Pitch for Valeria Torres and the Midas Vault

Title: Valeria Torres and the Midas Vault

Single line pitch: Sixteen year old Valeria Torres discovers she’s a Rogue; a mystical figure tasked with stealing from the wicked and giving to the poor.

Story summary pitch: For as long as she can remember, Valeria Torres has always been the girl no one cared about. Having immigrated to the United States as a child after her parents’ deaths, Valeria tried to play by the rules as she navigated orphanages, limited foster care, and homelessness. And yet, Valeria found the deck stacked against her, and winds up in a juvenile detention center for non-violent crimes.

Valeria’s string of bad luck finally comes to an end when she meets Frank and Jada Pipino, who introduce her to the Rogue Faction; a group of outlaws who use real world and mystical talents to steal from the wicked and give to the poor. Having been a girl that no one cared about for so long, Valeria discovers newfound purpose as she joins a new family in New York City, goes back to school, trains as a Rogue, and makes new friends. But when Valeria discovers that two of her new friends are teenagers from a rival faction, she finds herself thrust into the middle of a conflict that could determine the fate of the world.

Spoiler alert
Plot summary: Valeria is rescued by Frank and brought to the Rogue faction headquarters, where she learns that the Rogue Faction is divided into five groups; Thieves, Assassins, Ninjas, Pirates, and Bounty Hunters. She meets Frank’s wife Jada, who leads the Faction, and decides to live with them as a thief instead of pursuing revenge of her parents’ death as an assassin. Valeria goes to high school where she meets new friends, and becomes increasingly close to Erin Tyrell and Sai Gupta. She continues her training as a Rogue - which involves training with masters from the other guilds, including the Assassin master - Dontrell Jackson - who happens to be Jada’s brother. While Jada defends her brother, Frank confesses to Valeria that he thinks Dontrell wants to wage war with the Rogue Faction’s rivals, a group of righteous healers known as the Celestial Faction. Valeria eventually discovers that both Erin and Sai are Celestials, and while Erin heals Valeria intentionally, it’s revealed that Sai has no idea what he is, and heals Valeria unintentionally. Erin explains how her parents lead the Celestial faction, and have designated her as the Chosen one; the only person who can stop “The Shadow” from destroying the world. To do that, she will require five artifacts possessed by the different factions. In exchange for not revealing Valeria’s secret identity as a Rogue, Erin and Valeria agree to enter the Rogue Faction’s most secure underground complex, the Midas Vault, and claim the artifact before the Shadow - who they assume is Dontrell - does. When the duo finally reach the artifact, they find Dontrell, Jada, Mr. and Mrs. Tyrell waiting in ambush, as most of the events of the story were all part of one big plan to capture an enemy both factions fear the most - a Shadow Knight.
The ambush fails and the Shadow Knight claims the artifact, but not before Erin appears to use her power to scare the villainous figure away. Once the dust has settled, both factions maintain a shaky ceasefire and agree to work together to discover the Shadow Knight’s motives and identity, while Valeria and her friends return home and try to return back to normal life.

Target audience: Teenagers, women, minorities, LGBTQ, fans of Harry Potter, Batman and Robin Hood.

Genre: contemporary fantasy and magical realism.

Length: 85,000 words, 16 chapters.

Mild trigger warning - this book overtly addresses issues of racism and sexism.

Hey, this doesn’t look like an actual plot summary.

This is a blurb hook. A plot summary should give away the entire ending, plot twists, any spoilers. It’s basically telling your story in 500 words or less. This is just what you’d put up to try to get people to read your story.

Ah ok - I can add a summary too, just wasn’t sure if people wanted plot spoilers for the story posted. Will do.

If course :grin:

This is a place for critiques. (Specifically from Nick, Wattpad Editorial Lead.) I try to help where I can.

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Plot summary added - thanks for letting me know!

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That looks much better :grin:

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So the first half of this novel sets up well, thematically, and in structure. You have an immigrant orphan, which creates this sort of double-whammy of an outsider to the others, even among outsiders. To then find purpose in a group that uses mystical thief arts to steal from the rich and give it to the poor makes a lot of sense and very much aligns with the character and their motivations. I can 100% see this type of character making these choices and pursuing these actions.

That the major conflict, as presented, is that two of the friends they thought they had are technically in rival thief factions is excellent as well. It grants the character a safe space where they can finally fit in, only to test it further by creating a scenario where they could treat others like outsiders who they came to love or could fight to break that treatment. If you found a group you finally fit in with, only to find they’re not welcoming to everyone, you reach a decision point: change them or side with them.

Now, this is where it starts to unravel for me. The introduction of 5 different guilds all doing their own thing and choosing between them makes things pretty complex. Then an additional outside group called the Celestials doing their own thing makes it even more confusing and further abstracts it from the original themes and set up. And then lastly, the Shadow Knight villain really messes the whole thing up and no longer delivers on the original set up. The Shadow Knight is just a villain so any heroic person would stop them, and it’s no longer related to the character’s original motivations or conflict.

This makes it kind of disappointing for me. Aside from being hard to follow and a bit convoluted, it becomes disjointed from the character and I never get to see the pay off that is set up. I would recommend really focusing in on that original conflict point and seeing it through to the end.

It makes me think of Captain America: Civil War. While I certainly think the villain could’ve been pulled off better, if the final act had revealed there really were some super soldiers to fight, it would’ve been kind of disappointing and unrelated to the entire conflict. The lack of villain enabling the characters to fight each other as promised is sort of the only way it could end.

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Hey Nick,
Thanks for reviewing my pitch. I’ll definitely keep your suggestions in mind. I might need to clarify the pitch a little better, as the rivalry is not really between the Rogue/Thief factions; they have disputes, but mostly have similar goals - just different ways of achieving them (the four houses from Harry Potter have different views, but usually work together as a whole, the US has 50 states with different views, but work together as a whole for important things when needed - especially against a rival country during a war). As a whole, the Rogue Faction and Celestial Faction are the two main rivals (call it USA vs. Russia, Werewolf vs Vampire, etc), and the main character develops conflicted emotions as she grows close to two members of that rival faction. I feel like this is a concept readers are familiar with, as you see it in countless teen fiction novels involving forbidden love (all your vampire and werewolf stories).

As for the Shadow Knight character, they are not really important in this first story, as they are mainly a set up for where the future novels are going. I thought about revealing the Shadow Knight as the main villain in the beginning of the story, as many classic stories do that - Darth Vader for Star Wars, Sauron - Lord of the Rings, Voldemort for Harry Potter, Magneto for X-Men. I thought it would be interesting to make the reader THINK they are seeing the main villain in Dontrell (the assassin) at the beginning of the story, only to find out at the end that he isn’t, and now we have to find out who this Shadow Knight villain is, what their motivation is, and why should the main character even bother with trying to stop them? I do have a lot of plans for the Shadow Knight, and while I thought about inserting this overarching villainous character’s backstory into this first novel, I decided against it because the first story isn’t about the villain, it’s about introducing the reader to the main character and the world she gets inserted to.

As for the payoff - for me - I felt the payoff is watching the main character evolve throughout the story. You watch her start off as a kid no one cared about - which many people can relate to - and you get to watch her evolve into a hero that people DO care about. This is one of the reasons why I’m not a big fan of judging a story by a synopsis, as you can’t really develop an attachment to a character just by seeing the major plot points of the world building narrative to which that character belongs. But I will still take your feedback into consideration, as I’m always trying to find ways to make Valeria’s story more interesting. Thanks again,
Rogue705