The Sound of a Siren's Call

Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Length: About 85k words (22k words posted)
Summary:
Arriana, the Deaf daughter of a pirate and siren, spends her life juggling her mother’s world and her father’s. When she goes to spend the night with her mother, she’s drawn into one of the sirens’ routine drownings where she is asked to participate.After an argument with her mother she flees into the small fishing town off the coast.

When she sees her father’s ship engaged in a battle with a Navy ship, Arriana returns to the ocean. The sirens are already there, singing sailors to their deaths. The pirates are wise to the trick, but the Navy isn’t. Arriana and a handful of sympathetic sirens rescue a portion of the Navy crew.

Arriana joins another siren, Juniper, and the sailor she saved, Castor. He has cryptic messages warning of a war with Kiser, but the girls, sheltered and far removed from turbulent politics, only care about the immediate issue of getting the sailors to safety.

Arriana returns to her father’s ship to say goodbye before she leaves with Juniper, but he tells her it’s too dangerous, trying to force her to stay on the ship. Her escape leaves their relationship fractured.

The sirens and pirates team up to stop the rescue, but Arriana plans an escape.

The group comes upon a ship, which they recognize to be foreign. They chance hostility in hopes of a final savior. They all end up as prisoners on the ship.

The crew has been taken prisoner in anticipation of an impending war and they are brought to Camp Beta, a place primarily meant to imprison magical creatures. There, they meet Ryan who signs because of her mute brother, Leland.

Arriana is forced to spend time with Ryan, who she falls in love with despite not trusting her. The two plot to overthrow Camp Beta, the rush of the plan leading to a stolen kiss.

The plan done, the magical creatures hold a trial for Castor’s mistrusted crew. Castor gives a speech that sways them, but the human guards of the camp don’t share the same fate.

News of the revolt has reached the outside world, and the magical creatures have to flee the camp. They find a safe haven where Ryan hatches a new plan.

Castor and Juniper make plans to return home to Regno, but Arriana stays with Ryan. Ryan, Leland, and Arriana go to find a reporter to try to sway public opinion against the anti-magic regime of the current Kiserite president.

They find a reporter, Leo, willing to cover their stories. Leo takes the three to a city to prove validity of the reporting. Leo’s story is published on the front page of a prominent paper, drawing national attention. This makes the trio famous, which draws both welcome and unwelcome attention. Ryan is in the books as having committed several misdemeanors, which is all the reason the government needs to make a prompt arrest.

Other notes: This book will be the first in a series, so that’s why it has an abrupt ending that doesn’t resolve everything.

5 Likes

I like the edits you’ve made! I’m afraid I can’t be much more helpful than boosting.

Personally, a question I have (that doesn’t need to be resolved in the summary) is to what extent Arriana’s parentage factors into the story. Does she struggle with it? Are there any other pirate/siren kids around? Does anyone ever talk to her about it? I’m big on using speculative fiction as an avenue to discuss social issues, so I’m very curious.

Arriana is also Deaf, so–does everyone know how to sign? Just some people? Also something you don’t have to add in the summary, but I am interested in that as well–while reading the summary I just assumed whoever she spoke to knew how to sign, but I imagine in the water trying to save people that gets complicated.

Hopefully you get better critiques on this! I really like the concept and I’m excited to see it succeed (*‘▽’)

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It’s a huge source of internal conflict the whole way through, first through her needing to get away, then through regret.

Leland is super nosy, so he’s super into talking to her about it, same with the reporter, but not very many other people.

Her parents sign, her mother specifically for her, and her father because cannons blow out your hearing, so it he already knew it for safety and communication reasons. Leland’s mute, so several of the witches know sign as an avenue for communicating with him. Camp Beta (the prison camp) also has sign as a language that’s somewhat secretive so a small population knows it there too. Not many other people do tho.

It does. It gets very awkward in situations (it’s hard to sign when cuddling for example,) but it adds a fun element.

Your critique was insanely helpful, outside eyes help me get out of my own head enough to clarify.

Thank you!

