Author Topic: What Follows Echoes - Adult Modern Fantasy  (Read 193 times)

Offline Alymac

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What Follows Echoes - Adult Modern Fantasy
« on: May 16, 2020, 05:57:17 AM »
REVISED 1

As a child found buried beneath a sand sculpture by a visiting artist, Landon Chen is a townie that’s proud to be one of Harborocean’s many peculiarities. Though for all of his island’s mystique, from its two-tailed foxes to a family with a cursed knife, something as mundane as sea level rise threatens to destroy it. Landon has thus waged a lifelong war against Global Warming. He’s a workaholic in his thirties with a lifestyle that’s at odds with his ties to his childhood best friends turned married couple. As the third wheel and sometimes the polygamous third to their relationship, Landon must grapple with what it means to be responsible to both a cause and a family.

Meanwhile, deep in the bay of Harborocean, a trash-loving, trash-talking, and trash-comprised water horse named Fault-Colt watches. The horse is torn between killing this paper-straw-buying green-peacer now and keeping Landon alive long enough to help lure the child that they really want to the water’s edge. Even though Landon has been a lifelong disappointment to Fault-Colt, that doesn’t mean that Landon’s child lacks the potential of becoming an upstanding consumer of all things plastic and trash. Fault-Colt’s vying for an heir and they know that greatness tends to skip a generation.

(Thanks for the comments all! I tried to make it clearer who the protagonist is, ha ha. Updated.)


ORIGINAL

What Follows Echoes takes place in a tourist town off the coast of Canada, where a trash-loving, trash-talking, and trash-comprised Kelpie named Fault-Colt attempts to murder their quasi-child, Landon. At thirty-two, Landon is unaware of the ill intentions of this absentee haunt and is instead focused on trying to stop sea level rise from claiming his childhood home. His work-heavy lifestyle is further complicated by his ties to his best friends turned married couple, Ben Gully and Camile. As the third wheel and sometimes the third party to their relationship, Landon must grapple with what it means to be responsible to both a cause and a family, particularly with the pending birth of a daughter he helped to create.
 
Meanwhile, Fault-Colt waits for Landon to drive home with a cake for the baby’s gender reveal party, only to strike him on a bridge as an errant wave and knock him down to the beach below. Amidst the ruined cake and the flooded car, the Kelpie faces an unconscious Landon and wonders to themself - ‘do I drown this plastic-hating green-peacer now or do I keep him alive long enough to help lure the child that I really want; the child this pink cake is for; the child who will one day come and replace me?’

Exploring ideas of family vs. ecological monstrosities in the spirit of Max Porter’s Lanny with the coastal-town tone of Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, What Follows Echoes depicts how far families go to keep a sense of normalcy when faced with life’s great incomprehensions – death, global warming, and a stalking-talking water horse.

- - - -

My big fear is that my synopsis isn't punchy or fun. And that it's a little dry. Am I right in this?
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 12:50:56 PM by Alymac »

Offline rivergirl

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Re: What Follows Echoes - Adult Modern Fantasy
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2020, 07:17:39 AM »
Would appreciate a new set of eyes on my newest version of Hazel in entry #25.

What Follows Echoes I don't know what to make of this first part. What the heck is Echoes?? takes place in a tourist town off the coast of Canada, where a trash-loving, trash-talking, and trash-comprised Kelpie named Fault-Colt attempts to murder their quasi-child, Landon. At thirty-two, Landon is unaware of the ill intentions of this absentee haunt and is instead focused on trying to stop sea level rise from claiming his childhood home. Wouldn't rising sea levels increase the size of his home? He lives underwater since he's a water spirit and lives "off the coast"I started with the assumption that the story is about Fault and now believe it is Landon. Is there anyway that the query can be kept in the POV of the MC?This makes for a stronger query and allows your reader to grab a hold of somebody. I love the voice above describing Fault-Colt. Do these selfies look like humans or horses?. His work-heavy lifestyle is further complicated by his ties to his best friends turned married couple, Ben Gully and Camile. The first part of this sentence really doesn't tie in with the second half. What does one have to do with the other? Maybe just say his life sucks because his only friends are a married couple and he feels like a fifth wheel or third wheel, whatever the expression is As the third wheel and sometimes the third party to their relationship, Landon must grapple with what it means to be responsible to both a cause and a family, particularly with the pending birth of a daughter he helped to create.this just raises too many questions and muddies the waters IMO
 
