Current Project: SotA

In the Shadow of the Archons

Great wizards called Archons once ruled the world. Their wars grew so destructive that for defense the Archons ripped their domains from the earth, creating vast islands in the sky and a volcanic wasteland below.  Then, one day, the archons vanished and a voice heard throughout the word intoned: Islands fall, Archons awake.

Now, rumors come of islands falling from the sky. Eager to prove that the squabbling griffin riders are worth the vast resources lavished on them, Galeron flies to the edge of his floating land to determine if it is sinking towards the fiery world below. There he finds an unheard of flying ship from a land once ruled by an enemy Archon. The visitors promise trade but is their true purpose to find and kill the Archon that once protected Galeron’s land?

In the commotion caused by the arrival of the strange flying ship, the griffin captains task Galeron to dispose of Iolantha, a sorceress supposedly fallen into corruption. Persuaded that her dreams are not the wiles of demons but a link to his slumbering Archon, he spares her only to be ejected from the griffin order for violating his orders.

Banished and grounded, Galeron allies with the alluring sorceress. Her dreams direct him to the offspring of Antyrenax, a dragon who once served the Archon. His former griffin-mate Calline warns him not to risk such a fickle mount. He ignores her only to find the young dragon’s casual indifference for humans perilous. Torn between Calline and Iolantha, bound to a dangerous mount, Galeron races to find the Archon before his land plummets to the ground, all while navigating the intrigues of the visitors, the Archon’s former companions and the factions among the griffin riders.

This a second draft of what will ultimately be my pitch for this novel. For the record, I hate writing these things and it needs lots of work. If successful, there will be additional volumes in the series but this story is an intact, single volume novel that starts as above and concludes a story arc. That is, it is not the beginning of a multi-volume story. Comments are very much welcomed.

Copyright 2012 M. Q. Allen, all rights reserved.

18 thoughts on “Current Project: SotA

  1. Yes, there are some bits that don’t make sense, but I’m sure you’ll notice those when you read it after reading my comment. 😉

    I like the story idea, but I think you should try to fit in my emphasis on Galeron. He’s the MC, right? If so, why should we care about him? He’s trying to save his home, that’s nice, of course he wants to save his home, but what’s keeping him from doing so? And what will have happen if he doesn’t? Will his family be tortured to death or something? And how does that relate to the sorceress. Why would she help them? Is she a love interest? If so, I’d hint at their romance.

    I think, you included a lot of details that are not that important in a pitch (though I could be terribly wrong). What was it that someone once told me…let me look…dang it! I can’t find it. (I did not put it in my writing tips folder…)

    Anyway, I think it was setting, character, the conflict, the stakes, the real (emotional) conflict, and then something else I can’t remember.

    Or maybe I’m confusing this with the back cover blurb?

    Anyway, I don’t think they are that different. We want to hook the agent as much as a reader. And I think you need to focus more on character and conflict and not so much on all the cool world details (though they are cool). Not sure if that helps, but there it is. 🙂

    1. Thanks for looking this over! I have to agree it isn’t very good (ugh, I really hate these things).

      I love your tip; I’ve started re-working it along those lines and will post a new version in a bit. Would love any feedback you’d care to share on the next iteration 🙂

      1. Of course! But, again, I am no expert. One thing to keep in mind, an editor once told me what she looks for in fiction: exactly what a reader would look for.

      2. Here’s another crack at it. Would love to hear what you think. Feels like I’m probably tipping my hand too much. The pitch covers the first 5 of 33 chapters.

        At some point, I’ll also probably try to run it through critters.

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  3. Sorry for the delay, missed your response above. It’s only about a month late!

    I think the story is clearer in this second draft, and I like it, but I think you can tighten up the first paragraph a bit. And there’s a few details that are unclear, such as, why is he torn between the sorceress and his former griffin-mate? Does it matter to the story (and/or pitch)? If not, don’t include it.

    You might want to be careful about putting in too much detail. Like this:
    “Eager to prove that the squabbling griffin riders are worth the vast resources lavished on them,”

    In the novel, I can see how that may be important. There’s these griffin-riders that cost tons of money (sort of like our bloated military!), and our hero thinks they can be of use somehow in the present conflict. That’s great for the novel, and for a longer pitch it would be important to include that in some way, but for an “elevator” pitch, I think it is distracting.

    They are about to fall from the sky to a fiery death, everyone is gonna die – everyone! After reading your pitch, my heart should be pounding wondering how he’s gonna save the world.

    So that brings me to wonder…how does he plan to do that? Call on the wizards? But why would they help? Maybe I don’t need to know that in a pitch, but right now I’m not sure how getting the dragon will help him get to the wizards and I’m not sure how the wizards will help him save his world.

    I may be nit-picking this (feeling critical in more ways than one this morning, sorry), so please get someone else to read and offer feedback. Don’t go on just what I say. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the feedback and no worries on the timing. This isn’t on my immediate to-do list so any feedback is great and you’ve definitely given me more to work on. I may not revisit it until after the next draft though so probably no update for quite a while.

    I don’t want to leave the pitch until the end (when it is a rush) but I really hate these things, worse than even synopses and getting chapter 1 right…

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