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Revised summary with help from @houseofmirrors

Arriana, the Deaf daughter of a pirate and siren, spends her life juggling two worlds. When she goes to spend the night with her mother, she’s drawn into one of the sirens’ routine drownings where she is asked to participate.After an argument with her mother she flees into the small fishing town off the coast.

When she sees her father’s ship engaged in a battle with a Navy ship, Arriana returns to the ocean. The sirens are already there, singing sailors to their deaths. The pirates are wise to the trick, but the Navy isn’t. Arriana and a handful of sympathetic sirens, including Juniper, rescue a portion of the Navy crew.

Among the rescued is Castor, who has cryptic messages warning of a war with Kiser, but the girls, sheltered and far removed from turbulent politics, only care about the immediate issue of the sailors safety.

Arriana returns to her father’s ship to say goodbye before she leaves with Juniper, but he tells her it’s too dangerous, trying to force her to stay on the ship. Her escape leaves their relationship fractured.
The sirens and pirates team up to stop the rescue, but Arriana plans an escape.

The group comes upon a ship, which they recognize to be foreign. They chance hostility in hopes of a final savior. They all end up as prisoners on the ship.

The crew has been taken prisoner in anticipation of an impending war and they are brought to Camp Beta, a place primarily meant to imprison magical creatures. There, they meet two witches, Ryan who signs because of her mute brother and Leland.

Arriana is forced to spend time with Ryan, who she falls in love with despite not trusting her. The two plot to overthrow Camp Beta by rallying other magical creatures, the rush of the plan leading to a stolen kiss.

The plan completed, the magical creatures hold a trial for Castor’s mistrusted crew. Castor gives a speech that sways them, but the human guards of the camp don’t share the same fate.
News of the revolt has reached the outside world, and the magical creatures have to flee the camp. They find a safe haven where Ryan hatches a new plan.

Castor and Juniper make plans to return home to Regno, while Arriana stays behind. Ryan, Leland, and Arriana go to find a reporter to try to sway public opinion against the anti-magic regime of the current Kiserite president.

They find a reporter willing to cover their stories. Leo takes the three to a city to prove validity of the reporting. Their story is published on the front page of a prominent paper, drawing national attention. Ryan is in the books as having committed several misdemeanors, which is all the reason the government needs to make a prompt arrest.

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Alrighty, let me take a crack.

I know why the character is deaf given who you are, but since it never appears to come up again throughout the story, you don’t need to mention it. It sets the tone for the entire summary and never pays off. She has a Siren for a mother and she is deaf. That has to create some sort of strange irony or situation, but it doesn’t seem to come up. She rescues a guy later but has no difficulty getting cryptic messages out of him. The only other time it comes up is in the guy she meets who happens to know sign due to a mute brother. So it has no bearing on the plot. That doesn’t mean remove it, just don’t bring it into the summary because I’m expecting some sort of pay-off to this aspect of her person and it never shows up.

Next, a note that all stories have conclusions, even when they’re part 1 of 100. They have to, or else they’re just a chapter. So if you admittedly rush an ending that resolves nothing, that’s not good. You should have a resolution to a core character issue or arc, even if other, or larger issues, have to be addressed still. In the first Harry Potter they do definitely defeat a Voldemort version, and Harry learns some things about himself and his new situation, even though there’s six books still coming.

For the actual plot, I do enjoy the set up from a world building perspective, the notion of a half-siren, half-pirate is interesting, particularly around the notion of those sirens actively trying to drown the sailors and all that. The issue for me comes down to the character and I’m left with a lot of whys around her actions.

For example, at the start, she’s asked to be part of a routine drowning and refuses. Why? Does she not believe in drownings? Does she know the person? Is she a sensitive soul? Is she more pirate than siren? Or is she just squeamish around death? She’s too spoilt and doesn’t like to sully her hands? She’s just being a rebellious teenagers?

It could be any one of those examples, and they would all tell me a different thing about her person because in all those cases, she’s a different person. But in this version, without that information, I don’t know why she is doing any of the things she is doing.

