Topic: WIP Where Heaven and Hell Meet by Mariana
This the forum to discuss Mariana's Where Heaven and Hell Meet.
Close friends → WIP Where Heaven and Hell Meet by Mariana
This the forum to discuss Mariana's Where Heaven and Hell Meet.
Comments from Sheriff Norm:
I feel Athens needs to talk to Helga, both realizing they are stuck in the same body. they need be friends. When Athens gets in a jam, Helga can ask if she wants her to take care of it? And Helga should never say anything negative about Athens. Athens loves Patrick, Helga loves Oxford. So they swamp places to be with their loves. When Helga is conscious, Athens doesn't remember what she did, she is surprised later until Helga tells her what she did. Then she is embarrassed or pleased depending on the situation. AFter chapter 35, when Athens is thrown from the car and saved, and Patrick comes running up to her, she is totally unaware of what happened when she was first kidnapped and asked Helga to help her. Patrick can't figure what is happening. And about this time in the story, Athens finally admits to Patrick what is happening. And he has to believe. He witnessed it. He tells Athens what happened and his father tried to kill him for the brotherhood, but now he is dead, too. Athens is sympathetic to Patrick and they make love right there in the bushes. Voila, what an ending. PS, you need Buchanan in the car too, explainiing to no 700 why giviing up his son is a small price to pay for the reward of catching Helga the demon. And father arguing but finally tearfully submitting.
You may not like this, but I think one way to improve the story would be to make Helga more mysterious. You could make Anna more of a main character, so that the reader is always guessing 'it's anna,' 'no, it's melissa', 'no, it's athens', until a specific point in time. The storyline is already very captivating because we're always wondering what's going to happen next, but it could add a new dimension if the reader is in the dark about whose body is hosting Helga.
All these are interesting comments. Thank you very much.
At the beginning of the story, Helga invades Athens's body almost by coincidence, which actually prevents Athens's death--otherwise, she would have died after hitting the pile of cement sacks. After that, it's always Helga in control of Athens's body. I thought it was clear but, from the Sheriff's comments, I think it doesn't. I know there's much I have to rewrite and this is one of the main things. Melissa and Patrick befriend Helga, not Athens. Athens and Helga do not alternate controlling the body, it's always Helga.
About what happens after chapter 35, Sheriff Norm really made me laugh! I don't think Patrick and Helga would make love right under the bushes--even though is a tempting idea ;P Also, Sheriff Norm is confused about Number 700. He's not Patrick's dad. I actually made sure Buchanan indicated Patrick's dad must not be summoned in order to avoid extreme conflict, which is the very reason why Buchanan issued the order.
Suin's idea is interesting. Why I'm realising is I'm missing chapters. I mean, I need to add more scenes showing life between Patrick, Melissa, and Athens/Helga, stressing each one's personality, motivations, etc. Also showing what Helga is capable of, like when she caused the knife to go through that girl's hand.
I do think that the possession needs work. There should perhaps be internal dialogue, a blending, then finally a takeover of Athens by Helga. There was an episode of Sliders, where Quin Mallory ended up in the body of, well, Quinn Mallory, a double, only he didn't look anything like him. The Quinn who wasn't Jerry O'Donald referred to himself as Mallory to distinguish, and said that Quinn was talking to him--only to finally disappear. Heinlein wrote "I Shall Fear No Evil," where an elderly man has his brain transplanted into his young, sexy, and female assistant. They communicate. So there are models to help you develop this. Maybe more on Athen's personality before she attempts suicide, so we can distinguish her from Helga and track the eventual dissolution of Athens into Helga. If that's too much work, as the first part has been written, have Athens reemerge from time to time, so we can distinguish them. This adds another layer of pathos, as Athens becomes a victim of Helga.
I'm gonna stick to my idea for these reasons. One, you need hero in this story. It's a young adult story so you need big time friends in the story too. Plus the way it is written we are thinking Athens, then Helga. It's confusing. And there is magic when the reader is privilege to information the leading character isn't.Like Anthens agrees for Helga to take over body for this and that, and then is utterly shocked when she discovers what she did, Athens being unconscious when Helga has taken over. Also I love the idea, one is in love with one boy and the other with another To make Helga a hero, she needs to be nice to Athens, help her even help her with her despondency like a big sister, and when Athens gets in trouble, have Athens agree for the help, especially when the Brotherhood is mean and ruthless and she is being supposedly the demon. and declared the evil one. And making Anthens a puppet with no personality , with helga completely taking over the body isn't very heroic. More demon like. Give Athens a personality and interaction with Helga, and it will be so so fun to write.
