So I finally got a response to my entry. Needless to say, I did not place, but I am happy with the Notes I received. I submitted excerpts from my book and that seemed to be a bad thing. They said show them the action but I guess it was not to mean, literally, show action scenes only. Lesson learned!
I tried to streamline the novel to read more like a screen play but they said they want more background in the novel. Fair enough.
Lots of work to do. I have the background but need to figure out how to flesh out the story again but not weigh down the story’s flow.
I think what I will do is return to the first novel and rewrite it with these notes in mind. Then I will write the Pilot screenplay and outline the rest of the novel for a season one of the trilogy. Will try both Hollywood and book publishers again once that is done.
Here are the Notes they sent. Hopefully it can help someone by showing things that industry folks look for. I can definitely see the benefit of going to school for this, but for some of us older folks, that is not practical.
I would love to hear what you feel these notes meant. Doesn’t hurt having a second opinion.
The samples provided are excerpts or vignettes rather than a full 50 pages of straight text in the order of the story’s progressions so it’s difficult to get a good idea of the overall arc of the story and its timeline. A whole world is introduced in this story yet I don’t know what it looks like, the kind of time period the people are living in, the kind of technology they have available, etc. Unfortunately the sample lacks that set-up that establishes the world in which “Empires Fall” takes place.
As far as the excerpts are concerned, they contain intriguing scenarios and introduce compelling story arcs and characters, however often gloss over backstory which is necessary to build a foundation. For instance, in the first excerpt, “Arctic Icepack,” we’re told briefly that “Indrajit is a God anointed hero.” As well as that his comrade Zhenjin witnessed his anointing. However, this is glossed over in just three sentences. Perhaps there is more in an excerpt not included here, but the brief mention in the current scenario when the audience is already invested in Indrajit’s observation and attack on the researchers is distracting.
If more detail is not going to be provided to explain this here, its inclusion is confusing. It’s one thing to refer to Indrajit by a nickname, but wholly another to almost provide an explanation of the name which falls short.
Due to the structure of the sample, the time line of “EmpiresFall” is unclear, as are the main themes, tone, and the primary focus of the story. And due to the lack of detail, the excerpts come across as summaries of a larger story than as small pieces taken from an existing manuscript. Where is the detailed history of these two societies?Why are they at war, what are they fighting about?
Further, since we know so little about them/who they are, it’s difficult to invest in or care about what’s happening in the lives of the characters. For material to be capable of adaptation, especially from novel to film, there needs to exist a steady, broad foundation. Is the world of “Empires Fall” enticing and compelling? Are there characters that can carry such a weighty story?
As of now, the manuscript doesn’t offer a visually enticing presentation of this world (visual being the keyword, as film is a visual medium. Will “Empires Fall” translate to the screen?) nor does it offer a clear interpretation of the characters. How can this be improved? Include detail–focus on the description of the scenario (where are the characters, what does the scene look like how did they get there, what are their motivations, etc.) A narrative will almost always contain more than what is needed for the adaptation – the content of the film script has to come from some where. The back story of a narrative informs that script. “Empires Fall” also seems to get its inspiration from existing genre shows such as “Game of Thrones” which shows in some of the dialogue (e.g. Tilor’s name for Lena, “sun and moon” and the emphatic “by the gods” statements). While it’s perfectly fine to be inspired by existing content, be sure to give “Empires Fall” your own voice and flavor.