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COASTAL (A Thriller)


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#1 christophertwoolf

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 02:09 PM

Hi everyone!

 

Boy, been a long time since I last logged in, and I'm super excited to jump back into the grind! This project is fairly knew, and quite different from my usual for those who helped critique my other thriller last year. Again, thanks for that! I'm polishing this baby up for #DVpit in October, but wanted to post the synopsis in the meantime! I want to thank everyone who helps out, and I promise to return the favor as soon as things simmer down for me - trust me, I WILL repay the favor. If you are feeling extra eager and would like to read the prologue (as new eyes help!) please message me. Either way, thanks for all the help! - C

 

Los Angeles is a fresh start, a chance to look beyond New York’s horrific memory.


CAMERON starts his first day impossibly lost, thirty minutes late to his interview with WILLIAM THAXTON, who proudly hires him on the spot. Unfortunately, unaccustomed to the city, he returns to find his car towed and Thaxton thoughtfully drives him to the pound. Cameron spends the ride submitting new-hire documents – learning the tablet is a detonator exploding a bomb killing fifty. Thaxton then handcuffs Cameron, trapping him inside his own thriller.


Thaxton forces Cameron to witness the bloodbath, fleeing across town to a lone convenience store. There, he tricks Cameron into causing two more deaths, their blood splattering his body. Cameron, still cuffed and hurting from the prior explosion, demands answers, resulting in a drugged needle to his leg. The city’s top sergeants take the case and Cameron’s parents are informed.


Cameron wakes hours later with freed hands as Thaxton speeds along a mountain road. He wisely times his questions, snatching his phone and jumping from the vehicle. After excruciating pain, Cameron gains the strength to sprint away, startling an oncoming car off the cliff; another death from his doing.


Thaxton snags Cameron, taking him to a distant house while police investigate the accident. This house is filled with terrifying screams, and Cameron shares a room with CLEMENTINE, a damaged girl who spends her whole life behind locked doors. Cameron fails to comprehend her gibberish warnings, and the following night the sexual abuse she’s come to expect. Ignoring his wounds, Cameron convinces Clementine to attempt escape, which backfires when Thaxton barges in and attacks him.


After another night of terror, Cameron snags the keys from a sleeping man and rescues Clementine, tiptoeing downstairs as the sleeper screams awake. Cameron successfully phones the police, forcing Thaxton to change his operation. The police arrive too late, finding rooms filled with stained mattresses and drugged girls. Thaxton, on the other hand, takes them to identical houses across country with no sense of direction. At the last house, Cameron tells Clementine the story of JONATHAN PELCO, his New York boss who sexually assaulted him. The story ends when he realizes she’s cold and bloody, with Thaxton stepping proudly from darkness. Cameron finally breaks.


Thaxton returns Cameron to Pelco, who locks him in the storage closet. Inside, Cameron struggles to remember the secret password, finally recalling the code 2536368463, spelling Clementine’s name. The pieces finally connect, and he stars a fire before confronting his two nightmares in the kitchen, who question the hard drive Cameron stole before leaving for LA. When the opportunity appears, Cameron kills Thaxton, fleeing as Pelco shoots his leg. Flames break, and Pelco, lost for options, takes Cameron to the fire escape as emergency squads search the floor. With an agonizing kiss, Pelco places a blade in Cameron’s grip and slices his own throat. Cameron is found and brought to the ER, where he waits for his parents and news that the evil is over…if only that were true.


Christopher T. Woolf

christophertwoolf@gmail.com

 

Brand new to LA from NY! Working on a new thriller, so no query to critique yet.

Hope you return the help when mine is ready!

 

Query: http://agentquerycon...sed-5/?p=327091

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...er/#entry327479

 


#2 christophertwoolf

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 02:45 PM

Thanks to outside help, the updated version is here:

 

CAMERON LOWD escapes his life in New York and moves to Los Angeles in hopes of starting fresh as a thriller writer; until he’s on the run for murder.

 

Now in LA, Cameron is late to an interview for a company he didn’t research. Cameron becomes excited when WILLIAM THAXTON hires Cameron as his assistant. His excitement disappears when his car goes missing, and Thaxton offers a lift to the impound, using the ride to complete new-hire documents. Cameron finishes, clicks submit, and the ground erupts. A packed restaurant explodes, flinging bloodied bodies across the road. Cameron is frozen with terror when Thaxton handcuffs him to the transmission. Thaxton taunts instead of writing a thriller, he’s trapped in one.