Why does she run away to a fishing town instead of to her dad?
Why does she swim out to her dad fighting the navy to save navy sailors from sirens?
Why does she ignore the cryptic messages just to save people?
Why does she go to her dad to say bye when she just ran away from both her parents the night before? Why is he not okay with her leaving? Why would he try to keep her on the ship when she was free roaming right before?
Why would her going to do…something require the pirates and sirens team up just to stop this one girl? Is she particularly special?
Why would they go onto a random ship in the hopes of rescuing people?

The latter parts of the story I am unable to follow, in part because a lot of these earlier questions are unanswered. I don’t know what motivates the character, I don’t know the parameters of her situation or her quest, other than people don’t want her to go on it. Most of the events just appear to be random things happening in the vicinity of the main character. Even the main romantic lead is just a guy she happens to be stuck with, and I have no idea why she would love him or why he would love her because I don’t know who either of them are, and it can’t be just because he’s the only guy who can sign.

Lastly, there’s too many threads in this story. Again, possibly a function of planning a 3-part series when book one isn’t finished, the story seems to contain a lot of set up but no pay-off, which is super confusing as a reader to spend significant time with these events or things that won’t go anywhere. A lot of this needs to be streamlined down to just what is the core plot of your main character. What’s the change she’s going to undergo? Who is she today, who will she be by the end, and what will force that change?

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Okay. Thank you Nick. I don’t have time right now to sit down and rework the summary, but everything here is super valid. Thank you!

I’m going to try to work this out, and try to make a better ending. I’ll have to sit on that one too.

As for the Deaf part, it’s important to some subplots that didn’t make the cut for the summary. That’s a good point.

As to this, the LI is a girl, which I guess I didn’t convey. Ryan is just a shortening of her name, Ryanione (which is more feminine.) It doesn’t change the plot. And as far as the relationship development, I just wasn’t sure how to fit everything into such a small space.

I’m going to try to figure out how to make this work. Thanks, Nick!

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Arriana, the daughter of a pirate and siren, spends her life juggling two worlds. When visiting her mother, she’s asked to participate in the siren’s drownings. Her humanity and distance from her mother stops her, and she flees to a small fishing town, not knowing where her father’s ship is.

When she sees her father’s ship engaged in a battle with a Navy ship, Arriana returns to the ocean for fear of her father who she relies on for support and love. The sirens are already there, singing sailors to their deaths. The pirates are wise to the trick, but the Navy isn’t. Arriana and a handful of sympathetic sirens, including Juniper, rescue a portion of the Navy crew.

Among the rescued is Castor, who has cryptic messages warning of a war with Kiser, a neighboring country, but the girls, sheltered and far removed from turbulent politics, only care about the immediate issue of the sailor’s safety. They’re unlikely to see the effects of any war, so they dismiss it.

Arriana returns to her father’s ship to say goodbye out of respect before leaving with Juniper, but he tells her it’s too dangerous, trying to force her to stay on the ship. Without him or her mother, he argues she could die, but she escapes, leaving their relationship fractured.

The sirens and pirates, driven by two leaders who don’t want to lose a child, team up to stop the rescue, but Arriana thwarts them. The group finds their final hope in a Kiserite ship, seeking refuge. What could have been a friendly ship turns on them in anticipation of a war.

The ship takes them to Kiser and puts them in Camp Beta, a place for magical creatures and enemies. Arriana meets Ryan, a witch who sees Arriana as an asset. Arriana begins to fall in love. Both impulsive and looking to find a way home, they bond. Ryan then tells Arriana of her plan to overthrow the camp. Arriana agrees.

With magical creatures in control of the camp, the government is contacted. The former prisoners are forced to flee to a safe haven. Castor and Juniper return home, and Arriana turns down the offer to come with them, ignoring her homesickness to stay with Ryan. Ryan now has her eyes on a politics and wants to get corrupt politicians voted out. Arriana agrees, her sense of justice still strong.

Ryan, her little brother, and Arriana find a reporter that gets them to the front page of a prominent paper and the country’s attention.

The article, published at a critical time in Parliament’s election cycle, destroys incumbents. Ryan is consumed with getting into the public eye as much as possible. Arriana finds a job in Kiser, finding incriminating documents of maliciousness on the part of the President. She attempts to use her platform to expose it. Before she can get anyone to listen, her home country has declared war on Kiser. The war consumes attention, making the victory short-lived.

