Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Face-Lift 110


Guess the Plot

The Healer's Legacy

1. On Troap island, Isa, only 14 years old, already practices traditional healing learned from her grandmother. But when Isa discovers she can heal the dead, her army of zombies turns the tropical paradise into a war zone.

2. When Doctor Disease runs rampant through the land, superhero The Healer follows close behind, undoing the evil one's mischief with his remediator.

3. A warlord, drunk with power, sends his army of mercenaries after his former lover, a psychic with healing powers.

4. "Here you go, Mrs. Smith," said Dr. Grimm. "My bill." A horror story.

5. Sandy didn't even know she had a rich doctor uncle until he died. Now, to win her inheritance, she must run a gauntlet of tasks designed to teach her the true meaning of the Hippocratic Oath.

6. When pharmaceutical researcher Millard Sludgenoid invents a true panacea, he finds himself out of a job. Embittered and alone, Millard plots his revenge: a super-itchy form of athlete's foot.

Original Version

Dear Agent,

How can a young woman running from an abusive relationship with a powerful warlord [If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, ladies: if you don't want an abusive relationship, don't get involved with a powerful warlord.] escape his vengeful fixation, learn to rely on herself, and regain her ability to trust other people?

KIRA is a young woman with a secret; she can psychically communicate with animals. [She's like Tarzan, except she does it mentally, which is much more discreet than that embarrassing yodeling noise that always alerts the bad guys that a stampede is imminent.] At sixteen, Kira fell in love and ran off with TORIL, the young warrior responsible for leading the country’s forces to victory against the outland raiders. But Toril’s love of power consumed him and he became abusive, targeting his anger at Kira.

Kira flees with her animal companions, KELMIR, a moon cat, and a wyvern named AERON, but finds herself pitted against nature and harried by Toril’s mercenaries. [Why doesn't she psychically tell her wyvern to swoop down, barbecue the mercenaries, and bite off Toril's head?] [Or she could order thousands of crows to attack, and go for the mercenaries' eyes.] [Did Aquaman ever hesitate to let trout do his dirty work?] When her horse becomes lame she bargains for shelter at TEM HOLD, [You give me shelter, I won't tell your animals to kill you.] a small but prosperous settlement. However, not all of the Hold’s residents are friendly. Nevertheless, using her skills at hunting [She has an unfair advantage when hunting. She spots Bambi and psychically tells him, Come on over here, sweetie, I'll give you some lettuce, so the unsuspecting fawn trots over, and then Kira pulls out her blade and guts him. I'm starting to lean toward Toril's side.] and healing, she finds community and acceptance. When Toril and his army track Kira down and attack Tem Hold, Kira is forced to fight not only has come to care about. [Come again?]

My novel, THE HEALER'S LEGACY, is a completed character-driven Young Adult fantasy of 85,000 words, told in the close-third point of view from the perspectives of three female characters. [Three? Who are the other two?] I believe that THE HEALER'S LEGACY offers the opportunity for readers to see females as heroic and to look at the social framework of a people from differing viewpoints. It is my goal to reach out to readers with characters and stories that they will relate to on a personal and emotional level. [And who can't relate to an animal psychic and a warlord?]

I am an established grants development professional (a fancy way of saying I write grants and business documents for a living) with an M.A. in Creative Writing. I was a staff writer for my college newspaper and my poetry and short fiction have been published in a number of periodicals, both in the United States and Canada. I am an active member of SCBWI. [South Carolina I am eager to work with an enthusiastic agent with extensive knowledge of the young adult market. A full manuscript and synopsis are available upon request.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Revised Version

Can a young woman running from a powerful warlord escape his vengeful fixation, learn to rely on herself, and regain her ability to trust other people? That's the problem facing Kira, who, at sixteen, fell in love and ran off with TORIL, the warrior responsible for leading the country’s forces to victory against the outland raiders. Toril’s love of power eventually consumed him and he became abusive, targeting his anger at Kira.

Kira flees with her animal companions, KELMIR, a moon cat, and a wyvern named AERON, but soon finds herself pitted against nature and harried by Toril’s mercenaries. When her horse becomes lame, she offers her skills at hunting and healing in return for shelter at TEM HOLD, a small but prosperous settlement. In time, Toril and his army track Kira down and attack Tem Hold, and Kira is forced to fight against the man she once loved.

