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the summary of my new novel, Keychain Magic... support?

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Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:20 pm
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MoonlightMayhem says...



Hi, I'm just planning out a new novel and I'd like some suggestions to help me with the details and ideas in the story. Any Takers?

Basic Overview:

Serafina Rose Mathonwy is a 17 year old girl who is in the midst of applying to college and persuing journalism and art while dealing with high school relationships. But out of nowhere, she begins developing supernatural powers, and learns that she is the Chosen One for an alternate world called Astricka.

Her powers make her a very rare creature, that is being hunted down. Her creature was designated to rule the unseen world of Lumasis by the Seven Gods of Astricka- but Serafina doesn’t want to. All the pressure comes down on her, but she can’t take it. There are creatures after her who want her mortal soul so they can take power over the realm beyond. But how does Serafina convince the seven Gods to set her free from her designated position, fight off the creatures who are after her who are in disguise, and save a world all at once? The only way is through Keychain Magic.

Serafina must collect keys that attatch to the Patremorphis, nicknamed the “golden keychain.” Only once every key is collected can the Patremorphis fit in the great mold, a specific engraving in a underground platform located underneath Euterpolis which opens the world of Lumasis. Each key represents a gift that the Gods blessed Serafina with, and if she doesn’t go on her quest, she may die. Meanwhile, Rodsha, creature of the darkness, and his minions, the Frydemians, are searching for this “golden keychain.” All the creatures want to steal it so that they can conquer Lumasis. In order to be free from her designated destiny, Serafina must give the Patremorphis to the Gods of Astricka in order to establish that she is returning her powers rather than opening the world of Lumasis and choosing to rule it, which is far from Serafina’s intent. But if she does this, the Gods may be very angry. The only one that supports Serafina is Irvan Boltore, a God who is fighting alongside her, with Tobias, a wizard, as his messenger, also selected by him to be Serafina’s guide. Only they can convince the other Gods to set her free. Other figures that are helping Serafina are Bellatrix, a tough warrior nymph who is helping her to fight, and Tovarah Zaiya, a healer who nourishes her after battle.

The World:

Astricka is a very futuristic, magical and exotic world. The main city, Eutrapolis, has tall, rounded towers that sparkle in a sapphire color from a distance, and float in a pale lavender sky with white clouds. Inside, the buildings are highly complex and powered by a kind of natural magic that comes the salt extracted from the great sea of Crescantris, where the magical waters lie. Crescantris surrounds Astricka, and Astricka is one huge continent with many twists and turns that lies in the center. The people in Astricka are incredibly modern- even futuristic. Intelligent, quiet, and able bodied, they are built for action. The only place is isn’t that way is the Simbearian Glades, which contain people who prefer to be natural mages and meditators, called the Simbaerian monks.

Plot And Details:

Being forced to toggle back and forth between her real life and a magical world called Astricka, Serafina has to fight off attacks from supernatural creatures who basically want her powers, her life, and to destroy her mortal soul. These two worlds begin to intertwine when she meets a teenage boy named Jace Owen Karson, and everything changes. Magic and deception become her worst nightmare, and she doesn't even know who to trust.

Jace is an average teenage boy- or so it seems. He goes to school, hangs out with friends, and appears totally normal. Except for one thing. He's after Serafina. And, he knows magic exceptionally well. Working for a dark being named Rodsha, his goal is to destroy Serafina so he can enchant the minions of Astricka and find the Golden Keychain, which will link all of Serafina's powers together and unlock Lumasis, which has yet to be conquered- a world filled with immense power and vitality that he and Rodsha plan to rule. At first Serafina doesn’t know anything about Jace, until she meets Junafir, the dragon.

Irvan Boltore, one of the gods of Astricka, is defending Serafina with all his might, arguing with them to free Serafina from the position of the Chosen One, and battling them in the Sparthian Arena, the battle arena of the Gods. Tobias, a very powerful wizard in Astricka, was selected by Irvan to help Serafina, and sends a dragon named Junafir to retrieve her from the real world whenever they need her. With support from a faerie warrior named Bellatrix, a healer and magic mentor named Tovarah Zaiya, Tobias's spells and enchantments, Junafir's loyalty, and Irvan's blessings, Serafina goes on a journey to fight off the dark side and solve the mysterious locations of Astricka's Keys, and finding a way to give her position as Chosen One to someone else.