I tried to address all the why questions and I changed the ending. Does this ending work better? Does my main character make any more sense?

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While yes, you’ve added some extra details to explain some scenarios, it more exposes a larger, underlying issue that the plot doesn’t really flow together. It feels like you have a particular plot in mind and are trying to make sure the characters do the things, even though it doesn’t line up with knowledge of them.

Basically, previously there wasn’t clear motivation for the characters to take actions. Now that they have a little, the actions don’t line up in all cases. The story doesn’t flow around the characters and their needs but is rather putting them inside it.

For example:

If I’ve just run away from my mom to a random town because I couldn’t find my dad, I would imagine finding my dad would be a big event. Instead, it’s mostly just a coincidence he appears and they don’t really discuss her running from her mom because they’re too busy with the navy and all that stuff.

Then she decides to leave her dad but for no clear reason. If, previously, she would have gone to her dad had she known where he is, and now she knows where he is, why would she now leave? To go where?

The beginning of the story sets up that this is a woman torn between her two parents. Then the rest of the plot happens and they have 0 to do with it. She doesn’t have to reconcile any differences in her heart, neither of them have to change, in fact neither of them have much to do with anything. You could cut them entirely and start it with Arriana being out there in the world and encountering the Kiserite ship. Nothing before that moment has any impact on what happens afterwards. And nothing in the start is the type of thing that needs 3 books to wrap up. It should be an ongoing issue or something she constantly works against but it basically has no bearing on the remainder of the plot.

That’s what I mean by putting characters in a story rather than the other way. If she’s the daughter of a siren and pirate, then that’s the story. That is interesting. Or, this is a story of a woman who gets caught in a random war between two nations. That’s currently significantly less interesting since she has no personal stakes or ties to that war but could be if she were given them.

But without a narrative throughline, the ending will never make sense to the set up, and middle has this strange deviation point where the first half no longer matters.

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Okay. I can work with this. I think I can change the second half of the plot and minor details of the first half to make details line up. You’re right. The stakes don’t stay consistent which is a problem.

Okay. So, before I go and write out this whole summary. If I keep everything up to the kidnapping, and she then goes back home with Castor and Juniper, changing her stated intent to be kind of a day trip away from her two parents, then would it flow any better? She knows of the war. Her home country is also affected so it’s still significant. Then she still has conflict with her parents, them being mad. Other pirate siren stuff that I can figure out when redoing the summary. Does that make the stakes and characters any better?

Thanks so much, Nick! You’ve been a huge help.

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Either the plot is about her and her parents or it’s about a war or the two have to be deeply interconnected, as in the war forces her to resolve the conflict with her parents or choose between them or drives it further apart in an obvious way (both parties have some sort of stake in the war).

Is there a particular reason she needs to go engage with all this war stuff at all or that the war needs to happen? It seems more like world background than anything to do with this particular character. She has no personal tie to it, no particular stake in either side, no anything really, other than just being a person who lives in the country that is part of the war and also happening to be the person who first encounters the attack by pure circumstance. If she lives in a world where a war is happening, it can happen in the background and has nothing to do with her and her parents. Or, she needs to have a lot to do with the war so you can have this war plotline. But you can’t have it just to have it if the character isn’t connected to it because I’m connected to the character and if they’re not connected, neither am I.

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Okay. Alright.

The war doesn’t need to happen on the forefront. I just have up to where they overthrow Camp Beta posted, and I love the parent story line, but I really don’t want to jerk readers.

So, the war doesn’t have to happen, but other characters around her do have stake in it.

So, it definitely could be on the back burner. I’m going to try to draft another summary, and see if I can mess around with it enough to make the already posted part still relevant and keep it with reasonable stakes and story lines.

Thank you for working with me on this!

Okay. I have a much stronger plotline now. The stakes are much better. I had outside eyes look at it and it held up. I think I’ve at got it to a much better place now. You’ve been super helpful with all your criticisms.

Arriana, the daughter of a pirate and a siren, spends her life juggling two worlds. When visiting her mother, she’s asked to participate in the siren’s drownings. Her humanity and distance from her mother stops her, and she flees to a small fishing town, not knowing where her father’s ship is.

