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Empress Theresa - what do you do with unlimited power ? (1 Viewer)

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empresstheresa

Senior Member


Beyond that, not much point in offering suggestions to someone who isn't interested.


It's kind of hard to get interested in "suggestions" like this:

You might consider finding a more appropriate book to compare with yours.
Anne of Green Gables might be a better example of a highly successful YA book centered on a good-girl MC who manages to avoid nauseating most readers. :livid:
 

Jeko

WF Veterans
That is, that "hundred pages" which add nothing to the main story of the trial, and attack on the kids, are the book.

Like I said, you need to read it again. I'd try Terry D's perspective.

How do you know Theresa is perfect? You've only seen one percent of the text.

Precisely. And if I was in Blackwell's or Waterstones, the remaining 99% of the text would be going back on the shelf with the 1% that didn't catch my interest.

Such is life.

It's ok for a male character to be perfect, but not a female. :disturbed: Do you agree?

Now this is quibbling.

I don't. Theresa is in Massachusetts close to Boston, then in a millionaire's mansion close to London, then in New York City. It's hard to get cozy with these settings.

Then develop them. Add something deep and riveting to make thigns more interesting, more relevant to you. Neil Gaiman wrote Coraline based on a house he lived in for a while. He could have done any house, but he made the house personal to him.

I noticed another confusing contradiction:

Others help her get moving again.

Theresa does it all herself. Nobody helps her and nobody can help her.

Could you clarify what's meant here?

The main theme of Empress Theresa is a good person doing good in the world.

So the synopsis is 'can Theresa do good, being the good person she is?'

Please point me to the conflict in your story. I need to understand this better.

Also, did you recieve my PM?
 
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Jeko

WF Veterans
It's kind of hard to get interested in "suggestions" like this:

They're some of the best suggestions here.

I spent a long time comparing what I was writing with Scott Pilgrim vs the World, and it took me a long time to realise I wasn't actually writing something like that. Now I compare my writing to a mix of Percy Jackson and Donnie Darko.
 
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empresstheresa

Senior Member
I spent a long time comparing what I was writing with Scott Pilgrim vs the World, and it took me a long time to realise I wasn't actually writing something like that. Now I compare my writing to a mix of Percy Jackson and Donnie Darko.
You, and somebody else, assume I'm comparing my book to Mockingbird. I'm not. In fact, they have nothing in common.

I mentioned Mockingbird to bring up some points about writing techniques. That's all. I can't point to similar techniques in my book without putting it all on the internet, which would break the horse's legs at the starting gate.

Please point me to the conflict in your story.


Here's just one of many.

Theresa has gained limitless power in the physical sense. She can move anything around anywhere. No limits. ( Political power derived therefrom exists but is secondary. )
OPEC wants to gain some of that power by blackmailing her. They reorganize after years of relative inactivity and say they will not sell oil to Europe and the Americas unless three demands are met. One of them is that Israel be returned to the occupants of 1947.
Theresa can negate the threat of an oil supply cutoff by finding a new super-abundant source of oil. There's plenty of the stuff under the ocean floors. She can get it. But OPEC will be outraged and swarm over Israel. She could stop the invading hordes with violence if they attacked, but she would not harm anybody and they know it.
What can Theresa do?

That's just one of many difficult situations.


The rest of what you said is confused and I'm thinking my time is better spent elsewhere.
 
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Jon M

WF Veterans
How do you know Theresa is perfect? You've only seen one percent of the text.
I said she sounds like a Mary Sue. As in, that is how the character appears at the moment. Open the story that way at your own risk -- I'm just saying I wouldn't stick around to learn more about the character because I'm immediately turned off. There has to be some sort of conflict, or at least some indication that everything is not well. That is, after all, what stories are -- interruptions of the status quo.

It's interesting that you compared Theresa to Mary Sue. So did people on an atheist forum I joined a couple of months ago for laughs.
Mary Sue is a common literary criticism. The male version being Gary Stu or whatever. Though I am an atheist, I assure you I'm not one of your stalker bully / fans. I only jumped in here because stirring the pot is fun and it's Monday and cold outside and I'm bored.