In the real world, however, Serafina has other things to deal with. Graduating from high school and hoping to become a journalist and an artist, she’s in the midst of college visits, portfolio criticisms, and not to mention, her average teenage life with her crush on Aaron Spencer Duncan, a close friend, who betrays her and goes for Heather Gloria Farrell, the blonde goody two shoes in her art class that seems to absorb all the attention.

Meanwhile, a goth girl who is curious about magic, named Hera Janine Pryce, is beginning to get suspicious of Serafina’s mysterious dissappearances and is starting to find out that she’s entering other worlds. The odd thing is that Hera is starting to like Serafina- in some odd way, which she can’t comprehend. It’s almost tough love, but Hera sometimes insults Serafina, and yet offers to help her with her situation, ending up being the only one who knows about Astricka, and offering Serafina spells and tactics to help her overcome her situation, even grow more confident as a person and know when to say “screw everybody else.” Harsh but caring, Hera becomes a friend that Serafina would have never expected to have.

While Serafina’s ex best friend, Baeya Maxine Widdler, is changing rapidly into someone who betrays her with guys and reputations, Serafina also finds support from her old friend, Astraya Brookstone, a year older than her, and in college, who gives her advice and helps her along the way in real life, unknowing of the immense struggle she is facing.

After losing Baeya, who is flirting with Aaron all the time even knowing that he’s going out with Heather, Serafina is left feeling awful. She realizes how much of a jerk Aaron is when he cheats on Heather with Baeya and then dumps Heather to have a fling with her. Meanwhile, Baeya’s “new” best friend is Jasmin Caroline Bentley, a girl who doesn’t truly befriend anyone, but throws wild parties and pretty much smokes in the bathroom.

Heartbroken over Aaron and losing Baeya, something happens to Serafina that she wouldn’t expect. While touring at a liberal arts college near Wildavon, her hometown, in a city called Westerville, she meets a boy named Gunnar Sean Ammory, and learns what it means to truly fall in love, and be accepted for who she is when no one else will. Eventually, Gunnar finds out about her journey, and after they go through a rough patch and a break in their relationship because of how much Serafina had been hiding from him which caused her not to be able to love him the same, Gunnar comes back after careful thought, and decides that he loves her too much to leave her. He helps her fight, and together they find the Patremorphis and travel to Sparth, the land of the Gods, to give the Chosen One’s position to a girl who really wants it- Hera Janine Pryce. The Gods acknowledge Hera’s potential, leaving the problem solved, and Serafina is free.

Serafina’s struggles and early powers as the Chosen One:
- has messages sent to her from the Gods, and passes out whenever this happens
- gets attacked by the Frydemians a lot
- can hear animal’s thoughts
- can talk to animals
- knows random things about people that she has no control over, sometimes blurts out, but mostly keeps secret
- visions and dreams
- knowing when something is going to happen as an instinct, and saving people from it
- can heal others and purify them intensely, clear their conscience entirely, heal them from emotional pain
- can heal other people’s physical wounds instantly when she touches them
- if she kisses someone, some of her powers rub off on them, so she learns to be very careful about it

After she learns to harness her powers with Tovara Zaiya, her mentor and healer, and Bellatrix, her warrior guide:

- can travel with her spirit, which she only uses sometimes
- the ability to freeze others in mid action
- can make objects move or float
- super speed
- the ability to morph
- time travel and manipulation
- sword fighting, battling, etc.
- opening portals

*** end of novel description

Could someone please suggest a way for the story to begin?

Also, I'm struggling with Serafina's character and voice. Any suggestions?
Last edited by MoonlightMayhem on Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:14 pm
JabberHut says...



Hi, Moonlight! Told you I'd leave a comment. ;)

This story really does sound fascinating. I love a good fantasy. Seriously, I'm ecstatic! There are so many elements to your story, and the keys/keychain idea is really clever. Lots of potential for a juicy fantasy here! I hope you post some so I can read! (If you already have, let me know. I'd really love to read!)