My novel, THE HEALER'S LEGACY, is a completed, character-driven, Young Adult fantasy of 85,000 words, told from the perspectives of three female characters: Kira, Mary Magdalene, and the revivified corpse of Katherine Hepburn. The novel depicts a people's social framework from differing viewpoints, and shows females in heroic roles. It is my goal to reach out to readers, with characters and stories that they will relate to on an emotional level.

I am an established grants development professional (a fancy way of saying I write grants and business documents for a living) with an M.A. in Creative Writing. My poetry and short fiction have been published in a number of periodicals, both in the United States and Canada. I am an active member of SCBWI. I am eager to work with an enthusiastic agent with extensive knowledge of the young adult market. A full manuscript and synopsis are available upon request. I look forward to hearing from you.


Notes

I think if you're going to mention that Kira has a secret, she communicates with animals, you should illustrate this talent working in her favor. I could have invented such an incident, as I invented the other two women who star in the book, but decided it was easier just to ignore the whole idea.

32 comments:

Bernita said...

Why does he send a whole frigging army after her?
Wouldn't a handful of assassins (eunuchs) do?
And who is going to protect his territory while the army's off chasing her over hill and dale? Guys like that have other enemies, you know.
Does sound like a good tale though.

Jen said...

I really hated that she could both talk to animals AND be skilled as a hunter.

Stephen said...

I'm afraid that when I see the word AERON, I don't think "wyvern" so much as "office chair.

Malia said...

What jen said...that part bothered me as well. It doesn't make sense.

born_liar said...

I like the talking to animals/hunter combination. It could make for some fascinating internal conflict if she's the type to be conflicted about it, or an interesting character trait if she has no problem using every possible advantage to hunt. After all, if she's depending on hunting for food, she's probably not going to worry about giving the animals a sporting chance.

Anonymous said...

It's official -"character-driven" has become the latest catch-phrase craze.

Anonymous said...

Hey, jen. Women can communicate with men (when they are listening) and hunt them mercilessly.

December Quinn said...

I agree with Jen. I would imagine someone who has regular conversations with animals would likely be a vegetarian.


But I would so love to read a book about Zombie Katherine Hepburn. That's got bestseller written all over it.

jen said...

Anon...

If she were only hunting the animals to hang out with them, I'd have no problem.

whitemouse said...

So Kira has special powers, a pet "moon cat" and wyvern, and is tormented by her evil ex-boyfriend.

She sounds like a bit of a Mary Sue. Is all this sparkly specialness really necessary to the story?

You can make a female character heroic without giving her magical powers, y'know. In fact, she'd be more impressive if you didn't.

Ashni said...

It is my goal to reach out to readers, with characters and stories that they will relate to on an emotional level.

This is a goal shared by 98% of writers (the rest are postmodernists). I'd leave it out.

Also, Aeron is the name of a guy who controls dragons in the Song of Ice and Fire series. You might want to give your dragon a different one.

BuffySquirrel said...

Yes, because hunters are all sadistic bastards who hate the wittle fwuffy animals...

Get a grip, folks. Hunting and talking to animals are not incompatible. There's pets and then there's food.

Daisy said...

And what if the animals she talks to are all really annoying? I mean, if squirrels were psychically communicating with me in the middle of the night, waking me up to tell me this hilarious joke about the word "nuts" they just thought up, I think I'd become a pretty expert hunter too.

Daisy said...

Oh, present company excepted of course, Buffy.

December Quinn said...

I don't think hunters are sadistic bastards at all, Buffy. Most of the men in my family hunted. My Grandfather hunted, and raised rabbits for food too.

I just think if we had conversations with animals, real talks about feelings and stuff, we might be less inclined to eat them.

born_liar said...

Whitemouse, that was my first thought as well. I'm not saying she's definitely a Mary Sue, but based solely on the query, she sounds a lot like one.

The combination of animal psychic and hunter could actually fix that issue. I can't picture an MS using psychic powers to lure animals in for the kill. MS's and their authors aren't usually that pragmatic.

Word verification: amipix. A French version of MySpace?

daniel said...

If Kira hunts the animals, the animals are not going to be too jazzed about helping her:

Kira: Good morning, Sammy Squirrel! I need you to carry a message for me to the high country.

Sammy: What?? Help you? You killed and ate my brother! Screw you!

Kira: No, no, you don't understand. Your brother was just food to me. You're a pet!