It's ok for a male character to be perfect, but not a female. :disturbed: Do you agree?
No, I don't. Perfect characters suck. QED.
 

Terry D

Retired Supervisor

You, and somebody else, assume I'm comparing my book to Mockingbird. I'm not. In fact, they have nothing in common.

I mentioned Mockingbird to bring up some points about writing techniques. That's all. I can't point to similar techniques in my book without pointing it all on the internet, which would break the horse's legs at the starting gate.

The rest of what you said is confused and I'm thinking my time is better spent elsewhere.

Yes, I think there is some confusion. Why did you bring your novel to this site and post an excerpt, if not for critique and advice? The replies to your post have been honest and sincere, but I get the impression that you are offended, and I do not understand why. I understand that you've spent years on your book and feel (rightly) proud of that accomplishment, but the excerpt you've posted is not perfect, and could benefit from the input of dispassionate readers who know how to lend a helpful, critical eye.

No one is berating you--that would not be tolerated here. Just trying to give you the help I believe you were asking for.
 

Jeko

WF Veterans
You, and somebody else, assume I'm comparing my book to Mockingbird.

I don't. I do, however, assume that you are unable to take good advice from anyone. That you said:

The rest of what you said is confused and I'm thinking my time is better spent elsewhere.

makes that clear.

Here's perhaps my last piece of advice then - if you think your time is spent better elsewhere, how about outside, away from your computer? I'm only going to say what every other logical soul will. In fact, I've been very supportive. I took time to give you a critique, and continue our discussions. Now my head hurts too much.

Good luck with your story, but until there's some sort of change of tone here (or a reply to my PM) I'll make sure I avoid getting involved in it. You know, before I get too blunt.
 

empresstheresa

Senior Member
Let's take a look at what's wrong with "the process".




Quotes from post #7


Yes she does, but that's a flaw ! But you see her grow out of it.
Yes she does, but that's a flaw ! But you see her grow out of it.
It's possible that you just pointed out the flaw yourself. Not sure until I know where the story is going, but currently the narrator seems to be telling a story from her past. If she's not, then some revision needs to be done. If the whole story is going to be about her ten year old self(which I already don't recommend. YA novels tend to be focused on young adults, not children), how will we see the narrator grow out of something when the story isn't focused around her current self?


With a little revision, I believe this story could go somewhere.
( End of quotes from post #7 )


What's wrong with the process is that nobody is going to put their entire novel on the internet free for anybody to read, because then no publishing house would touch it.
So we only put a tiny excerpt on here, usually the opening pages. This means forum members have no idea what the story is about or what the other elements of a story, tone, tension, conflict etc etc will be. And so we get suggestions like the quote from post #7 above.


Reply to quote in post #7


In chapter one, Theresa is ten years old. This chapter will reveal many things. The U.S. military spotted a large "white sphere" coming down from space seven years earlier when Theresa was only three. They followed it down to the forest in Framingham, Mass where it appeared to disappear into the ground without even rustling the leaves on the trees it passes through. Ever since then the government has had people watching for unusual events, any kind, anywhere in the world that might indicate the location of this entity. ( in chapter seven, Theresa will convincingly argue that the entity has been on Earth for millions of years )
( switching to present tense )

After seven years, a tiny version of the "white thing" jumps from the fox to Theresa.
The firemen come and leave. The government has heard of this strange event and sends the car and van to spy on Theresa's street. They have highly sensitive infrared detectors and detect a slight air temperature increase around Theresa when she comes out for the mail. Theresa notices cars following when her mother takes her shopping in downtown Boston. She sees men on foot following her through the stores of the Washington Street shopping district.


Back home, she calls the operator and asks for the number of a local pizza parlor. "One moment, please" says the 'operator'. The phone is silent for a full minute. Theresa hangs up. Now they know she knows.


Theresa rents a DVD of the classic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. The government is aware of this, of course.


A young woman, Jan Struthers, chosen because she is a young woman, visits Theresa when she is alone in the house. Jan is the leader of 400 "watchers" who are watching Theresa 24/7. Theresa tells her about the fox. She calls the entity HAL. She has told nobody else yet and Jan Struthers advises her not to. "Before you know it you'll have ten thousand reporters camped out in front of your house for the rest of your life."