 

Thaxton flees to a lone convenience store where he shoots two men in front of Cameron. Cameron, cuffed and hurting from the explosion, demands answers, resulting in a needle to his leg. He wakes hours later with freed hands as Thaxton speeds along a mountain road. Timing his questions wisely, Cameron snatches his phone and jumps from the vehicle, smacking rough pavement. Riddled with wounds, Cameron sprints from Thaxton’s approaching figure, startling an oncoming car off the cliff; another death from his doing.

 

Thaxton takes Cameron across town, holding him captive in a house filled with terrifying screams. Cameron is forced upon CLEMENTINE, a damaged girl who’s never stepped beyond the locked door. After they are drugged and assaulted, Cameron realizes the human trafficking ring he’s caught in. When morning comes, Cameron convinces Clementine to escape, backfiring when Thaxton barges in and attacks, separating them to different rooms. Now Cameron’s lost his only ally.

 

After another night of assault, Cameron snags keys from the sleeping man and rescues Clementine and successfully phones the police. Thaxton forces them to his car and leaves the state. Police arrive too late, finding rooms filled with stained mattresses and drugged girls. Thaxton takes them to identical houses across country. At the last house, Cameron tells Clementine of JONATHAN PELCO, his New York boss who sexually assaulted him and the very reason he escaped the city. As Cameron’s tale ends, he realizes she’s cold and bloody, with Thaxton stepping proudly from darkness with a knife in-hand. Cameron breaks to tears and gives up.

 

Cameron’s nightmare deepens when Thaxton returns him to Pelco, merging his past horror with the present. Pelco locks Cameron in the storage closet, where he struggles to recall the door’s code. Finally Cameron remembers, shaking with fear as he spells Clementine’s name. Pondering Thaxton’s connection to Pelco, he starts a fire before confronting the men.

 

Pelco questions Cameron’s knowledge, hoping to recover the flash drive he swiped before leaving New York. Cameron refuses to give its location, killing Thaxton before Pelco shoots his leg. The sprinklers activate, and Pelco knows authorities will arrive any minute. Pelco places a blade in Cameron’s grip and slices his own throat. Emergency squads storm the floor, finding Cameron and transporting him to the hospital. While his parents fly from California, Cameron recuperates in a hospital bed, thankful the horror is over…until the police discover a different version to his story.


Christopher T. Woolf

christophertwoolf@gmail.com

 

Brand new to LA from NY! Working on a new thriller, so no query to critique yet.

Hope you return the help when mine is ready!

 

Query: http://agentquerycon...sed-5/?p=327091

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...er/#entry327479

 


#3 D. Thomas Clark

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 04:22 PM

Thanks to outside help, the updated version is here:

 

CAMERON LOWD escapes his life in New York and moves to Los Angeles in hopes of starting fresh as a thriller writer; until he’s on the run for murder.

 

Now in LA, Cameron is late to an interview for a company he didn’t research. Cameron becomes excited when WILLIAM THAXTON hires Cameron as his assistant. How come? Is this Thaxton guy like Bill Gates or something? His excitement disappears when his car goes missing, and Thaxton offers a lift to the impound, using the ride to complete new-hire documents. Cameron finishes, clicks submit, and the ground erupts. I'd leave this out and go straigt into the next part, "At the same moment, a packed..." something like that. A packed restaurant explodes, flinging bloodied bodies across the road. Cameron is frozen with terror when Thaxton handcuffs him to the transmission. Thaxton taunts instead of writing a thriller, he’s trapped in one. Consider combining these into one sentence

 

Thaxton flees to a lone convenience store where he shoots two men in front of Cameron. I'm confused by this. So Cameron is still handcuffed, right? Is it nearby, like across the street? Cameron, cuffed and hurting from the explosion, demands answers, resulting in a needle to his leg. He wakes hours later with freed hands as Thaxton speeds along a mountain road. Timing his questions wisely, Cameron snatches his phone and jumps from the vehicle, smacking rough pavement. Riddled with wounds, Cameron sprints from Thaxton’s approaching figure, startling an oncoming car off the cliff; another death from his doing.

 

Thaxton takes Cameron across town, holding him captive in a house filled with terrifying screams. Mention that Cameron didn't get away, like he was too startled from watching the car go off the cliff or something. Cameron is forced upon strange word choice CLEMENTINE, a damaged girl who’s never stepped beyond the locked door. After they are drugged and assaulted, Cameron realizes the human trafficking ring he’s caught in. When morning comes, Cameron convinces Clementine to escape, backfiring when Thaxton barges in and attacks, separating them to different rooms. Now Cameron’s lost his only ally.