When she sees her father’s ship engaged in a battle with a Navy ship, Arriana returns to the ocean for fear of her father who she relies on for support and love. The sirens are already there, singing sailors to their deaths. The pirates are wise to the trick, but the Navy isn’t. Arriana and a handful of sympathetic sirens, including Juniper, rescue a portion of the Navy crew.

Among the rescued is Castor, who has cryptic messages warning of a war with Kiser, a neighboring country, but the girls, sheltered and far removed from turbulent politics, only care about the immediate issue of the sailor’s safety.

Arriana returns to her father’s ship to say goodbye before leaving with Juniper. He tells her it’s too dangerous, trying to force her to stay on the ship. Without her parents, he argues she could die. She escapes, leaving their relationship fractured and driving her away.

The sirens and pirates, driven by two leaders who don’t want to lose a child, team up to stop the rescue, but Arriana escapes. The group finds their final hope in a Kiserite ship, seeking refuge that doesn’t come.

The ship takes them to a Kiserite place for magical creatures and enemies. It’s called Camp Beta, one of the many products of Kiserite policy that discriminates against magical races. Arriana meets Ryan, a witch who sees Arriana as an asset. Both impulsive and looking to find a way home, they fall in love. Ryan enlists Arriana to help her overthrow the camp. That done, Juniper and Castor want to go home. Arriana says goodbye to Ryan before leaving. Ryan helps her go, insisting they’ll meet again.

The group is a victim of a pirate raid. Ariana’s parentage is their saving grace. The pirates agree to take Arriana home. Returning to Arriana’s hometown, Arriana is reunited with her angry parents. Tense politics have driven soldiers to the coast, forcing the pirates to use Castor as hostages to buy extra grace. As news of rebellions led by rouge magical creatures like Ryan travels back, more forces travel to the coasts, restricting freedom of pirates and sirens.

Announcement of a war with Kiser put pressure on regions with easy access to the neighboring country. Arriana’s hometown no longer safe, her parents bond over a common enemy. When the royal family arrives, they’re forgotten. Arriana and her father decide to stay in the town, putting themselves in front of the crown’s scrutiny. Arriana’s adventure comes to light. The prince views her as just the thing he needs to get close to the Kiserite rebellion and destabilize his enemy. Tasked with getting to, the pirates prepare to go to Kiser.

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You still retain the centre issue of Arriana leaving her father upon finding him to go with Juniper, and it’s not particularly clear why she is leaving him. Just to give an example, I’m going to craft a version of this. From a plot perspective, you should ignore the directions I take it, and I’m going to try and do it my way as much as possible to avoid polluting your idea, but just to show the sort of motivation-action-reaction cycle that’s missing.

Arriana, daughter of a pirate and a siren, struggles to juggle a life between the two while trying to figure out her own identity. In an effort to connect with her roots, she agrees to spend an evening with her siren mother, but ends up on a hunting expedition as they lure sailors to death.

Her mother, trying to bond with her daughter, offers up the captured sailor to drown. Disgusted and compelled by her humanity, Arriana refuses, but is too far from her home to know the way back to her father, settling instead for a village nearby.

While hiding, Arriana meets Juniper, a sympathetic siren who decided to trail her. Juniper’s parents were killed in an old pirate raid, and Arriana and Juniper bond over their inability to connect with their parents for different reasons.

After a few days of hiding, Arriana sets out to head back home to her father with supplies and Juniper’s friendship. As they go to leave, Arriana is informed that a war has broken out between the sirens and pirates. It seems her mother thinks her father is keeping Arriana from her and her father believes it is siren trickery as he doesn’t know where Arriana is either and assumes her mother has her.

Distressed Arriana changes course, deciding she will go further inland so that she will never have to encounter the sea, or her parents, again. The pair venture towards Nuera City. Along the way, they are captured by creature hunters called The Family who want to sell them to the black market. While in captivity, they meet Ryan, a sympathetic member of The Family. He is, supportive of his adoptive siblings and Arga Thul, the head hunter who brought them all in when they had nobody else, but is concerned by the violence they engage in.