Soon, she notices a tiny orange dot in the middle of her vision field. While working in her tiny garden she discovers that when she throws rocks they go exactly where her orange dot is pointed. It's an aiming device. What could be its purpose? ( revealed in a later chapter} Soon after, she discovers she has superhuman strength. What's the purpose of that? ( revealed in a later chapter } She doesn't tell Jan Struthers about the aiming device or strength, afraid that the government might do something to her.


End of chapter one.
That's the last time we see Theresa as a ten year old.


In chapter two, she is sixteen and a senior in high school, having skipped the sixth grade.. She has an update meeting with Jan Struthers. In January a new President is sworn into office. In March, Jan Struthers disappears. She has been silenced. A high level British official meets Theresa in Framingham and tells her Jan Struthers must have suspected something was up because she Fedexed a box full of information about Theresa to the Canadian Prime Minister who sent it to the British Prime Minister. The official offers Theresa sanctuary in England, but she can't conceive of leaving home. She'll wait it out.


In chapter three she is a seventeen year old Freshman at Boston College She meets Steve Hartley and they marry in June. Theresa has just turned eighteen on May 8.


In chapter four, all hell breaks loose. We have twenty-five chapters to go. Theresa deals with a series of "impossible" problems on a global scale. "What am I supposed to do" she complains to the British Prime Minister, "change the laws of physics? This is the most impossible problem yet."

At the end of the story Theresa is nineteen.
 
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Foxee

Patron
Patron
I didn't know what I expected when I joined this forum.
I hoped to learn something from writers who had books printed by known publishing houses. Are there any?
I'm a little disappointed at the process.
You speak of not posting your novel for free where anyone can read it. It may be that the writers who had books published from known publishing houses don't give their pearls of wisdom for free, either.

If a free internet forum doesn't work (and it sounds like it hasn't so far) maybe a paid workshopping forum or a local writing group would suit your needs better.
 

popsprocket

Retired Chief Media Manager
First of all, I'd like to say congratulations on finishing the book. It's no mean feat.

I want to say that I agree with all the comments on pacing issues. You give too little screen time to what happened with the fox when compared to what happened with the cooking bacon and eggs (something no 10 year old should be allowed to do, but Theresa might just be competent in the kitchen). I've read the whole thread and you have commented that there is a lot going on in the book, hence the rapid-fire pace. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. Plenty of books run full tilt from the first page through the last. That's not the issue here. This isn't running full pace because you break it up with a focus on the less important things. Since this is only a small part of the whole, it's possible that you correct this issue later on. But judging simply by the information provided here, the rest of the book will be like this as well. Perhaps you should consider splitting the book and making it into a series. I realise that that's a bit of a pain once you've made it all the way through, but it would certainly allow you to even out the pacing issues without running into absolutely massive word counts.
 

Jeko

WF Veterans
This means forum members have no idea what the story is about or what the other elements of a story, tone, tension, conflict etc etc will be.

Not true. When you send the first little bit of your story to an agent, that's exactly what you want to tell them - what the tone will be like, what the conflict will involve.

Look at Tim Bowler's Blade books - the first one opens with a few pages about the character escaping from a police interview. It reveals a lot about his character, the tone of the book, and tells us this characer is the sort of person who gets into these sorts of situations. That's just a few pages.

If your work doesn't do likewise, then you need to have a good look at it. The ball is in your court. How can you make that opening more exciting?
 

Terry D

Retired Supervisor
What's wrong with the process is that nobody is going to put their entire novel on the internet free for anybody to read, because then no publishing house would touch it.
So we only put a tiny excerpt on here, usually the opening pages. This means forum members have no idea what the story is about or what the other elements of a story, tone, tension, conflict etc etc will be. And so we get suggestions like the quote from post #7 above.