 

After another night of assault, Cameron snags keys from the sleeping man and rescues Clementine and successfully phones the police. Thaxton forces them to his car and leaves the state. Police arrive too late, finding rooms filled with stained mattresses and drugged girls. Thaxton takes them to identical houses across country. At the last house, Cameron tells Clementine of JONATHAN PELCO, his New York boss who sexually assaulted him and the very reason he escaped the city. So at the top it's a literal escape? I thought the first line meant his life sucked so he left. As Cameron’s tale ends, he realizes she’s cold and bloody, with Thaxton stepping proudly from darkness with a knife in-hand. Cameron breaks into tears and gives up.

 

Cameron’s nightmare deepens when Thaxton returns him to Pelco, merging his past horror with the present. Pelco locks Cameron in the storage closet, where he struggles to recall the door’s code. Finally Cameron remembers, shaking with fear as he spells Clementine’s name. Pondering Thaxton’s connection to Pelco, he starts a fire before confronting the men.

 

Pelco questions Cameron’s knowledge, hoping to recover the flash drive What flash drive? I don't think this was mentioned before. What's supposed to be on it? he swiped before leaving New York. Cameron refuses to give its location, killing Thaxton before Pelco shoots his leg. The sprinklers activate, and Pelco knows authorities will arrive any minute. Pelco places a blade in Cameron’s grip and slices his own throat. Emergency squads storm the floor, finding Cameron and transporting him to the hospital. While his parents fly from California, Cameron recuperates in a hospital bed, thankful the horror is over…until the police discover a different version to his story. This is an... odd way to end this I think. Gives off a Fight Club vibe to me. What I mean is normally you give away the ending, but I also know there's some agents who definitely don't  want you to, and this ending is good for them. But I'd make an alternate version where you explain what this means.

This is definitely concise. Maybe a little too much though. At least for me. I mentioned a few things above, but there's something else I didn't understand. After reading this, I want to know why someone who escaped a terrible situation in his old job would move and then not bother researching the company he goes to work for. I'd think he would be extra careful if anything. But since they're connected, I'm guessing that there's some kind of push for him to get that job, and if there is, I'd like to know more about it.



#4 christophertwoolf

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 04:46 PM

Hey D. Thomas! Good to hear from you.

 

I agree with all the comments and suggestions, and will definitely fix after my post!

 

Three things you pointed out:

1. The flash drive - we learn at the very end that Cameron stole the flash drive, showing the reader he has more than we're told. I only mention once what it holds, and though it's super crucial to the story as a whole, it doesn't have enough to explain just yet. Should I cut it out? I wanted to keep it solely to show the reason Pelco wanted him back in NY.

 

2. Not researching the company:

Yes, your thought is exactly what a reader would think, and Cameron explains why he doesn't take the precaution with '...that's what desperation and fear do to you'. It's early in the story, and I don't give too much away to ensure the ending stays strong. For the synopsis, I didn't want to get too in-depth with this. Right?

 

3. The ending:

The 'police find a different story' IS the ending, everything is included in the synopsis. Should I not put that? I don't want to come off as confusing.


Christopher T. Woolf

christophertwoolf@gmail.com

 

Brand new to LA from NY! Working on a new thriller, so no query to critique yet.

Hope you return the help when mine is ready!

 

Query: http://agentquerycon...sed-5/?p=327091

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...er/#entry327479

 


#5 D. Thomas Clark

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 05:08 PM

Hey, I have some suggestions for those things.

 

1. I think a good way to do it is to tell a little more about it when it comes up, "Pelco knows Cameron stole a flash drive with vital information" kind of thing, something so we know that flash drive is the reason he didn't really escape like he thought.

 

2. It's good not to go too in-depth, but for me personally, it was a bit of an issue. Even something like "he takes the first job he can get in another city" would solve it, something so I could believe it (and probably something I'd do myself in the situation) 

 

3. I guess I'm not sure what you mean by that. What IS this other story? Does Cameron get blamed for everything? Is he going to jail? I don't know what happens, but "the police discover a different version to his story" gave off the impression to me like, "Here's another version. You set off that bomb. You killed these people. "Thaxton" never existed." and I like those kinds of twists (even better when the bad guy DOES exist, but plays everything carefully), but if that's not what you mean, some clarification would help.