Meanwhile, Fault-Colt waits for Landon to drive home with a cake for the baby’s gender reveal party, only to strike him on a bridge as an errant wave and knock him down to the beach below. Amidst the ruined cake and the flooded car, the Kelpie faces an unconscious Landon and wonders to themselves himself? - ‘do I drown this plastic-hating green-peacer now or do I keep him alive long enough to help lure the child that I really want; the child this pink cake is for; the child who will one day come and replace me?’ Okay, so Landon is a land dweller. Since you've picked a creature that can take on many forms, I think you need to set up your world at at the very beginning so your reader isn't less guessing. I'd spell this out."Colton is a plastic hating green-peacer kelpie who lives full-time as a human in a small tourist town off the coast of Canada."I love the sound of Fault-Colt. He sounds like a fun and really interesting character

Exploring ideas of family vs. ecological monstrosities in the spirit of Max Porter’s Lanny with the coastal-town tone of Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, What Follows Echoes depicts how far families go to keep a sense of normalcy when faced with life’s great incomprehensions – death, global warming, and a stalking-talking water horse. So Fault is in the image of a horse but his son looks human? Sorry I'm so confused. This was a good start and The story sounds charming.To answer your question about the blurb being punchy and fun, it definitely had those elements, but its really really hard to get all the information in there and keep that wonderful voice. Also, I'm not sure what the stakes are for Colton who I assume is the MC??? These need to be spelled out. I look forward to an updated version.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2020, 07:20:23 AM by rivergirl »

Offline PharaohBeam

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Re: What Follows Echoes - Adult Modern Fantasy
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2020, 07:39:21 AM »
What Follows Echoes<-put title in all-caps or quotes or italics takes place in a tourist town off the coast of Canada, where a trash-loving, trash-talking, and trash-comprised Kelpie Is a kelpie someone who harvests kelp for a living? Maybe define this here named Fault-Colt attempts to murder their quasi-child, Landon. At thirty-two, Landon is unaware of the ill intentions of this absentee haunt and is instead focused on trying to stop sea level rise from claiming his childhood home. His work-heavy lifestyle is further complicated by his ties to his best friends turned married couple, Ben Gully and Camile. As the third wheel and sometimes the third party to their relationship, Landon must grapple with what it means to be responsible to both a cause and a family, particularly with the pending birth of a daughter he helped to create.
 
Meanwhile, Fault-Colt waits for Landon to drive home with a cake for the baby’s gender reveal party, only to strike him on a bridge as an errant wave and knock him down to the beach below. Amidst the ruined cake and the flooded car, the Kelpie faces an unconscious Landon and wonders to themself - ‘do I drown this plastic-hating green-peacer now or do I keep him alive long enough to help lure the child that I really want; the child this pink cake is for; the child who will one day come and replace me?’ How is he being replaced by this child?

Exploring ideas of family vs. ecological monstrosities in the spirit of Max Porter’s Lanny with the coastal-town tone of Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, What Follows Echoes depicts how far families go to keep a sense of normalcy when faced with life’s great incomprehensions – death, global warming, and a stalking-talking water horse. Wait? A talking water horse? Is he Fault-Colt?

Overall thoughts
You have a lot of characters to keep track of. I can't figure out if your MC is Fault-Colt or Landon. Too many names at once has confused me. I'd try to focus on just your MC and the core conflict of the story. Is the core conflict the murder of a child? It seems like your story has a lot of details which is good, but I think your query would benefit by removing some names, sub-plots, etc.

Offline Alymac

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Re: What Follows Echoes - Adult Modern Fantasy
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2020, 06:19:50 AM »
Thank you for the replies! Super helpful. I think it'll need a rewrite to make it clearer.

Offline Wolfimoon

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Re: What Follows Echoes - Adult Modern Fantasy
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2020, 04:35:07 PM »
I love this "a trash-loving, trash-talking, and trash-comprised Kelpie" and it didn't bug me to not have a definition of kelpie because I know that's a mythological creature. From that sentence, I really thought Fault-Colt was the protag. My advice was going to be to reorder that to "Fault-Colt is a ... that just tried to ..." Since they are not the protag, I'm not sure if that works.

There's a little bit of a synopsis feel to this - lot's of background, blow by blow. Definitely don't have thoughts spelled out that way.

I think that if you replace "stalking-talking water horse" with "mythological creatures," that would be a really strong ending.

Offline Alymac

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Re: What Follows Echoes - Adult Modern Fantasy
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2020, 12:51:36 PM »
Updated! Round two. : )

Offline aishwarl

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Re: What Follows Echoes - Adult Modern Fantasy
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2020, 11:08:19 PM »
Is Fault-Colt supposed to resonate in any way with the theorist, Foucault? It jumped out at me; might to agents too.

