin t to Amaranths )

A domino effect knocks every cog in the Amaranthine wheel until it collapses. ( A domino effect of what? Maybe leave out if it's too hard to explain ) W. Olfus, the tyrant with a thousand faces, is alone in his castle hiding from the thousands spitting hatred and demanding “Real life here and now”! ( I don't  know what is happening ) The revolution wins ( Are you giving the ending away? This is a query no-no ) and Amarantis discovers paradise again. It also discovers the mind-blowing nitty-gritty about the Amaranthine historian, O. Lemniscate!

Lawyer, author and screenwriter, I write fiction and creative non-fiction in various genres (usually under pen names). I am the lead author of ‘Juste Une Gifle?’ (‘Just One Slap?’) presented by the World Bank during LJD Week 2017. ‘Juste Une Gifle?’ is a creative non-fiction, which reveals institutional violence against women.

I appreciate your time and consideration.

I had a go at it again, trying to explain some things why I crossed out last time.

It's better than it was but it feels very confusing to read. I'm just not sure what is going on, especially at the end.

All I know is two dusty cousins get accused of Treason ( not sure why )

and go ( assumingly to prison )

and they escape and they need Amaranth ( not sure if it's a person )

And something exciting but unspecific happens regarding happiness,

and then there's a revolution.





Ahh I see ( re-read beginning )  the inhabitants are Amaranths. In that case for the sentence with Amarants in it maybe say 'The Amaranths' rather than 'Amaranths'

« Last Edit: September 04, 2019, 06:39:37 AM by Pineapplejuice »