Demon king

Summary
Annie is a woman in her late thirties, who is transferred from prison to a mental asylum, after she badly beats up an inmate claiming he was a demon serving Benazyre.
Annie finds a woman named Joan who has been in and out of the mental institution for past ten years. Joan tells Annie that her son Jack was killed by the demon-king Benazyre ten years ago. She tried to convince her husband Hugh but he thinks that she is mad. Joan shares her research with Annie and tells her that she wants to kill Benazyre for revenge. Joan is a tech billionaire and pulls some strings to arrange for Annie’s escape.
The police charges Joan for aiding a convict and declares both of them fugitives.
Following Jaon’s research, the two women go to an abandoned amusement park. They are met with two men who try to kill Annie but Joan recognizes them to be demons and is able to trap them using dirt from a graveyard. Annie finds an old scroll which Joan believes would lead them to the sword which can kill Benazyre.
They follow the instructions on the scroll and reach Annie’s childhood home. Annie tells Joan that the whole town was destroyed by an earthquake when she was three and the town was never rebuilt. Joan believes that Annie’s ancestors were the guardians of the sword and Annie is the one who is supposed to kill the demon king.
Before Annie can argue, a man appears and use telekinesis to torture Annie. Joan tries to fight the demon but he puts her to sleep.
Joan wakes up in a dark smelly cell and finds Annie chained to the walls. Annie tells her that the demon tortured her. And Annie will be killed by the very sword that they were searching for. Annie tells Joan that she was able to snatch a ring from the demon who had tortured her. When Joan puts the ring on, Annie cannot see her. Annie and Joan hatch a plan to kill the demons and escape with the sword. Everything goes according to plan and they both are able to escape. Joan doesn’t kill the demon, only knocks him out. She explains to Annie that the sword will be lost again after use and that’s why Benazyre wanted to kill Annie with the sword. Before they escape the building, Benazyre finds them. Benazyre is a ten feet high translucent spirit and every bit as horrifying as Joan had imagined. Benazyre throws a fireball at Annie, but it is absorbed by the sword in her hand. Benazyre summons an earthquake and the building starts to shake. Joan traps Benazyre into her body using an enchantment and pleads Annie to leave with the sword, before the enchantment breaks. Annie leaves and is met with Hugh outside whose plan was to get Joan sentenced after killing the man in the dungeon.Annie complains that she was not informed about the special effects Benazyre and Hugh says that he knows nothing about it.

Audience - Adults
Genre- Adventure and Mystery
Length- Novella with 30-40 k words

Major plotline --The main concept is to use all the paranormal tropes as cliches as these are supposed to be made up by insane Joan and scheming Hugh.

Annie is playing a con. This will be foreshadowed throughout the book with inconsistencies in her story, convenient things she suddenly remembers, and her refusal to wear the invisibility ring.

Hugh will have this character arc. In start he will be a well meaning husband who doesn’t believe in paranormal stuff. Then Joan reveals that she has money and he doesn’t. He has gambling habits and a girlfriend. Joan says to Annie that Hugh thinks he is smart enough to fool her, but he in an idiot.

Highlights - The story could go either way A) Joan’s story is actually true.
2) Joan pulled one on her husband and has ran off with the money.

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I think from my understanding and reading of this that the reveal is that Annie is trying to get Joan sentenced to prison and then the whole thing makes sense. There’s a few issues with this:

  1. Annie doesn’t have any motivation to be doing anything as far as the reader knows. She knows she’s doing this as a ruse for Joan but the reader can’t know that so why is she doing it? Why would she beat up a guy for claiming to be a demon? Why would she be interested in any of this? If the character’s motivation is at the end, I’ll never get to the end to find that out because I can’t get into a story without an initial character motivation.

  2. Annie’s revealed motivation also doesn’t really clear things up. She wants Joan in prison. Why? Why does she specifically want to put this woman in jail? It’s never explained what her connection would be other than Hugh her ex wants her in jail?

  3. All of this set-up is dangerously exploitative of someone’s fragile mental health. It’s unclear why Joan deserves to be in prison but the plan Annie has hatched is to specifically exploit the fact that she’s mentally unstable and convince her something crazy is happening, which she would believe, so that she can make her kill someone and be sentenced for murder. That just makes your main character seem like an absolutely horrible human being who has exploited someone’s mental illness to get them to commit a crime.

  4. None of Joan’s situation is plausible. If she’s a billionaire, she’s not going into a mental institution. She’s getting private help for millions of dollars. She will not pop in and out of a public mental facility where they also keep criminals. If she keeps being committed to a mental facility, again, it would be a super rich one, and also if she’s committed then they’ve determined she likely isn’t able to manage her own assets or she would basically have a hard time being a tech billionaire while also being in a public mental ward.

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Thank you for pointing out such a major plot hole.

I can change the pitch a bit as:-

Hugh is fed up of his wife Joan’s belief that the demon king Benazyre had killed their son. He tried to get her professional help but Joan convinced everyone that she doesn’t believe in any supernatural stuff. So Hugh read through her journal which held all her research and discovered that Joan was searching for ‘the chosen one’ who could kill Benazyre. Hugh contacted a criminal Annie and asked her to prove that Joan is insane. Once Joan is proven insane, Hugh will get control of her finances and pay Annie. Hugh arranges Annie to have all the marks and bearings that Joan’s research says the chosen one would have. Annie makes a big scene of fighting “demons” and constantly yells that Benazyre is after her, before being sent to a mental institution. Joan, who is on the look out for any such events, finds and rescues Annie from the asylum. Then they both go on the quest to kill Benazyre but while fighting a “special effects” Benazyre, Joan is trapped inside a falling building. Most of the “quest” was scripted by Hugh who had sent his men to act as demons, but he had nothing to do with the last fight with Benazyre.

Benazyre has been constantly sending demons to kill Annie. She doesn’t have a choice but to fight him. Her real motivation (that I failed to mention earlier) is the huge sum of money Hugh is paying her.