With Ryan’s help, Arriana and Juniper are free. Arriana is frustrated by Arga’s interpretation of family. He would do anything for them, even evil, while Arriana finds she would do nothing for hers. Upset at herself, she vows to return to her own family, but not before destroying the encampment to free the creatures. Ryan refuses to help at first and her attempt fails as she is captured again, but Ryan comes to her aid, his interactions with Arriana helping him understand that good can be greater than family.

Escaped and the camp ablaze, leaving everyone to scatter, Arriana and her two friends return back to her home, where they find her parents at each other’s throats in a duel to the death. Arriana emerges and pleads with them to stop. She still doesn’t know who she is, but she knows who she is not: a monster. Her mother, outraged, returns to the sea, leaving her with her father, who sits to hear out her story. Arriana wishes to find her mother so that she can get her to understand her world.

So in this version, she is a more active participant in a lot of choices, and her issue is that she as a person doesn’t know who she is since she sits between two worlds. Her active choice is to reject her mother’s side of the family, which she views as over-the-line, and her choice to do so causes an issue (sirens v pirates). In response to that, she further makes a decision down this path of not wanting anything to do with either parent. The critical climax requires she encounters a version of the world that opposes her own, a place where family is so cherished and keeping it together is so important that you could do evil to do it. Ryan and Juniper represent opposites as well, one being a person with a family so tight they’ll ignore evil just to stick together and another with no parents at all, who can both help show her there is more to this family stuff than she thinks. She redefines family and at least partially defines herself as definitely not a monster but by ignoring her family she’s causing a major issue (siren v pirate) and that is on her to resolve, therefore she returns to be responsible for her actions.

You obviously don’t have to pick this particular path, I stuffed it full of typical clichés and tropes (and you can also see how tropes and clichés are not actually evil, they’re just a consequence of natural storytelling) to make it work, especially since I had to invent it on the spot. It’s imperfect but it stands to showcase a number of the elements I’ve discussed. You have a clear throughline (her versus her parents) that comes full circle by the end. You have villains and opposition that have a direct relation to both the central problem and the storyline itself. None of it comes out of nowhere, it’s all a logical progression as part of each prior choice. And, you see this flow of motivation-action-reaction-motivation. Every time she does something, it’s in response to a previous thing. She keeps making choices (because she’s an active hero, not passive) and those choices keep causing results that force her to make new choices. And it never branches or suddenly deviates in order to make something else happen.

It also contains a relatively complete ending from its beginning and still leaves the door open to sequels. But again, you don’t have to, and should not, follow the version I made, just take the core elements. I’m just showing that you can have a complete, self contained story, that is also part of a series.

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Okay. You’re right. I do need to work on this.

Okay. I’ll try to redo it again. Expand on why she left, more active choices, self contained. Got it.

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Arriana, the daughter of a pirate and siren, has spent her life feeling suffocated by her father’s dreams of a brave captain and her mother’s of a wrathful siren. With her parents struggling to impress their own lifestyles upon her, Arriana grows more desperate for a chance at rebellion.

When a strange ship is in danger, Arriana sees a chance to team up with a natural ally, Juniper. When she realizes that she’ll need to run away from her parents for a short time to take the sailors home, Arriana is overjoyed. The situation spirals out of Arriana’s control when her parents try to keep her in the protective bubble of their small town half way through her mission, seeing her in the fray, making her departure even more hurried an unplanned. With a limited knowledge of the world at large, Arriana and Juniper see a ship and direct the crew under their charge toward it. Too late, they discover the ship is unfriendly.

Juniper surrenders herself so Arriana can flee. Guilt ridden, Arriana trails the ship and sneaks onboard in her human form. Confronted with a lovestruck Juniper and her crush, Arriana finds herself out of her depth and longing for home. Desperate to avoid the budding love between her friend and one of the rescued, Castor, Arriana plans to overthrow the ship’s captains. Just as she’s about to enact her plan, the ship lands on foreign soil. Still determined to save Juniper to repay her, Arriana tries to sing the crew to her submission. Out of touch with her siren roots, she fails and flees into unfamiliar woods.