 

And if you've got some time, I could use a look at my synopsis. I'm about to send some fulls out but need to get that tightened up first.



#6 dmsimone

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 12:40 PM

As I've said in another post...I am really new to writing synposes, but will do my best. My comments are in blue.

Sometimes you have too much detail that isn't needed in a synopsis...I made some edits, but of course use whatever you like.

This is quite a thriller! Sounds very compelling and gruesome all at the same time!

 

Thanks to outside help, the updated version is here:

 

CAMERON LOWD escapes his life in New York and moves to Los Angeles in hopes of starting fresh as a thriller writer; until he’s on the run for murder. I don't think you need to start a synopsis with a hook...I think that's just he query. Chuck Sambuchino created a number of example synposes based on movies, and none of them started with a hook. You could almost start with your next sentence.

 

Now in LA, Cameron is late to an interview for a company he didn’t research. Cameron He becomes excited when WILLIAM THAXTON hires Cameron as his assistant. His excitement disappears when his car goes missing, and Thaxton offers a lift to the impound, using the ride to complete new-hire documents. Cameron finishes, clicks submit he's in a car, so I'll assume he's on an Ipad or laptop with WiFi, and the ground erupts. A packed crowded restaurant explodes, flinging bloodied bodies across the road. Cameron is frozen with in terror when Thaxton handcuffs him to the transmission. Thaxton taunts instead of writing a thriller, he’s trapped in one. I kind of want to see this in quotes....Thaxton taunts: "Instead of writing a thriller, you're trapped in one."

 

Thaxton flees to a lone convenience store where he shoots two men in front of Cameron. Cameron, cuffed and hurting from the explosion, demands answers, resulting in a needle to his leg. He wakes hours later with freed hands as Thaxton speeds along a mountain road. Timing his questions wisely, Cameron snatches his Thaxton's phone and jumps from the vehicle, smacking rough pavement. Riddled with wounds, Cameron sprints from Thaxton’s approaching figure, startling an oncoming car off the cliff; another death from his doing.

 

Thaxton takes Cameron across town Oh, so Cameron is captured again?, holding him captive in a house filled with terrifying screams. Cameron is forced upon CLEMENTINE, a damaged girl who’s never stepped beyond the locked door. Meaning he has to have sex with her? If so, don't hold back. State it. After they are drugged and assaulted, Cameron realizes he is caught in a the human trafficking ring he’s caught in. When morning comes, Cameron convinces Clementine to escape with him, backfiring when Thaxton barges in and attacks, separating them to different rooms. Now Cameron’s lost his only ally.

 

After another night of assault yeah, I want to know more about the specifics of the assault. Cameron snags keys from the sleeping man who is the sleeping man - a guard? a customer? and rescues Clementine, and successfully phones the police. Police arrive too late, finding rooms filled with stained mattresses and drugged girls. I moved this sentence up - sounds better in this location. 

 

Thaxton forces them Cameron and Clementive to his car and leaves the state, Thaxton taking them to identical houses across the country. At the last final house, Cameron tells Clementine of about JONATHAN PELCO, his New York boss who sexually assaulted him; and the very reason he escaped the city. As Cameron’s tale ends, he realizes she’s cold and bloody, with Thaxton stepping proudly from darkness with a knife in-hand. Cameron breaks to tears and gives up.

 

Cameron’s nightmare deepens when Thaxton returns him to Pelco, merging his past horror with the present. OK wow that's a horrible twist! Pelco locks Cameron in the storage closet, where he struggles to recall the door’s code. Finally, Cameron remembers, shaking with fear as he spells Clementine’s name. Pondering Thaxton’s connection to Pelco, he starts a fire before confronting the men.

 

Pelco questions Cameron’s knowledge, hoping to recover the flash drive he swiped before leaving New York flash drive? I had to scroll up to see if there was previous mention of it - I think a quick sentence up top will help clarify. Cameron refuses to give its location, killing Thaxton before Pelco shoots his leg. The sprinklers activate, and Pelco knows authorities will arrive any minute. Pelco places a blade in Cameron’s grip and slices his own throat. Emergency squads storm the floor, finding Cameron and transporting him to the hospital. While his parents fly in from California, Cameron recuperates in a hospital bed, thankful the horror is over…until the police discover a different version to his story.  



#7 christophertwoolf

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 02:16 PM

Hi everyone! Thanks for the help. I'm sure some parts require tweaking, but hopefully this is a step in the right direction regarding content. Let me know.

