Arena - Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Drama/Romance

Logline:
When Qwyne’s brother contracts a lethal illness she enters the Arena - a multi-round fight-to-the-death tournament - to afford the doctor care to save him.

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Drama, Romance
Intended Audience: New Adult (18-25 Years)
Length: Likely Around 45-60 Chapters, 45,000-60,000 Words

Story Summary:

When Qwyne’s brother contracts a lethal illness she enters the Arena - a multi-round fight-to-the-death tournament - to afford the doctor care to save him. Her mother, unwilling to lose both her children after already losing her husband, begs Qwyne to reconsider entering, claiming some gains aren’t worth the losses. A man who loved Qwyne since childhood warns her “the Arena changes even the best kinds of people.”

Fixated on saving her brother, Qwyne ignores them and enters. She is given a mask and nickname. She meets a woman named Adya who must follow in her family’s footsteps and survive the first three rounds of the tournament to honor them. They promise to help each other in the Arena and introduce themselves to Aeryne, the previous winner and Qwyne’s idol. He takes interest in Qwyne and tells her to meet him after Round One

Inside the Arena, Qwyne and Adya meet Dray, a wealthy nobody who entered seeking fame. They work together to complete Round One.

Qwyne receives a portion of earnings for completing Round One and gets her brother into a hospital. However, his condition is worse than expected and Qwyne needs more funds to cover his treatment. Qwyne meets with Aeryne and he groups with her as she reluctantly enters the next round.

Aeryne, Qwyne, Adya, and Dray struggle through Round Three. Aeryne and Qwyne bond, relating through poverty-stricken pasts. Due to similar wealthy backgrounds and mutual goals for fame, Adya and Dray also bond. Both couples spend more time around each other and less as a group. They overcome the challenges.

Exhilarated and full of self pride, Qwyne barely survives Round Two and deposits the funds for her brother’s care. With the extra money, she goes on a shopping trip, and experiences the seductive feeling of buying luxurious items. Although she could opt out of the tournament, pocket her earnings, and not risk death she chooses to enter Round Three so she can afford more frivolities.

Aeryne lies to Qwyne, claiming Adya and Dray plan to kill her. Smitten, she believes him and Qwyne and Aeryne kill Adya and Dray. As Adya dies, she tells Qwyne she’s changed. Aeryne and Qwyne survive the round, killing other participants.

Qwyne exits the Arena and fights with her mother, who watched the tournament and tells her she is becoming a monster. Her mother says Qwyne chose money over family by entering Round Three.

Qwyne is so close to achieving riches and fame. She enters the final round of the tournament. The trials are deadly and Qwyne suffers a permanent injury. The competition comes down to her and Aeryne. Aeryne, haunted his past and obsessed with winning, prepares to kill Qwyne. But Qwyne’s desire to rise above her past consumes her and she kills him first.

Qwyne exits the Arena bloodstained, rich, and famous but has ruined her relationships. Even her childhood friend doesn’t want her. She stares at the banners hailing her as winner, regretting entering and letting the Arena change her.

Plotlines:

  • Qwyne’s main character arc is her learning the fundamental knowledge her mother and friend tried telling her at the beginning of the book that she wasn’t ready to hear: Some gains aren’t worth the losses and violent, greed hungry tournaments like the Arena change even the best kinds of people. The opening and final images express this, since it shows her romanticizing the banners at the beginning of the novel and detesting them at the ending once she has won the tournament.
  • The main plot arc for the A story begins with Qwyne’s goal to afford her brother’s medical care but the arc changes in the B story as Qwyne’s new goal becomes winning the tournament, achieving the grand prize and fame granted by victory.

Notes:

  • Set in a post-war cyberpunk dystopian society where citizens live atop man-made floating islands and killing each other for fame, money, and the public’s entertainment is idolized.
  • A lesson that a real life battle royale shouldn’t be as romanticized as it has been in current popular culture.
1 Like

Pretty close.

This is a storyline covered in effectively one episode of Kill la Kill. It’s a classic in a lot of ways.

There’s just one problem…

The middle comes out of nowhere, and represents the critical change in the character. She is already changing as a person. She has earned enough to likely treat her brother but is also buying extra things on the side instead of sending it all to him. Excellent. This is where she’s corrupted.

Then, her boyfriend says that she should kill two people cause maybe they will kill her.

A plotline in which money is corrupting could lead to a case where she ends up killing someone. It seems a bit on the nose to have her just skip to killing and have their dying words be “you changed.” That’s really obvious.

Perhaps if those characters threatened the money she was earning it might make more sense for her to kill them. Or even for her to just slowly begin to see that in order to win more rounds, she needs to remove competition and ends up killing them. There’s a lot of pathways to her killing them that feel less forced than someone telling her to do it.

Also, all of this unfortunately moves away from her original goal and questline, her brother. He’s missing from the entire second half of the summary, and isn’t the catalyst around which she recognizes she’s changed (it’s instead betraying her friendships). I would’ve thought that her wanting to save him was going to come around at some point (like perhaps she stops sending as much money so she can save even more, or she doubles down and becomes incredibly obsessive with using him as the moral excuse for her bad behaviour and he steps in and pushes her away).

I’m okay with the ending and her walking away choosing to be both a bad person and a broken person and leaving on that note, I just need that middle to be fixed up and not feel like it’s from a different plotline.

2 Likes

Thanks so much for taking the time to leave feedback on my pitch! The points you made about the middle of my story were supremely helpful.

This is a fantastic idea. I’ve been considering shifting it to something like removing them to win more rounds, so I’ll take that kind of direction instead.

This is excellent, too. I’ll absolutely incorporate him in the second part of the story. You’re right; he’s a prime target for a catalyst moving toward the ending message, so I will be sure to use him.

I’ll be sure to address everything you mentioned in my final draft. Thank you again for taking the time to reply back!