She follows a stream upriver and comes to a prison encampment. Guessing this is where Juniper is being taken and in need of rest, she slips through the wall. There she meets Ryanione, a witch who agrees not to tell anyone about Arriana. Arriana’s suspicions about Juniper and Castor proven right, she seeks out Ryanione again. She agrees to help Arriana’s cause, and asks for a favor. With growing affections, Arriana finds herself in the same sort of romance she’d wanted to get away from. Ryan’s plan pays off, but none of the magical prisoners are happy with Castor or his crew, seeing them similar to the human guards. Upset, Arriana ends her romance with Ryan to await a trial for Castor and his crew. When they’re cleared, Ryanione tries to make amends, only succeeding when she saves Arriana from some vampires. Arriana hurries to return home. Ryanione insists she’ll come with Arriana and the crew. Ryanione gets them a boat and promises Arriana they’ll meet again.

Arriana gets the crew to saftey, leaving Castor, Arriana, and Juniper to travel home together. Arriana first encounters her father, who berates her for leaving. She tells him she’s ready to try embracing her pirate heritage. She also, while keeping her distance from her mother, agrees to learn siren song.

Okay, how’s this? I think this has a clearer character arc, more active choices, clearer conflict, and is more self contained. Sorry I was so slow with an update :sweat_smile:

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  1. This is significantly clearer on a lot of fronts
  2. You’re right, this definitely contains more choices and connections with her parentage. It’s also way more interesting to me and relatable. I appreciate the consequences (leaving unprepared to avoid parents), the payoffs (feeling homesick as soon as she encounters actual difficulty, failing to sing a siren song to save people), I am able to relate to this character pretty well as not a deaf person, not a pirate/siren, because her struggles and choices feel more real and relevant to her character.
  3. You should rewrite this 2-3 more times to clean it. None of the events need to change, it’s just a little messy in how you wrote it, making it a bit tricky to follow and understand. I’m sure you get it at all points, but you six months from now might reread this and not quite get what you meant (it took me several reads at some points because of phrasings or missing info).

She follows a stream upriver and comes to a prison encampment. Guessing this is where Juniper is being taken and in need of rest, she slips through the wall. There she meets Ryanione, a witch who agrees not to tell anyone about Arriana. Arriana’s suspicions about Juniper and Castor proven right, she seeks out Ryanione again. She agrees to help Arriana’s cause, and asks for a favor. With growing affections, Arriana finds herself in the same sort of romance she’d wanted to get away from. Ryan’s plan pays off, but none of the magical prisoners are happy with Castor or his crew, seeing them similar to the human guards. Upset, Arriana ends her romance with Ryan to await a trial for Castor and his crew. When they’re cleared, Ryanione tries to make amends, only succeeding when she saves Arriana from some vampires. Arriana hurries to return home. Ryanione insists she’ll come with Arriana and the crew. Ryanione gets them a boat and promises Arriana they’ll meet again.

This paragraph in particular is just tough to parse out in how it’s currently written ^

You could just not do this since this is just a summary for my/learning purposes, but if you want to refer back to this in the future, knowing that I myself am bad at reading past-Nick’s writing sometimes, I would recommend adding in more clarity.

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Yay!

Okay, thank you! That’s good to know.

Okay. I definitely will take a break and look at this again. Thank you for putting up with me through all this!

Good luck in writing it :slight_smile:

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Thank you :grin:

Actually, I know this isn’t the exact place to ask for non plot help, but I wanted to ask you something. I posted this pitch before I’d written a bit and I’ve been doing rewrites on what was unpublished when I got your first couple rounds of plot criticisms. A lot of the changes made in the most recent plot will have to be done in the editing round, which I’m okay with. My question is then whether I should write for the new ending or the old one. I’m right at the point where Arriana goes back home.

I would suggest editing the parts that currently exist or rewriting entirely until it then matches and then proceeding from there. It’s harder to go back and look at earlier chapters to help you understand what needs to happen later if those chapters are unfixed. You may also find as you’re writing those first few ones that how this translates from summary to page adds in some extra personality quirks that may end up altering some later ways things play out that none of us could know until they happen.

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