 

CAMERON LOWD leaves his New York life and moves to Los Angeles in hopes of starting fresh as a thriller writer. Now in LA, he’s late for an interview with a company he didn’t research, and is shocked when WILLIAM THAXTON offers him a job. However, this newfound excitement disappears when Cameron finds his car towed, and Thaxton offers a lift to the impound. Cameron spends the ride submitting new-hire documents on Thaxton’s tablet, unaware it’s a detonator exploding a crowded restaurant. Cameron, horrified as blood paints the street, is handcuffed to the stick shift. Thaxton holds him close. “Welcome to your own thriller, my little writer.”

 

Thaxton drives them to a convenience store where he shoots two men in front of Cameron, still cuffed and paining from the explosion. He demands answers from Thaxton, resulting in a drugged needle to the leg. Cameron wakes hours later with freed hands as Thaxton speeds along a mountain road, and, timing his actions, snatches his phone and jumps from the vehicle. Riddled with wounds, Cameron sprints from Thaxton’s approaching figure, startling an oncoming car off the cliff; another death from his doing.

 

Thaxton takes advantage of Cameron’s shock, abducting and dragging him across town to a house filled with terrifying screams. Locked behind a handle-less door, Cameron meets CLEMENTINE, a damaged girl who’s never seen the outside world. After they are drugged and sexually assaulted, Cameron realizes he is caught in a human trafficking ring. When morning hits, Cameron convinces Clementine to escape, which backfires when Thaxton barges in and attacks them. This failure results in their separation to different rooms, and Cameron’s lost his only ally.

 

After another drugged assault, Cameron abruptly wakes beneath a sleeping man. Knowing the rarity of escape, he snags the keys to rescue Clementine and together phone the police. Realizing the stakes, Thaxton forces them to his car and flees the state. Police arrive too late, finding rooms filled with stained mattresses and drugged girls.

 

Thaxton takes them to identical houses across the country, and, at the final house, Cameron tells Clementine the very reason he escaped New York. He speaks of JONATHAN PELCO, the boss who tied him down and sexually assaulted him. Before he explains the hard drive he stole, Cameron steps into a puddle of blood and realizes she’s already dead in the darkness. Thaxton emerges proudly with a knife in-hand, watching Cameron unhinge himself with sorrow.

 

Cameron’s nightmare deepens when Thaxton delivers him to Pelco, merging his past horror with the present. Pelco locks Cameron in a storage closet, where he struggles to recall the door’s code. Finally Cameron reconnects his memories, shaking with fear as he spells Clementine’s name and unlocks the door. Unable to pinpoint Thaxton’s connection to Pelco, Cameron starts a fire before confronting the men.

 

Cameron emerges with a knife and questions their human trafficking operation, using the word Ztudio from Pelco’s stolen drive. Before they react, the sprinklers click on and Cameron jumps and kills Thaxton. Pelco, knowing authorities are bound to arrive, places a blade in Cameron’s grip and slices his own throat. Emergency squads storm the floor and find Cameron, immediately transporting him to the hospital where he recuperates while his parents return from California.


Christopher T. Woolf

christophertwoolf@gmail.com

 

Brand new to LA from NY! Working on a new thriller, so no query to critique yet.

Hope you return the help when mine is ready!

 

Query: http://agentquerycon...sed-5/?p=327091

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...er/#entry327479

 


#8 Ms-Q

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 05:47 PM

First, I question whether this is a thriller rather than horror. I myself am not 100% sure on the line. The plot seems to be driven by scenes of nightmarish things happening rather than by real-world logic.

 

Hi everyone! Thanks for the help. I'm sure some parts require tweaking, but hopefully this is a step in the right direction regarding content. Let me know.

 

CAMERON LOWD leaves his New York life and moves to Los Angeles in hopes of starting fresh as a thriller writer. Now in LA, he’s late for an interview with a company he didn’t research, and is shocked when WILLIAM THAXTON offers him a job. However, this newfound excitement disappears when Cameron finds his car towed, and Thaxton offers a lift to the impound. Cameron spends the ride submitting new-hire documents on Thaxton’s tablet, unaware it’s a detonator exploding a crowded restaurant. Cameron, horrified as blood paints the street, is handcuffed to the stick shift. Thaxton holds him close. “Welcome to your own thriller, my little writer.” I'm not sure how the guy's job ties into the rest of the plot.