I'll try to be helpful now. xD

There really isn't much I can criticize since, you know, I don't have much to go on! You know the story better than I do. The overall question I have is: Why Serafina? The gods obviously have a reason for choosing her, so try to make it clear overtime why Serafina was chosen to have all these special powers no one else has and also rule this mysterious world no one else can access.

Then there's also the question of why the villains want to rule this world. Ruling takes a lot of work, and it can get very overbearing on people. Lots of aspects to it, and the villains are undoubtedly very clever. Make it clear at some point what the villains are particularly going for. Is it some sort of revenge? A desire to best the gods? Do their perosnal backgrounds have anything to do with their ambitions?

A final warning would be organization, which is purely style-based, so take this advice with a grain of salt if you've already got it all planned out. With so many aspects to a story -- in this case, so many aspects to two/three different worlds -- it'll be really easy to confuse the reader. Transtitions and scenes will have to be edited and organized into a pleasant order so the reader doesn't 1) get overwhelmed with information and events and 2) get confused enough that it's not worth the extra brainpower to read it.

But the story itself sounds really awesome, and I'm really excited with how it'll turn out. :D I haven't read the first two chapters to help give an idea where to go from there. I'd definitely be the writer who'd just do dialogue or character-building scenes. I usually get inspired enough to continue the plot eventually, even if that means editing out that dialogue scene that inspired it.

Keep writing!
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Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:20 pm
Tenyo says...



I agree with Jabber about organisation.

For something this complex it's very easy to get lost and tangled up inside the plot, especially when you have a lot of ideas but still don't know what to do next.

With my novels I like to create a visual journey map, like having a picture to describe each scene and a squiggly line going from one to the other. This way when you're juggling several plots and worlds you can have them all on the same map and it will help to organise things into a chronological order and keep track of who is doing what and when. It'll also highlight redundant or unneccesary scenes that can be spliced together, and better monitor your character development.

Remember that fewer, longer scenes are better than shorter ones that are constantly switching, because this is what will disrupt the flow and lose your reader the most.

Or maybe you already know all of this =p But these are the things I would be most wary of when attacking a novel this complex.
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Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:47 pm
MoonlightMayhem says...



I updated the plot a bit, just a few of my details were added in for additional background. Also, I'm still trying to answer the question, "Why Serafina?" As for the villains, I'm pretty sure they want to take over Lumasis so they can be all powerful and stop suffering from living in their dark little place in Astricka. The Gods look down upon them and the people of Euterpolis pretty much treat them very negatively. So they want to show everybody who's boss and conquer Lumasis, therefore gaining a lot of power that they can use and use the creatures who inhabit Lumasis (these really divine, precious creatures who are really kind at heart) as their slaves.

Rodsha, the leader of the villains, has his own backstory with the Gods. I haven't completely sorted it out yet, but basically what happened is that he wanted something and the gods refused to give it to him, so he found a way to sneakily obtain this something, and the Gods found out and shamed him for it by taking his power and making him a lower being of some sort. But Rodsha found dark ways to become powerful by using the magic from Astricka's underworld to steal other people's powers and souls and form minions, which has been going on for quite some time, because he and his minions are too clever and sneaky for anyone to be able to fathom their secret ways of getting power and doing dark deeds.

As for the question, "Why Serafina?"... I'm pretty stumped. Maybe she has a very kind heart and is the only one who is so gentle and caring. I mean, she's the nicest character in the whole book and is very pure and never wants to hurt anyone. Is that enough?

I guess her real parents were great people who did something amazing and lived in Astricka, and they had to fight in some sort of huge conflict and wanted Serafina to be safe so they placed her on Earth when she was two years old or something like that.

Maybe that's a good reason too?
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Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:03 pm
MoonlightMayhem says...



Also, where should my story begin? I have a few ideas, but I'd like some input.