Offline ashmag

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Re: What Follows Echoes - Adult Modern Fantasy
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2020, 07:34:07 AM »
I certainly don't think it's dry. The concept is intriguing and the writing is pretty. QueryShark (literary agent Janet Reid) always says to get into the stakes for the character and especially the plot - and skip backstory. So, that might help.

As a child found buried beneath a sand sculpture by a visiting artist, Landon Chen is a townie that’s proud to be one of Harborocean’s many peculiarities. Though for all of his island’s mystique, from its two-tailed foxes to a family with a cursed knife, something as mundane as sea level rise threatens to destroy it. Landon has thus waged a lifelong war against Global Warming. He’s a workaholic in his thirties with a lifestyle that’s at odds with his ties to his childhood best friends turned married couple. As the third wheel and sometimes the polygamous third to their relationship, Landon must grapple with what it means to be responsible to both a cause and a family.

That first sentence is grabbing and evocative, and seems plot relevant, so I'd certainly keep that. Also that he's now a workaholic in his thirties who helped create a daughter with his childhood best friends. The rest, I'd say skip over and get to the conflict. But did the artist bury the child? Or was it just "a visiting artist's sand sculpture"? Also, since the child is still alive now, was he really "beneath" it?

Meanwhile, deep in the bay of Harborocean, a trash-loving, trash-talking, and trash-comprised water horse named Fault-Colt watches. The horse is torn between killing this paper-straw-buying green-peacer now and keeping Landon alive long enough to help lure the child that they really want to the water’s edge. Even though Landon has been a lifelong disappointment to Fault-Colt, that doesn’t mean that Landon’s child lacks the potential of becoming an upstanding consumer of all things plastic and trash. Fault-Colt’s vying for an heir and they know that greatness tends to skip a generation.

Here, too, focusing on the plot would also make it easier to focus on Landon. Like, Meanwhile, the trash-loving, trash-talking and trash-compromised water horse named Fault-Colt [love that] is waiting for Landon deep in the bay. Strikes him as errant wave; knocks him off a bridge; Landon's about to either drown or see this creature steal his child, the child it now wants as its heir. You can even get into more of the plot since cutting the earlier backstory would have given you some space. QueryShark advises using plot from the first act of the novel.

Offline Alymac

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Re: What Follows Echoes - Adult Modern Fantasy
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2020, 01:52:38 PM »
Thank you for the good advice, ash! Very helpful.

Offline TigerAsh

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Re: What Follows Echoes - Adult Modern Fantasy
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2020, 01:32:09 AM »
REVISED 1

As a child found buried beneath a sand sculpture by a visiting artist, Landon Chen is a townie that’s proud to be one of Harborocean’s many peculiarities. Though for all of his island’s mystique, from its two-tailed foxes to a family with a cursed knife, something as mundane as sea level rise threatens to destroy it. Landon has thus waged a lifelong war against Global Warming. He’s a workaholic in his thirties with a lifestyle that’s at odds with his ties to his childhood best friends turned married couple. As the third wheel and sometimes the polygamous third to their relationship, Landon must grapple with what it means to be responsible to both a cause and a family. [I personally feel that this opening is a little dry. It focuses too much of Landon's background, and overall is just too much "telling". Additionally, there's nothing in this that gives me fantasy vibes.]

Meanwhile, deep in the bay of Harborocean, a trash-loving, trash-talking, and trash-comprised water horse named Fault-Colt watches. The horse is torn between killing this paper-straw-buying green-peacer now and keeping Landon alive long enough to help lure the child that they really want to the water’s edge. Even though Landon has been a lifelong disappointment to Fault-Colt, that doesn’t mean that Landon’s child lacks the potential of becoming an upstanding consumer of all things plastic and trash. Fault-Colt’s vying for an heir and they know that greatness tends to skip a generation. [Okay, so the talking water horse gives your story more of a fantasy feel. However, I still don't know what the actual plot of your story is.]


[Make sure you include a housekeeping paragraph as well.]


After reading your query, I'm still trying to figure out what I can expect from your story. What I took away is that Landon is trying to find a balance between his work and family (though I'm not sure how he's exactly trying to do that) ... and I'm not entirely sure what Fault-Colt wants, other than to eat a child?

I think you need to more clearly express what Landon and/or Fault-Colt's goal is in the story. What obstacles will they face? What happens if they succeed? What happens if they fail?


Hope this helps. Good luck! :)