This is a comment Rhiannon sent to me through a quickie:
Hi Mariana: To answer your question, was there too much human-demon conflict before the YA drama, my initial response is yes. The human-demon conflict is like the backstory (like, not is. I know it's part of the "front" story). I think you should start with the teenaged drama, maybe even Athena's being bullied and her suicide attempt, then dovetail the human-demon conflict in that. One suggestion: you show Athena's conflict, then in the next chapter, show Helga's conflict, have them like intersecting plot lines that merge with the whole Patrick loves Athena (poor sucker) conflict. Oh, and I made some further comments in response to some of your replies, so you might want to check that.
Thanks. The Sheriff and you are giving much to think about. This is the story's first draft, so it's valid to rewrite it. I mean, what's the purpose of publishing it here if not?
I never planned to have Athens and Helga communicating. In fact, my original idea was that Helga wiped out Athens off her body, but the Sheriff may be right. Of course, it represents heavy rewriting. So far, I will continue with the story following the original idea and will introduce the amendments in the second iteration. I don't want to start modifying the story, taking ages before it's concluded.
One thing that occurred to me after reading the last chapter is that I don't understand why Helga looks exactly like Athens. Was it coincidence that she jumped into the body of someone who also has red hair like her? Also, is Athens gone now? It seems like she is and if so this should be clarified as a major event and if not, you should give us a hint. Looking forward to reading on to the next chapter!
Helga and Athens don't look exactly the same, I mean, not like identical twins, but they certainly look alike--like sisters. That's actually a coincidence.
Athens is now gone after Helga abandoned her body. In a previous chapter I mentioned how it works: if a demon is trapped in a human body--because he entered the wrong way--the demon cannot leave it. If the owner of the body dies, the demon would still be trapped in the dead body.Once the body decays, the demon would be no more because he would be spread in the dust the body turns into. So, the demon's conservation instinct will try to save him before the owner of the body dies. Because the demon is deeply trapped in the host's body, the only way to leave the is by sheer force.
Once the host's life is in danger--the life of the owner of the body is in danger--the demon's conservation instinct sets off. The demon will leave the body causing the body to set afire violently--spontaneous combustion. That's why the car blew, because Athens's body violently caught fire and the car's gas tank exploded.
After the spontaneous combustion, the demon is free. Very weak, but free. The demon will be on the same place where the body he occupied was. In flesh and bones, and in spirit. In his actual physical form, however horrible, and naked, because being trapped in somebody else's body doesn't include being dressed. According to Mr Buchanan, that's the right time to seize a demon because he's so weak he can't fight back. Moreover, he would remain weak for over year, but not as weak as during those initial minutes.
The reason why Buchanan tied Anna Melbourne to the Amtrak tracks was because he believed Helga was trapped inside Anna's body. He wanted Helga's conservation instinct to trigger the spontaneous combustion process when the Amtrak would be an inch away from Anna and death would be imminent. Demons don't die, even if the Amtrak runs them over. So, if Buchanan's plan would have worked, after the spontaneous combustion Helga, her 16 yo physical form, would be lying naked by the tracks.
The weekend Helga spent with Oxford in the cabin by Lake Viking, she explained Oxford she wasn't trapped in Athens's body and that she could leave it whenever she wanted, but that the spontaneous combustion would happen anyway, and she would be weak after leaving the body. Law of nature. This means Helga is more powerful than any other demon, because other demons were trapped and couldn't leave at will the body they were trapped in. However, she chose to stay in Athens's body for the reasons she explained Oxford.
Because Patrick and her were in danger, and even more because Melissa could be in danger, Helga decided to abandon Athens body before they reached the Brotherhood's lair in the abandoned FedEx warehouse.
Wow!!! So many explanations. I know my homework now is to make that all of the above is clear in the story. Thanks for pointing at it.
No no, it was all clear except whether Athens died or not. I wasn't sure because it wasn't mentioned explicitly.
Okay, got it! Thanks.