This isn't true. There are plenty of ways to get your book critiqued without jeopardizing first publication rights. You can post it, section by section, in the Writer's Workshop here. That forum is available only to members and is not visible to search engines, so your work retains it's un-published status. You can also contact members via PM to ask them to consider reading and critiquing your book. As Foxee mentioned there are also pay sites available for this sort of thing.
 

empresstheresa

Senior Member
pickpocket,
thank you for their comments. They are well thought out. They do discern some of my problems with ET.

I have worried about this for a long time and considered my options.

In The Hunger Games trilogy, the first book ends with END OF BOOK ONE !!!!!! :hell_pawn:

I was quite surprised by this and a little angry that I would have to read more books to find out what happens to Katniss.
Suzanne Collins had already published a series of books ( anybody remember their names? ) and so she could get a publisher interested in a trilogy. But how do you get the kids to read three books when teachers beg to class to read anything at all? I think the publishers realized that word of mouth would let the kids know the basic premise of the books before reading them, teenagers are chosen for an elimination by death mutual-murder contest in an arena. Who wouldn't raise their eyebrows on hearing that!

The premise of Empress Theresa is a little more esoteric. Theresa acquires limitless power extending over the entire globe. Really? How? Why? What does she do?
The premise is difficult to understand, and doesn't promise any excitement from dangerous situations so why should the kids read it?

Actually, the book does have dangerous situations. Theresa is put into a jet fighter with an atom bomb, the purpose being to get rid of HAL, but Theresa has to be sacrificed. ( This project fails when Theresa escapes the plane. )
Late in the book, Theresa walks out along on a large boulevard in the North Korean capitol city Pyongyang to stare down four million North Koreans who have been ordered to attack her and her South Korean army column. Will they attack, or will they disobey their leaders and free themselves?
Also, Theresa is always under threat of assassination by any one of a thousand assassins for a thousand reasons. She survives a year at the millionaire's mansion near London because the Prime Minister has assigned five thousand British soldiers to the estate to guard her. And so on.

The kids will know none of this ahead of time. It's doubtful they will begin reading a trilogy.

Collins had the advantage of being able to divide her story into three parts.
In book one, Katniss survives the Games.
In book two, Katniss is sent back to the "Quarterly" Games and survives again.
In book thres, she leads the rebels against the capitol
This is all neatly managed.

In Empress Theresa, over a dozen major situations follow one another with the logic and certainty of a row of falling dominoes. There is no point where I can say "OK, the story is over at this point. See book two for the further adventures of Super Theresa." No. It is all one interlocking continuum ( except for the North Korean adventure which is Theresa's own idea, but not enough material for a book ) For example: When OPEC puts the pressure on Theresa she tells her millionaire host, "You were right, Mr. Parker. I shouldn't have gotten involved in international politics." He replies, "I retract my former statement. It was inevitable somebody would go after your power with extortion no matter what you did or didn't do."

So you can see my problems.
 
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Foxee

Patron
Patron
It's doubtful they will begin reading a trilogy.
Why do you think this? If they're interested, they'll read the next book. It's not that much different from reading all of the first book, keeping the reader's interest is keeping the reader's interest no matter what genre, audience, or type of writing.

I have a child reading YA books and I can tell you something, she loves a good series! I picked up the first in Margaret Peterson Haddix's Missing series. Neither of us knew who Haddix was or was familiar with the series, it just looked interesting. Guess who's had to drive back to the library for every subsequent book? Then my daughter was delighted to find out that Haddix had written a different series, now she's reading that one. Same with the Michael Vey series, she wants the next book for Christmas.

If your manuscript is too long to be one YA book and doesn't offer natural divisions to become a series of books, you may need to consider either restructuring your book or going for an audience who will read a very long book, an adult market.
 

Jeko

WF Veterans
In The Hunger Games trilogy, the first book ends with END OF BOOK ONE !!!!

So does The Knife of Never Letting Go. That won an award, I think.

I thought The Hunger Games worked great as a stand-alone book. The third book in the trilogy had a greater effect on me, though.

In Empress Theresa, over a dozen major situations follow one another with the logic and certainty of a row of falling dominoes. There is no point where I can say "OK, the story is over at this point. See book two for the further adventures of Super Theresa." No. It is all one interlocking continuum ( except for the North Korean adventure which is Theresa's own idea, but not enough material for a book )

That's the sign of a very confused plot.

