The Beast Chaser - YA Adventure/Fantasy

The Beast Chaser

Genre: Adventure/Fantasy
Intended Audience: Young Adult
Length: 50,000-100,000 Words, Around 50 Chapters

Summary (Less Than 500 Words)

A monster attacks Sonya’s home and she misses a shot with her bow that could’ve saved her fiance. She flees to Ceran with her animal companion, Leeka, to start fresh.

In Ceran, Sonya befriends Wolfe. He shows her around and tells her about Chasers - people who hunt monsters to make a living. Sonya learns being a Chaser is the only good way to make money in Ceran and that Wolfe once dreamt of becoming a Chaser.

Sonya meets Zairen - a Chaser with an animal companion named Shade that bonds with Leeka - and Zairen encourages her to join a Chaser tournament. He offers her money to buy a new bow and armor. Wolfe encourages her to join but tells her to be cautious because lately monsters have been “strange.” Sonya declines the call to adventure.

Sonya stays in an inn and bonds with Cirie, who notices Sonya is lonely, and suggests she should try to move on after the loss of her fiance. Sonya runs into Zairen in the woods and struggles with her attraction to him, but feels guilty and denies her feelings for him.

Sonya tells Wolfe he should become a Chaser and he gets upset with her. Cirie explains Wolfe’s parents died and he couldn’t protect them, so he’s given up on his dream. Sonya and Wolfe make up and make a deal to move past their tragic histories. Sonya signs up for the Chaser tournament.

Sonya purchases new gear and buys a sword as a gift for Wolfe, inscribed with a message to never give up. She enters the tournament and befriends a fellow hunter named Charce. Sonya struggles with her tendency to break under pressure, but does well in the tournament. She is approached by a wealthy Chaser funder and offered a job: travel the continent with three other Chasers.

Zairen and Charce join the group and they are in need of one more member. Sonya suggests to Wolfe that this is his chance to move on, and he joins the group. They travel across the continent, bonding and defeating fantastical beasts. A messenger arrives and announces Ceran village is under attack by the same beast that destroyed Sonya’s home.

When they return, Ceran is destroyed and Cirie is dead. They chase the monster and Sonya breaks under pressure again, accidentally letting Charce die. Wolfe breaks away from the team, bitter over the loss of Charce and Cirie.

Zairen mentions the monster was acting “strange,” suggests an object that could help defeat the beast, and encourages Sonya to try again.

While fighting the beast again, Zairen’s life is at stake and the outcome relies on Sonya. She lines up the shot, struggles as images of her past fade into her head, calms herself, and takes the shot. This time, she hits it and defeats the monster.

(Epilogue: Years later, Sonya and Zairen wed, Ceran rebuilds, Leeka and Shade have a litter of babies, and Wolfe and Sonya make up. Sonya feels like she’s found “home.”)

Major Plotlines/Arcs

Both Sonya and Wolfe have to overcome their past/try again in order to “arc.”

  • Sonya fully arcs after they lose the fight against the beast and Zairen tells her, “The past isn’t there to torture us, it’s there to make us stronger” to encourage her to try again. When she finally doesn’t break beneath pressure and hits her bow shot, that is her complete arc.

  • Wolfe arcs when Sonya has the strength to move past her trauma enough to enter the Chaser tournament.

  • Sonya has a mini-arc by allowing herself to move on romantically (marry Zairen in the Epilogue) after the death of her fiance.

  • Leeka starts off lonely for another of her kind (she’s a rare species) and arcs when she meets Shade and they bond.

  • Zairen starts off feeling alienated by the village (everyone is afraid of him because he’s an outlander marked with red hair) but arcs when Sonya, Charce, and Wolfe all grow close to him.

  • Charce dreams of getting noticed as a Trapper and arcs when he places high in the tournament and is hired by a rich patron.

Notes/Unique Highlights
  • Story is set in a unique fantasy world
  • All the monsters are original
  • Leeka is half sugar glider, half kitten
  • I’m currently rewriting/editing this, so there is no better time for feedback! I’d love absolutely any suggestions on both the pitch itself and the story/plot/characters and will try to incorporate all of them!

Thank you in advance for the feedback!

2 Likes

This has a lot of the pieces I talk about needing from stories, particularly regarding a character having an issue to overcome (breaking under pressure) the culminates in something.

But it also has a lot of gaps in between it that make it tricky for me. I’ve re-read this summary a number of times to better put my finger on it as I’ve tried to figure out what makes it feel off.

Primarily, Sonya doesn’t seem to have a particular motivation to do anything (but does things anyways).

Usually, if a character is devastated by a prior trauma that prevents them from moving forwards (fiancé died from missing an arrow), they will then not be able to fully resume that activity or they will be forever hindered. For example, when Sonya’s fiancé dies, what else does she have to do? She goes to start fresh to try and move away from it, and is told a possible job is Chaser, hunting monsters. Sonya has no motivation to become a Chaser and no particular skillset or affinity for it. Chaser is a job she could do, sure, but she could also pursue tons of other ones. Usually in this scenario she was already a Chaser when it happened and is now paralyzed or she’s forced into the same scenario again but not because she takes a job where it’s a normal possibility, rather because the accident occurs again but this time she’s gone through the entire plot and can redeem herself. Neither of these happen though because she’s paralyzed but still voluntarily gets into the job she should be paralyzed to take.

This means when she meets someone who wants to be a Chaser, that’s cool, but Sonya has no particular connection or motivation to it. Does she want to avenge the death of her husband by killing monsters? If so, why did she go make a fresh start? Why didn’t she set out on a revenge quest?