First, no, I'm not a professional editor or proofreader. I'm not even a professional writer, though I'd be a professional reader if it paid enough to live on. I love books and I love to read, have all my life. I like to dig deep when I read, find the characters' motivation as well as the author's. Might be why I love mysteries so much- the first books I read as a child were the Ellery Queen series, mainly because everything you needed to solve the crime was given to you, buried deep in the story. I got pretty good at solving the crimes, sometimes before Ellery. I do the same with book plots and now tv shows and movies, much to the irritation of my family. I like to break things apart and see how they work. So, while I'm reading I'm looking for where the book is going and I'll comment on that, because I think its important for the author to know if he's leading the reader in the right direction. I do hope those who I review take my comments as nothing more that suggestions. I hope they are helpful. But by no means take them as professional advice. Though I'm flattered.
Second, I am in awe of you that you can write so well in a second language. I'm still grasping some of the nuances of my native tongue.
That said I was thinking about your opening chapter. You said the reasons Athens is up on that ledge is not as important as that she is up on that ledge. I've only gotten as far as chapter two, but what if, you don't tell the reader why she is there at all. In fact, stay out of her POV entirely. I love the way you describe the scene, almost as if the building is a "dead beast"[ The structure still missed all it walls. It was the skeleton of a frightful animal extending its forelegs high in the sky and standing on monstrous, grey concrete legs--the columns of a would-be extensive concourse.] The creepy factor full-tilt. Then have her make it to the top (can this all happen at night, or will that mess up the plot line- because I think creepy shadows and moonlight would be killer right here.) Then, she's at the edge, maybe describe her looking down, about to jump, when she changes her mind. Then you can shift focus to the creepy devil man, buried in the shadows and how the moonlight glistens on his skin. She's afraid, turns to run, then he pushes her over. We find out from the next few chapters why she was going to jump. Treat this meeting as just a glimpse of both Athens and the Mephisto in a very short first chapter. The reader will be looking for clues as to why she was there, the mystery will propel the reader on.
Okay, so that is based on two chapters, I'll probably change my mind as I go.
I think it’s a great idea that I don’t mention the reason why Athens is up there to kill herself. Indeed, as I said, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that she’s up there at the right time and place—I can hint the reason afterwards if it’s needed. In that way the reader will concentrate in the fact and the action, making this first chapter more compelling to read.
However… If the people think the character had been bullied, it might create more sympathy towards her, don’t you think so?
I’d be thrilled to change to change the time to midnight but then I’d need to figure out what the hell was Patrick doing at a construction site that late. Lemme thing of it, I just fell in love with your idea.
By the way, she never changed her mind. She was gonna jump but then the strange, red, naked man appeared behind him shouting “Bitch!” and that called her attention. He wasn’t shouting at her but at Helga, but the border between the spiritual and the material world became so think she could see him.
However… If the people think the character had been bullied, it might create more sympathy towards her, don’t you think so?>> I think, just having her up there, a teenager, so distraught that she is willing to kill herself, would get sympathy, if that's how we need to feel about her. And without mentioning, we get a bit of mystery. What could be so horrible that this girl would give up on everything?
By the way, she never changed her mind. She was gonna jump but then the strange, red, naked man appeared behind him shouting “Bitch!” and that called her attention. He wasn’t shouting at her but at Helga, but the border between the spiritual and the material world became so think she could see him.>> this didn't come across (at least to me). Maybe if when Athens sees Mephisto he is more of a shadow, not solid looking, or like she's looking through a thin veil. Or maybe he can shimmer, in and out or waver like he's behind a mist? As i read it the first time it sounded like he was calling her a "bitch" and was confused- how did he know her. Why was he so angry at her. What did she do to attract the wrath of the devil.
Don't know Patrick as a character, but he could be driving by and maybe sees her on the roof. You could have her backlit by the moon and he sees a halo around her head, caused by the filtering of the moon. (If she's the "heaven" in this "heaven meets hell" scenario, I'm not sure at this point.) Or, he and his buds were going to go drink beers at the abandoned (haunted) building> this would keep the creep factor rolling. You can even use the interchange between he and his friends to hint as to why Athens is up there. Even if he and his friends are not the boys that lied about her, they can talk about it, even in a sympothetic way. Or, if Patrick is the defender of her, you can have him defend her to his friends? Again, I'm only 2 chapters in, so if this is totally the wrong direction, just ignore.