 

Thaxton drives them to a convenience store where he shoots two men in front of Cameron, still cuffed and paining from the explosion. He demands answers from Thaxton, resulting in a drugged needle to the leg. Cameron wakes hours later with freed This does not work for me. Freeing himself would be much stronger. hands as Thaxton speeds along a mountain road, and, timing his actions, snatches his phone and jumps from the vehicle. Riddled with wounds, Wounded, Cameron sprints from Thaxton’s approaching figure, startling an oncoming car off the cliff; another death from his doing. Here's another problem: your character keeps blaming himself for something other people are responsible for. Unless this is a character flaw resolved by the story (and unless you illustrate that), it makes little sense to include in the synopsis.

 

Thaxton takes advantage of Cameron’s shock, abducting and dragging him across town to a house filled with terrifying screams. Locked behind a handle-less door, Cameron meets CLEMENTINE, a damaged girl who’s never seen the outside world. After they are drugged and sexually assaulted, Cameron realizes he is caught in a human trafficking ring. OK, here is my problem now: why is Cameron involved here at all? He's a writer. The publishing world where he's working (right?) is not generally known to have human trafficking ties. If he's not working in writing, you need to say what his day job is. Why haven't they just killed him? Basically, what makes your antagonist's actions make sense here? When morning hits, Cameron convinces Clementine to escape, which backfires when Thaxton barges in and attacks them. This failure results in their separation to different rooms, and Cameron’s lost his only ally.

 

After another drugged assault, Cameron abruptly wakes beneath a sleeping man. Knowing the rarity of escape, This is akward; re-word he snags the keys to rescue Clementine and together phone the police. Realizing the stakes, Thaxton forces them to his car and flees the state. Police arrive too late, finding rooms filled with stained mattresses and drugged girls.

 

Thaxton takes them to identical houses across the country, Why? Why is it identical? Why move them across the country? Why is Cameron valuable enough to keep alive and move around? and, at the final house, Cameron tells Clementine the very reason he escaped New York. He speaks of JONATHAN PELCO, the boss who tied him down and sexually assaulted him. Before he explains the hard drive he stole, Cameron steps into a puddle of blood and realizes she’s already dead in the darkness. Thaxton emerges proudly with a knife in-hand, watching Cameron unhinge himself with sorrow. This needs to be more specific.

 

Cameron’s nightmare deepens when Thaxton delivers him to Pelco, merging his past horror with the present. Pelco locks Cameron in a storage closet, where he struggles to recall the door’s code. Why would he know the door code? Finally Cameron reconnects his memories, shaking with fear as he spells Clementine’s name and unlocks the door. Why is Clementine's name the door code? Unable to pinpoint Thaxton’s connection to Pelco, Cameron starts a fire before confronting the men. I don't know how the first section of this sentence relates to the second half.

 

Cameron emerges with a knife and questions their human trafficking operation, using the word Ztudio from Pelco’s stolen drive. Why is the word important? Confusing. Before they react, the sprinklers click on and Cameron jumps and kills Thaxton. Why would the sprinklers kill him? Pelco, knowing authorities are bound to arrive, places a blade in Cameron’s grip and slices his own throat. Emergency squads storm the floor and find Cameron, immediately transporting him to the hospital where he recuperates while his parents return from California.

 

A character arc is what makes something a story instead of a series of events where the same people happened to be in the room. You have a lot of interesting events happen, but what makes a story compelling (and what will sell your story to an agent) is a character who has wants and fears and who changes as a result of what happens. That makes us care if lives or fails or dies.

 

In this draft, I am not seeing a character arc for your main character, and I do not understand why your antagonists behave the way they do. It may be there and you've not shown it off in this draft.

 

If you had told me why Cameron had fled from his first boss at the beginning of the story, that he was a young writer trying to recover from the seemingly random and horrific trauma of sexual assault and more random and nonsensical shit keeps happening to him, that's something that makes me root for him. It also explains some (not all, but some) of my questions. Why move him to an identical house? Because it is freaking horrible and disorienting, just like Cameron's life. Because what happens to this guy is the horrible and seemingly random BS the world throws at him. Because his journey is to find meaning in nonsensical, horrible things happening.

 

But I could be wrong and that's not it at all.  If I'm right, then disclosing Cameron's assault at the beginning and setting up his utter bewilderment and brokenness would help show you mean this to be a horrible fever dream with fever dream logic.

 

 

I hope this is helpful.






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