This is represented in her declining to be a Chaser because of course she would, she has no motivation. But then after getting over her tragic past by talking with someone else who also has a tragic past, she becomes a Chaser anyways. Why? Again, she’s not out for revenge, I assume she’s just in it for the money? But nothing was blocking her from becoming a Chaser in her past, she just didn’t have any particular connection to it or reason to be one.

This is the problem with a job field that is only relevant to the character because money. She has no personal connection to becoming a monster hunter. It’s not like she was one in the past and her fiancé died during a failed hunt. He died in a random, freak accident effectively. It’s also unclear why she needs that much money. I know Chaser’s make the most, but I’m sure whoever owns that inn is getting by.

The latter half of the plot plays out differently because Sonya’s trauma that was holding her back (from being a Chaser?) is now resolved, so a new issue needs to come in in the form of her inability to make a shot under pressure. This gets resolved via her simply failing twice and succeeding a third time, but not particularly learning anything in between. She doesn’t go on a quest to help her learn to be more resilient or to forgive the past or address how she misses, she just let’s it go on the third try under identical circumstances.

This doesn’t feel particularly meaningful or satisfying. Since nothing was done along the way to earn her getting over her issues, it doesn’t mean anything when she does. She was a person who missed a critical shot to save her husband during a freak accident. It happens, I don’t hold that against her for missing. She then gets over her husband dying and becomes a monster hunter for money, but then promptly misses again in a very harrowing situation which makes sense seeing as she’s done it in the past and also she’s under tremendous stress (she also has no relevant skills or training during any of this that would’ve made her better at life-or-death bow shots). But again, I mean I don’t really fault her for this.

Generally speaking, Sonya doesn’t actually seem to have much to do in this plot. She’s just a person whose fiancé died in an accident. Wolfe, for example, has more motivation to at least try to become a Chaser (he also just vanishes from the plot with no consequence and without affecting any characters by him leaving) because it’s a dream he abandoned when his parents died.

Wolfe is largely the only character with at least some relevant motivation to do anything beyond his own job. Zairen just exists to be attractive, Cirie is around to die, Charce is also around just to die.

As I said, I think there’s some pieces of the correct stuff happening. The issue is that your characters aren’t motivated to particularly be engaged with this plot, they just sort of do things. You have to remember your characters are people though. If my fiancé fell off a cliff while we were hiking and I failed to save her, I am likely never going hiking again. I’m going to stay as far away from that as possible, and if that used to be a big part of my life, I’ll probably feel aimless and depressed and not know who I am anymore without hiking in my life. But I doubt I would move to a place with a hiking club and then actively partake in it, even if someone made me feel better about my dead fiancé. That’s a level of trauma that would take an entire novel to even begin to get over.

2 Likes

@nick, this is the most detailed, genuine, and helpful feedback I’ve ever received on my writing. I truly can’t thank you enough for taking the time to read my synopsis and give me such detailed suggestions.

I’ve taken everything you said to heart and looked critically at my story. You’re right, Sonya’s character is flat, her motivations are weak, and she needs to earn more of her development.

This is a story I care deeply about writing and don’t want to send to the garbage bin, so I’ve incorporated your suggestions into a new synopsis and I’d love if you could take another look at it and note if there are any other flaws!

I clearly have a lot of rewriting to do, but I love this story and want to make it the best it can be. Through your feedback you’ve helped me to do that, and I honestly can’t thank you enough.

New Synopsis:

Fighting monsters is all Sonya has ever done, but when a monster attacks her home and she fails to save her fiance, she flees her village to start fresh.

But time passes and she struggles to survive. Learning different professions doesn’t come easily and when she hears news of other villages devastated by monsters, a gnawing feeling of failure plagues her.

During her time in Ceran, Sonya befriends Wolfe. He tells her about Chasers - people who hunt monsters that destroy other villages - and by saving other villages she sees an opportunity to make up for her failure, put her old skills to use, and relieve her unrelenting guilt.

She picks up a flyer announcing a Chaser tournament, a fight to the death competition that - if she won - could keep her up to date on the worst monsters plaguing the continent’s villagers and provide enough income for her to survive.

She meets Zairen, another Chaser who helps her get started. He donates money for her armor and weaponry. He also takes the time to teach her how to shoot more accurately and to hold her bow again without trembling. With the extra archery practice, she believes she won’t miss the shot again. The two grow feelings toward each other and Sonya detaches, unable to accept new romance after the loss of her fiance.

She struggles through the pressure of the tournament - failing at times but still battling through - and succeeds enough to secure a job chasing the monsters that destroy villages. She travels the continent questing until she hears word from a messanger that Ceran is under attack by the same beast that destroyed her home.

When she makes it there, although she is better practiced at not breaking under pressure, the trauma and guilt of her past holds her back and she still misses the shot on the monster. It destroys the village and Sonya wallows in her failure, giving up on trying to help anyone or shoot again.

Wolfe tells her she’ll continue to fail if she continues holding on to the weight of her past. She returns to her home village to face the past she ran from and chooses to let her guilt from the past go. Wolfe encourages her to try again to rid the monster from the world forever.

While fighting the beast again, Zairen’s life is at stake and the outcome relies on Sonya. She lines up the shot and struggles for a moment as images of her past fade into her head. This time, she is able to calm herself because she has visited her home and agreed to let it go. She takes the shot, hits it, and defeats the monster.

Years later, Ceran rebuilds and Sonya and Zairen finally agree to date and share a kiss. With the money from her quests and freed from her trauma, Sonya chooses to put her bow away forever and creates a true fresh start for herself.

1 Like