You could probably flesh out each individual event and turn it into a book, you know. I was thinking about the first few lines of your book, and thought they'd make a great chapter if you went into her past rather than simply commenting on it. Your tale of the atom bomb? A great climax. Have some thigns that lead up to it. That's a whole book, if you work on it some.

The fact that your events are not neatly managed should be a clear indication that you need to start neatly managing them. Then this could turn into a very exciting read.
 

empresstheresa

Senior Member
If your manuscript is too long to be one YA book and doesn't offer natural divisions to become a series of books, you may need to consider either restructuring your book or going for an audience who will read a very long book, an adult market.



Actually, I originally wrote a, ( are you ready for this ? ) 142,000 word version. I still have it on my computer ( and Norton Online Backup )

But I noticed that some literary agents were saying they rarely looked at a book with more that 125,000 words. So I trimmed some fat and reduced the book to "only" 119,000 worlds.

Then in March 2012, I saw an article in AARP magazine titled "60 Going On 16" It was about older readers such as retired high school English teachers finding out there were enjoying reading YA books more that adult books. It's the nostalgia thing. They remember what it was like to be young."
I realized that Empress Theresa screamed to be a YA book. So I trimmed out more fat and reduced it to 96,000 words, which is still good for 355 pages.
Notice that I put these nostalgic remarks on page one. "My job as a kid was to figure out what the heck was going on and what to do about it. It's not easy when you're young and everything is brand new." and "Yeah, well, why should I be worrying about it in the fourth grade?"
 

empresstheresa

Senior Member

In Empress Theresa, over a dozen major situations follow one another with the logic and certainty of a row of falling dominoes. There is no point where I can say "OK, the story is over at this point. See book two for the further adventures of Super Theresa." No. It is all one interlocking continuum ( except for the North Korean adventure which is Theresa's own idea, but not enough material for a book )


That's the sign of a very confused plot.

How can you possibly say that since you haven't read the book and don't even know the more than a dozen major situations.

Your tale of the atom bomb? A great climax. Have some thigns [ Theresa has great thighs that lead to.... :joyous: ] that lead up to it. That's a whole book, if you work on it some.

The atom bomb situation can't be the climax of a book. It's in chapter four, and HAL's reaction to it starts the row of dominoes falling, which Theresa has to deal with.

This is what's wrong with "the process".
 
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Foxee

Patron
Patron
Okay, so it's a YA book you're marketing to pretty much everyone. Considering that I've read The Hunger Games as well as the YA books that my daughter's reading I can see this. So, what do you think you'll do here? Divide it or keep it as one? I haven't read every word of your thread so you may have covered this but are you going to write more about empress theresa? If there is more material to come I'd still say go for a series. Why not?

I have to admit from the bits and pieces I've seen of your plot I agree with those who think she comes across as a mary-sue. Obviously I can't know that for sure with just this much but I'd say that's something to be aware of and objective about. Just make sure that her flaws get enough time that she's not perfect and you're fine, really. Flawed people are usually a pretty darned interesting read.
 

Jeko

WF Veterans
I think you could stretch those 96,000 words to 960,000, if you fleshed out the number of interesting stories you have in your one big jumble of them. it looks like you've written the whole story of Theresa, and that story is of epic proportions.

Imagine if you tried to squeeze A Song of Fire and Ice into one book. I think that's what you might be doing here.

Give all the individual moments you have some space. Then they can get the attention they deserve.

How can you possibly say that since you haven't read the book and don't even know the more than a dozen major situations.

Good luck trying to grab yourself an agent, then.
 

Jeko

WF Veterans
The atom bomb situation can't be the climax of a book.

Only if you won't let it.

I would bet a good sum of money that if you outlined all the events leading up to it and slightly after it, you'd find a half-decent plotline at the very least. The same with all your individual major events. They all sound like great stories in their own right. I think what makes me lose interest is the way the story goes past them so quickly. 355 is nothing when you have so many major events. 355 for one, maybe two of them? Now you're on to a winner.
 
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