Sammy: Ohhh, well when you put it like that.....Now, my brethren! Attack now!

[The animals rip Kira apart]

Malia said...

I have nothing against hunting, either. Love venison. However, I think that if this character's specialty is "communicating" with animals -- hunting them falls far short of the emotional involvement we're supposed to have.

As a reader, I would find it very disconcerting to be privy to her communications with her wyvern, et al and have her turn around and begin killing other animals who she can also communicate with.

This isn't a case of bunny-huggers or anti-NRA. It's a matter of execution. (I hear your groans -- couldn't resist) If this isn't handled properly, then the premise loses merit.

I see nothing wrong with pointing this out to the author. :)

Just my .02.

Author: Healer's Legacy said...

I appreciate the questions/comments. They will help inform my query revision. Keep them coming.

For all who are concerned about the animal psychic/hunter issue, she can only communicate with hunting animals. I will revise the query to spell that out. (BTW-She also struggles with her dual nature as both hunter and healer.)

I am glad to have had opportunity to submit my query to EE and to read all your comments. It has been a great help.

Thanks all, and please add anything else you feel needs to be addressed.

wfmsqthw said...

Hunting and talking to animals are not incompatible.

Not remotely--depending on the level of communication. If it approaches sentient conversation, then there would be little ethical difference between eating a turkey and a person. That's why Westerners have cultural mores against eating dogs, cats, and dolphins. -A

Sad eunuch said...

Hey, bernita, that's cold! Just cause we are eunuchs, doesn't make us automatic evil-henchmen-wannabes!

Nut said...

whitemouse, where's that faery book, I'm tired of waiting for it! Yesterday, a Barnes and Noble manager threatened me with pepper spray, if I don't quit inquiring about the book, written by a rodent...

By the way, thanks for that Mary Sue info! That's the kind of characters, that make me toss the book.

The Other Me said...

Awww, and I rally wanted plot number 5! >_<

I liked the idea that her lover was a nice peson first but turned crazy (isn't that how it always goes?).

Also, I agree that especially the 'moon cat' pet set off my Mary Sue alert. There is just something about young girls + magic + 'special' cat...

Anonymous said...

She just doesn't talk to the animals she hates, and boy, does she hate some animals!
There's that jerk of a squirrel she'd just love to kill if only she could get her hands on--er, oops! I've said too much.

-A Reader

BuffySquirrel said...

Oh, my mistake...it never occurred to me that a Fantasy character with a pet wyvern was likely to share the values and attitudes of a Westerner.

Anonymous said...

Being totally clueless (a snarkling visiting from Miss Snark's site), I realized how fantasy-illiterate I was when I read this query and didn't know what either a "moon cat" or a "wyvern" is. So I looked for dictionary definitions of them on google.

Got it that wyvern is a medievel term for fire-breathing dragon.

But "moon cat"--in the urban slang dictionary refers to, uhm, a girl or woman's shaved pubic area. Second meaning is ugly cat. For an author trying to show strong female characters, (and provide good roles for women) you might want to avoid using terms with crude (degrading?) double entenders (sp?).

jmho.

Anonymous said...

Author:

She can only communicate with animals that hunt.

Don't all animals hunt in some fashion? So she doesn't communicate with herbivores? Does she only hunt herbivores herself?

I'm not against hunting or eating meat. But it feels wrong to be hunting and eating something that you are psychically connected to and can communicate with--like cannibalism. Talking with something creates an equality. Eating it destroys that.

Bothers me. (another YA writer)

whitemouse said...

*looks around wildly*

*flings WIP aside*

*starts frantically typing faery book for Nut*

A Reader said...

jmho said:
"moon cat"--in the urban slang dictionary refers to, uhm, a girl or woman's shaved pubic area. Second meaning is ugly cat.

Oh, come on, that's a stretch.
Not many people will read "moon cat" and think perverted things. I'd say that's about as obscure as calling a penis a pine tree.

Of all the things to worry about, I think that's low on the list.

-A Reader

Anonymous said...

How is a shaved pubic region degrading to women?

Anonymous said...

you might want to avoid using terms with crude (degrading?) double entendres...

Which would be good advice for the author of Face Lift 111 as well...!

KD said...

I have no comment, being a shiny new minion and not daring to make comments yet. But I had to use the word verification hughm.

Because I adore EE and want to hughm.