My first idea is to open with a scene that occurred when Serafina was two years old, and perhaps her parents were magical people who lived in Astricka, and they were solving some sort of huge mystery and fighting off darkness and they needed Serafina to be safe, and as they were fighting in this grand scenario, Serafina was in direct danger and perhaps Rodsha threatened to kill her, so they quickly found a way to run and hide, and secretly sent Serafina to Earth, and after doing so they won whatever conflict it was and led Astricka to victory (for that point in time), however they died in the process, hence, Serafina was chosen by the Gods to be The Chosen One and rule over Lumasis, noting that as a child, she had an incredibly pure and good soul, and her parents were great people.

Another idea I have is to start in the present day, opening a scene in Serafina's ordinary life, and out of nowhere she gets some sort of message sent to her from the gods while she's busy doing something like showing her portfolio to an art director, or even in some social situation at school. The Gods may tell bits and pieces of whats going on or tell her that it's urgent for her to come to Astricka immediately or something like that, maybe even as simple as informing her that she is the Chosen One.

Any other suggestions? Support?
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Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:42 pm
MoonlightMayhem says...



As an update, I decided to start over from scratch and put the two original chapters aside. They weren't really working out for me. Anywho, I'm looking for some support as to where to begin the story.
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Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:57 pm
Tenyo says...



Ageless advice: Begin at the beginning. I would say start with the scene when Serafina was two years old, and anything relevent between then and present day. If you later change your mind or if it becomes reduntant you can take it out or move it elsewhere, but at least you'll have it there.

For "Why Serafina" you could try writing a list of ten/fifteen possible reasons, no matter how silly or unreasonable they are. If you do that you're bound to find an idea you like amongst the fifteen.

This technique works for the question of "What comes next?" as well. You write a list of ten possible outcomes and chose which one you feel most enthusiastic about. It's a great way to stay creative, and keep momentum through your novel.
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Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:40 am
MoonlightMayhem says...



Thank you, Tenyo. This is wonderful advice.
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Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:45 pm
MoonlightMayhem says...



Ok, so how does this sound for a backstory for Serafina's parents & their interaction with Rodsha... (I plan to use this in my prologue)

Rodsha wanted power over the creatures living by the sea of Astricka, so he could use them as slaves to gain power for himself. He asked the Gods to give him their souls, but of course, the Gods refused to do such a thing, so he decided to use his own magic to perform a spell that was against the Astricka's moral codes, which involved stealing the creature's souls.

Once he stole them, he went into hiding in a dark place called Frydemis, a place that he created for himself as his lair, which was located basically in the middle of nowhere: a secret spot in a dark cave near the mountains located in the Simbaerian Glades.

This is where Serafina's parents, Orna and Cedrick come in, and they deeply care about the creatures by the Sea of Crescantris because they live right near there and both love magic and respect the code of Astricka (aka the rules that make people act morally while using magic.) Acknowledging that the creatures have been enslaved by Rodsha, they sneak into Rodsha's lair and find the souls in a magical place of some sort, perhaps an orb or a well, and they save the creatures, which causes the Gods to like them a lot. This leads the Gods to make banish Rodsha from Astricka, punish and trapped in the land of Ignasis, which is basically a place where those who have sinned go. There, Rodsha no longer has a mortal form, and is a deformed creature of darkness.