I told you, you're a wonderful editor, or however you call the person who checks a manuscript and discusses it with the author pointing at weaknesses. Thanks a lot your willingness to discuss my story. I'm really, really grateful!!!
Lemme elaborate a bit further: I switched chapters 1 and 2. Because of this, the reader will have no clue what's going on with the red man until the reader reads chapter 2. That's okay. The confusion will last only one chapter, two the most (until the reader reads chapter 3). So, no biggie here. What I've just realised is that I need to put a stronger accent on the fact Athens and Helga are connected. They're both on high towers (Helga on one built by Mephisto and Athens on one built by men. Okay, okay, a ten storey building is not exactly a tower, it's not the Empire State Building, but for Athens is high enough) and they connect for a second. You're right, when Athens sees him, Mephisto should be flickering or something. He mustn't be completely solid so the reader is hinted there's something amiss.
Indeed, he cried "bitch", but again, he wasn't addressing Athens. He was addressing Helga. This is not clear nin chapter 1 and the reader will assume he addressed Athens. In the next chapter, readers should be able to grasp what really happened. Well... not the way it is written now. It's sorta vague, so I'll rewrite the last scenes of both chapters 1 and 2 to make it absolutely clear.
You've just been amazingly helpful!
so what's happening next with Where Heaven & Hell Meet? Are you going to publish all of your edited chapters again?
I'm already republishing edited chapters. So far, I've edited up to chapter 18. I've also added chapter 12, and modified complete chapter 9 (100% rewriting, it's something different). The former chapter 9 will be moved out in the story, and will also be heavily rewritten, albeit keeping the underlying idea. I'm planning to add one or two more chapters in between the ones already published to fill a coupla gaps I've spotted.
Once I'm done republishing this story, and if no further comments either from you people or from new reviewers are received, I'll send it to my editor. My deadline to publish it in Amazon is March 2017.
By the way, Suin, I was wondering: are you planning to self-publish "Being 15"? If so, I'd like to offer you a deal: I publish Where Heaven and Hell Meet and you Being 15, separately. Afterwards, we build a bundle of YA novels (we may contact some other YA incipient writer from TNBW) and publish them together in Amazon as a lower-price bundle. It seems to be a terrific marketing idea and I've know of many indie writers whose individual sales escalated after the public learnt about them through a bundle.
Gacela: I've been told that I'm a great YA author, and have deliberately structured my stories so that there can be YA stories about Rhiannon. Don't remember whether I published it, but I have one story about Rhiannon's daughter and friend (whose name will have to be changed, unless I change her backstory, as there is a new character called Mellengell, so it could be a little confusing). No date for resuming this, as the four Rhiannon novels are far from done, except perhaps for the main one. But keep me in mind.
Rachel: Sure. I didn't suggested it to you, because your story is fantasy and not YA (however young, Rhiannon behaves more like a grown-up rather than the typical YA heroine). But I'll be more than happy to bundle with you as well. Your stories are fantastic! I can'rt imagine how interesting a YA story about Rhiannon might be.
Gacela: I figure you didn't suggest it to me, as my current novels are not YA. But I've written one short story in the YA genre, have made the timeline and Rhiannon's age in the first novel such that there is room for YA prequels, and the short story, starring her daughter and friend, make for sequels in the YA genre. And one editor thought one story I submitted for a contest (didn't win) showed that I'd be a great YA writer. Did you mean by 'i can't imagine how interesting a YA story about Rhiannon might be,' that, 'I can't imagine just how interesting a YA story about Rhiannon might be.' The 'just' put in means that you think they would be really interesting; without it, you mean that they would be uninteresting. (Isn't English great?) (I took it to mean the latter.)
Muy apologies, Rachel. You know my English is sloppy. I meant 'I can't imagine just how interesting a YA story about Rhiannon might be' meaning I think they would really be interesting.
Spanish and French are specific languages, English is ideological. Words in Spanish convey exact messages. Words in English convey ideas that change depending on the words, like inserting, or not, a "just". It's difficult for non-natives to understand the kind of subtleties you pointed at above. But you people are excellent teachers and I'm learning a lot. That's why I love you all!
