Pitch for No One Killed Venus Wilson

Pitch

When Venus Wilson, the daughter of an affluent family is found dead at her Halloween Bash, the entire town of Bruinville halts in time. Four people, Lily, Kate, Trevor, and Raj, all with a vendetta against witness her gruesome murder. After witnessing the murder, the four agree to not talk about what they saw that night however when her autopsy is leaked to the press and they are once again forced to relive the night they witnessed their enemy’s death. The race against time begins when the four decide that the only way they will avoid a possible jail sentence is to find the true culprit. They find an unlikely alliance and trust between each other.

As the year progresses the four come closer and closer to finding the true culprit all while dealing with other relationships on the side, such as Lily’s conflicted feelings for Trevor and her ex-boyfriend Tyler Meyers, who was Venus Wilson’s boyfriend around the time Lily and he had started ‘hooking-up’.

Intended Audience/Genre/Length: 18-25 year old is the major demographic, mystery/thriller, length: I’d put an estimate around 90,000-100,000 words

Major Plotlines:

Finding who killed Venus Wilson

Lily coming to terms with her true feeling towards Venus

Accepting one’s mistakes and trying to resolve them

Moving on from a loved one’s death

Unique things to highlight:

The story is told from a third-person perspective which allows the reader to explore the idea of how grey humanity is on a spectrum. The use of flashbacks, as well as ‘think-pieces’ at the beginning of the story, allow readers to put the mystery of who killed Venus Wilson together as well as reflect on the true intentions of the characters. Since it is told in the third person the reader must decide which narrator to trust and which ones they shouldn’t. The story aims to explore the nature of humans when faced with something like losing the person who has tormented you.

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My original understanding of the premise, from the upper half of the synopsis, is that it is about four young people with grudges against a specific person, who witness that person being killed. The conflict for them is avoiding being the primary suspects and discovering who the killer is. It is sort of unclear what their personal relationship is to all of this, as their grudges don’t really come up at all for the rest of the story.

Are they torn about reporting what they saw? Why aren’t they more willing to come forward about it? Why do they all immediately forget what happened? Is there a debate (she deserved it!) or a splintering in the group or a dynamic around how they’re joint witnesses?

Since all of them collectively forget, it instead becomes more about trying to reclaim memories, which is a bit hard for me to believe all of them would do that.

More importantly, they all kind of disappear from the plot by the end so this twist can be presented. Which just leaves a big question: what happens to the kids? Was it a story about them or about this other woman and they just happen to be there? Their plotline goes nowhere other than to testify that they heard this person hum a tune and stole photos from him. From a plot perspective, it makes the point of view confusing and leads to lack of pay-off for any of them.

Now, from a legal perspective, this also doesn’t make any sense. The evidence being presented to accuse this uncle is that an eyewitness to the murder heard the murderer hum a song and has also heard them hum a song, which is meaningless in court. Then the photos are presented as photos the eyewitness (and person of interest) stole from the alleged killer and those photos are just of the victim. They don’t contain the killer, and as far as the police know, this person who they think might be involved in the murder has just shown up with pictures of the victim that the killer would have. There’s no physical evidence of the uncle being present, and the circumstantial evidence isn’t even specific to the uncle. Anyone could take those photos and they could be from any house, and anyone else could also know that song, it’s not like a fingerprint or DNA.

Putting all of that aside, the twist in the end doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. This woman hates her husband, the bad man, so much, she is willing to kill. But not kill him, which would solve her problem, but instead kills a random innocent just to frame her husband. Except, she doesn’t frame him by leaving behind physical evidence or doing anything to point in his direction, she’s instead relying on being overheard by witnesses who then need to go steal some photos. A lot of this feels constructed around a twist, rather than around the flow of the plot, and that doesn’t work from a narrative perspective (introducing characters who then disappear) or from a legal/logic perspective for the crime itself.

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