Later, Orna and Cedrick are in Euterpolis when they stumble upon a secret pathway that leads to a stone platform underneath the city. There, they find a prophecy written in the stone and a huge molded shape that is engraved into the floor that shines with a dim blue light. It is in the shape of a ring and several keys, which each open something else in a the realm beyond, according to the prophecy. At this point Serafina is two years old. Orna and Cedrick read the prophecy, which states that Lumasis is a land that was merged with Astricka by an ancient wizard name Milo, and only after the Patremorphis is found can the land be opened. Lumasis has always existed- it is a realm of purity and vitality, and amazing amounts of magic exist there. There are several creatures there who are one hundred percent pure at heart and one hundred percent good, angelic beings. They have undying loyalty and amazing peace, and they are looking for the Chosen One, a person chosen by the Gods to rule them. The Chosen One is the one who is most pure at heart and most like them- the chosen one will have amazing similarity to these creatures in the sense that they are purely good. It was then that the Gods noted that Serafina had a beautifully pure heart... they could see that it was a soft and pure one because when weighed on the magical scale, it floated up when compared to a grain of salt from the sea of Crescentris- which meant Serafina had immense beauty and an empathy for the creatures of Lumasis. Already having taken a liking to Orna and Cedrick, the Gods then chose Serafina as the Chosen One. They blessed her with magical powers that would later emerge as Serafina became the right age to rule Lumasis, which would be in the late teenage years. (age 17-19.) One power was the ability to communicate with every type of creature in the universe, from animals to humans to faeries and dragons and all. Another was an intense connection to the beings of Lumasis- a strong empathy for them. Another was the ability to heal, and so on and so forth. However, according to Milo's prophecy, the Chosen One would have to prove themselves worthy by finding the Keys of Astricka that connected to the Patremorphis. Only then could Lumasis be unlocked, and could the land be ruled. The Keys were scattered among Astricka in ancient times, and the Great Patremorphis, or as street creatures called it, "The Golden Keychain" was in a location that only the true Chosen One would find. Orna, Cedrick, and Serafina left the secret chamber where the prophecy was engraved, and returned to Euterpolis, where people seemed to already know about Lumasis because the Gods had shown them in a message from above, through bright colorful images that showed the Gods story in the form of a play that spread across the sky above them in the city, so everyone could see it. The word spread that Lumasis existed, and the Chosen One, who was name was kept secret, had been selected.

When Rodsha found out about this, he was furious because the Gods were offering power to someone other than him. The word had spread from Euterpolis all the way to Ignasis, which was only separated by a magical forcefield and a barrier, so they could see that on the other side of the barrier, people were talking about it. This was when Rodsha began gathering minions who all wanted to find the Chosen One, slay her, and conquer Lumasis for themselves. Rodsha wanted to be the leader and show the Gods who was boss, and he was also bitter and vengeful about losing the creatures souls and being punished.

Rodsha summoned the creatures of the darkness and they found a way to break the curse that kept them in Ignasis, which made Rodsha and his minions go free.

When Orna and Cedrick returned home that night, Rodsha was there before them, standing right in the front of their house. He knew that Serafina was the Chosen One, and he wanted them to hand her over. Cedrick battled off Rodsha in a duel, while Orna decided to flee with Serafina and create a magic portal that would send her to live with a family on Earth, asking the Gods to protect her and make sure that no one would know where she was. The Gods blessed her, but told Orna that when she became old enough to rule over Lumasis, the spell would have to wear off, and she'd have to go on her quest to find Astricka's Keys.
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Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:30 pm
MoonlightMayhem says...



I'm struggling with the first few lines of the story... I've written pages over and over again and I don't like any of them. How do I start off?
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Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:47 am
Rosey Unicorn says...



You pick a place and keep writing. One thing about beginnings is, it's near impossible to start, especially a new story. So what you do is get stubborn and keep going through the beginning, into the middle, and finally the end. Don't rewrite just a few pages, because it's impossible to know how they'll factor into the rest of the story until you've written the rest of the story.

Don't worry about making it perfect right off the bat. Keep going. You can polish it later.
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Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:29 pm
ChunSquirrelArtiste says...



Hello MoonlightMayhem. One thing I have noticed from your posts thus far is about your main character, Serafina (love the name by the way). In your description, you talk of the physical and emotional struggles of Serafina, and her wish to be free from her duties, but describe that she is "the nicest character" in your story and that perhaps could be why the Gods chose her. I want to caution you away from making your character too divine, too perfect and nice. Yes, she gets stressed out about both her overwhelming human and divine duties, but in essence she seems a perfect, faultless character. Every reader loves a character who is not only special and key to the conflict going on, who faces psychological pressure, but one also who is human--who is not perfect, has her faults, and has to deal with these in a very real way in her journey.

Your character can still be extremely caring and gentle, but perhaps she also has the habit of forming secret prejudices against people, or, once burned, will remain vengeful till the end. (Maybe not the best suggestions, but you get my point). The more layered and complex you make a character, the more the reader can relate to her. You may also find an answer to the "Why Serafina?" question in giving her inner moral struggles that can translate into the worldly conflicts going on around her.