No need to apologize; I kind of figured out it was a mistake in translation. I lived in Puerto Rico, ordered some bottled water. There was a knock on the door. A man holding a water jug declared, "I am the man of the water." (El hombre de la aqua.) I knew he meant "water man." The difference? In English the first would signify some special relationship with water--like maybe he was Aquaman, who could easily have an epithet--the man of the water. (Like Superman's "Man of Steel." A steel man would probably be a steel worker, maybe an investor in the steel industry.) Pronunciation can be fun too. A colleague of mine, from Puerto Rico, worked in NYC. He said, "Do not shit on the exams." He was mispronouncing 'cheat.' And my own case. I put my clothes in a washer in the laundry room at my dormitory for faculty and graduate students (called 'hotel' in Espanol). I was trying to tell him "The machine is broken." ("La machina is roto.") Instead, I said, "La machina es roho! Es roho!" He gave me the funniest look. Probably thinking, "No, it is white."
Oh Rachel! You always make me laugh sooo much!
I'm going to chime in on the Helga/Athens possession thread and give my two cents. Mind you I'm only up to chapter 6 and have no idea the intent of the plot or even the major theme.
I wrote this out while reviewing earlier:
How you handle these two characters is going to depend on what the theme of you novel will be. Is it a YA novel about teen relationships and the demon angle just a secondary backdrop (like werewolves/vampires in Twighligh-which was just another take on Romeo and Juliet) or is the story going to be about the Demons and the Brotherhood (or at least Patrick's) fight against them. Is it going to be about the red-skinned man's power struggle? Or, is it going to be about Athens and Helga's struggle.
Personally I think you have something unique if you concentrate on the possessed girl. Romeo and Juliet has been done to death. But an internal struggle for life itself is interesting. You have Athens, a bullied, sad, suicidal girl on one side and Helga, an ex-demon (or just immortal I'm not sure which) on the other. I disagree the shoul be friends. Would you befriend the demon that took over your body- hell no! However, the character arc could be Athens becoming more like Helga-assertive, strong, self assured, and Helga could become more like Athens, human- learns to love, dream, hope and care about someone other than herself. They become friends and eventually find a way to separate. I like the idea of starting the arc with Athens by NOT telling the reader why she is on the roof. Let the reader guess. Have us learn about her through her friends, Patrick and her actions while she is in control of her being. Strongly recommend she bot be perceived as a bitch. May instead as an outcast (think the Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club) only because you need to make her the opposite of Helga so we (readers) can tell who is controlling the being. Then you add the stressors: the Brotherhood hunting and trying to kill Helga, the Devil man also looking for her, to possess her now that he thought she'd been humbled. Patrick's love for her...etc.
I think there is a lot of potential here to do something original and exciting. Though you may want to research cults and religious symbolism and taboos.
And now for my observations about the Brotherhood, which confuses me (at least at this stage of reading).
The Brotherhood: I'm not sure at this point whether these men are really on the side of mankind, or demons in desguise. The red glowing eyes suggest demons as well as other observations I'll state in a minute. If that is your intent, then we'll done. If not, then there are some issues (in my opinion) that need to be addressed.
The reason I don't buy that that's men are on the side of good: I'm not sure where Patrick's dad stands whether he is being tricked too, or fighting for the demons, we only know Patrick's intentions.
There are underlining motivations proved out in just about every book or movie I've ever read/watched governing those groups on the side of evil, vs those groups on the side of good. Those perpetuating evil are held together by negative emotions, traits, and motivations such as fear, greed and pursuit of power and money. That's why they are so expendable, if they mess up they are often killed, their bodies either left to rot where they fall, or unceremoniously disposed of. Those in the pursuit of good, or the fighting of evil are held together by positive attributes such as camrodery, sense of family, loyalty, love, hope, sense of purpose. That's why they protect each other-no man left behind...etc.
Your Brotherhood appeared to be held together by fear. There was a pompous vibe from the leader who arrived late. I understand the need for secrecy, but having them be nothing more than numbers dehumanizes them. There was no sense of camrodery at all. The use of the higher numbers does imply there are many of them, though this sect only has nine members. So one can imply they are spread out across the globe looking for signs and it just happened to be members of this sect that witnessed the miracle. However, I really don't get the thrones, at all. I don't see them lugging around thrones for a clandestine meeting, or leaving them behind to be found.
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