One last thing I also caution you against, is giving your main character too many powers, especially in the beginning. I would narrow what you have listed down to the ones you find most meaningful and integral to the story. While your character is a "Chosen Hero", there is always still a rough road to becoming what the Gods except, and your hero remains merely a human lent powers, not a goddess herself.

I do not however want to come off as wholly negative. I really love your idea of battling between personal, human troubles and otherworldly, God-given duties. Your description of Astricka is also very interesting, and I see a lot of potential in it. And even a THIRD world? Very nice. :mrgreen:

As far as where to begin, several contemporary authors have commented that you have three pages (and really more like three paragraphs) to hook your reader. Being a hopeless fan of Georgian era lit, I have never been a fan of "start with the most interesting, suspenseful scene you can work out," but today the publishing industry is not what it was two-hundred years ago, and readers have a far greater selection to pick from for literature (and often shorter attention spans). So what scene from your story will hook your readers in, tell them something about your main character, your conflict, and/or setting (great intros do this all in the first paragraph, sometimes even the first sentence)?

I like your idea about her parents, but you know your story much better than I do, and could determine if this is the best scene for your story or not. Will it hook your reader and show how your story is unique from any other? Also does it tie in with the ending of your story, does it provide an idea of connection between beginning and end? These are just a few things to consider, but it seems like you've put a lot of thought into this story and I hope that you post some of it for us to read in the future!




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Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:17 pm
MoonlightMayhem says...



Thank you so much, ChunSquirrelArtiste, for your detailed response. I agree, there should definitely be some complexities to Serafina. I will be sure to include what makes her tick. She'll have a private life and a persona for those who she doesn't know, and I'll be sure to keep in mind her many layers. However although she is very complex, she has a heart that is the most pure of all, even though it has its flaws. She easily allows drama to devour her, and has trouble saying "screw what everyone else thinks." This is something she needs to learn.
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Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:44 pm
MoonlightMayhem says...



Ok, I definitely need to make the beginning of my story more intriguing and suspenseful.

The setting is with Orna and Cedrick (Serafina's parents) visiting Archellon, the area right by the sea of Crescantris, where the magical waters lie. Cedrick's job is to extract the magic salt from the sea, so that the magic users in Astricka can weild it. He works for the Magic Distributing Industry, for a company called the Wielder's Guild. Every so often, he goes to Crescantris, extracts enough salt for the magic distributors to send to magic shops, neatly putting the magic salt in small boxes. When the salt is rubbed in (usually in the hands) the magic weilders have the ability to perform spells for a certain period of time, because of the fact that the Gods had blessed the magic sea salt. The salt's power usually wears off after a days- around three, or so. Anyways, the villain, Rodsha, is on the shore of Archellon, right by the Sea of Crescantris where Cedrick is working, and he is stealing the souls of the creatures who live there so he can use them as slaves. I'm thinking something should happen to Cedrick, for example, Rodsha notices him and tells him to hand over the boxes of salt, or something, but I'm not quite sure how to do it suspensefully- in such a way that Orna and Cedrick figure out what's going on and try to save the creatures so that my prologue can actually move along.

I guess Rodsha should attack Cedrick? And then Cedrick warns Orna to protect Serafina, their child, meanwhile battling off Rodsha. Perhaps, he notices the pleading eyes of the seaside creatures, and sneaks into Rodsha's secret lair through the portal that Rodsha opens to Frydemis, his underground location in the Simbaerian Glades, which eventually leads up to the quick beginning of the story adventure where Cedrick finds that Rodsha has the seaside creatures souls enslaved in a magical orb, and he fights for their souls back, and frees them, and then summons the Gods through an ancient spell that Cedrick knows because he is a studier of magic and magical history, so that the Gods can punish Rodsha and prevent him from becoming too powerful, hence the rest of the story as described above, is possible.

Any suggestions?

I need intrigue and suspense... what guidelines can I follow?
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Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:49 pm
Rosey Unicorn says...



When it comes to beginnings, I follow the opposite advice as Ten's: start as late as possible, without needing to rely too heavily on backstory right at the start.

You can check out this article for some tips on beginnings. The Knowledge Base has a lot, so if you just look for beginning articles, you should find a good chunk.
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