Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Face-Lift 157


Guess the Plot

Wrestling the Tiger

1. Lindy Flair loses her job and decides to fight back. But first she has to learn how to navigate around the Tailored Interactive Guidance on Employment Rights (TIGER) website. Three months later she gives up and applies at Burger King.

2. Zookeeper Imogen Poe is secretly in love with Large Mammal expert Rodney Grepp. But their midnight trysts are cut short one evening when Imogen loses her flashlight and ends up in the wrong enclosure.

3. Red sand covers the moonscape where Leann hunts in silence and secret, searching for the forbidden earthquick lime. Will she find it and save the planet? Or will a treacherous villain beat her to it?

4. Anna's emotions manifest themselves as destructive forces. Only by mastering the martial arts movement known as "wrestling the tiger" can she quell the raging power within her.

5. Bored with life on the professional golf circuit, Tiger Woods gains 100 pounds, arranges his hair in a topknot, and dons a mawashi. But will the other sumos ever accept him?

6. Roderigo is a lover, not a fighter. But when la Lucha Libre comes to town, he has to make a choice: He'll lose the heart of his beloved unless he puts on the mask and faces el Tigre, the fiercest fighter on the circuit.


Original Version

Genre: Science Fiction
Title: Wrestling the Tiger
This title is taken from the name of a movement in a traditional Chinese martial arts form, and it connotates fighting for self-control.

Dear Evil One:

Anna can kill people without even trying.

An illiterate escaped slave, she knows nothing about the Qiseng beyond whispers of their mysterious powers. [Neither do we. Yet you mention them without saying who they are, and then drop them.] However, when she is threatened with recapture, her fear and anger manifest in unseen physical forces that destroy everyone around her, attackers and friends alike. [Why didn't she feel fear and anger before she escaped, or, if she did, why didn't she kill her captors without even trying?] [Has Professor Xavier heard about Anna? Because if Magneto gets to her first, there's gonna be trouble.]

Anna is rescued [If she's rescued, one assumes she was in danger. So why didn't her rescuers and her attackers get killed? Who rescues her? Who had enslaved her? Are they chasing her?] and brought to a Qiseng monastery where she must learn, quickly, how to control the emotions that create the raging power within her. [At which point she can finally join the X-Men and call herself Mindblower.] Unfortunately for her, control does not come easily. [And she kills everyone in the monastery?] As she is caught up in ancient traditions she doesn't understand, Anna soon discovers that the cruelly strict discipline of the Qiseng may be a more terrible form of slavery than that which she had escaped.

WRESTLING THE TIGER is a martial-arts science fiction novel [It should be Wrestling the Crouching Tiger.] of approximately 85,000 words. The story is strongly character-driven, and it explores through a combination of martial-arts action and introspective character development the personal, spiritual, and societal implications of deadly power linked to strong emotions.

This is my first novel. I have been published online in the Jackhammer e-zine, and while I was pursuing my degree in English I wrote a regular column for my college's underground magazine. I am a martial artist and an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve. [Marine? Excuse me while I go back and replace all my abusive comments with useful ones. Well done, sir.]

I look forward to providing a full copy of the manuscript for your review, on paper or in any electronic form you prefer, at your request. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Regards,


Notes

It's not clear enough to me. Martial arts/Qiseng leads me to wonder what someone named Anna is doing here. What's the time and place, and how did Anna become a slave? Her strong emotions manifest themselves in killing friends and enemies, yet whoever captured her and made her a slave wasn't killed? The Qiseng aren't killed despite their cruel discipline? Who is killed by Anna? Who uses martial arts skills against whom, and why? What are the mysterious powers of the Qiseng? I'm asking too many questions, and so will the person to whom you send this letter. Try to answer some of them.

I'm not crazy about the first sentence, but if you keep it, start something like: Anna kills people without trying; her feelings of fear and anger manifest in unseen physical forces that destroy everyone around her, attackers and friends alike.

Then get into her story, and don't bring up the Qiseng until you're ready to talk about them.

16 comments:

MaryKaye said...

As she is caught up in ancient traditions she doesn't understand, Anna soon discovers that the cruelly strict discipline of the Qiseng may be a more terrible form of slavery than that which she had escaped.

This was the one sentence that made me want to read the story. Usually monastery life is just a quick bit of backstory for a chop-socky tale, but this book sounds as though it's actually interested in the training life. That's a plus for me; maybe you could emphasize it more.

You might mention what kind of martial art we're talking about here: the title suggests kung fu, but is it?

Please don't give up, because I want to read this one.

MaryKaye

Anonymous said...

I think if Anna'a destructive powers were toned down a bit so it would be realistic that she would/could be captured. As it is I have the same questions as EE.

I think the basic story line is good if you can pull it off.

I didn't get the X-Men visions, instead I got a kind of female Hulk thing with the uncontrollable rage turning anna into Hulkette. Maybe you could make it a Hulk meets Hulkette romance? -JTC

kis said...

I do like the monastery angle. Kind of like those Shao-lin guys who tour all over--how the hell do they do that stuff? Train 20 hours a day, and you can do plenty, but then again, what kind of life is that?

dfferz said...

Interesting the different reactions. I didn't get either X-Men or Incredible Hulk from this.

I got something closer to Carrie.

Anonymous said...

It's not clear enough to me. Martial arts/Qiseng leads me to wonder what someone named Anna is doing here.

Anna and the King of Siam?

xiqay said...

Character-driven does not mean plot problems are acceptable. EE makes a great point when he says too many questions. Need answers.

I agree with MaryKaye about the monastery challenge being interesting.

I also liked this sentence in your query. I am a martial artist and an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve. It is simple, straight-forward, but packs a wallop that directly connects to your story.

just my 2 cents.

the Marine said...

And here I was worried everyone would think it was a Star Wars knockoff. X-Men? Hulk? I was really going for more "Star Wars meets Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon meets Dune" than "Carrie."

Anyway, I survived the critique. It wasn't that bad and was a lot funnier than I thought watching my own work get ridiculed would be! Thank you EE and everyone for all the good input.

How did she get captured? Well, the Qiseng have the same powers she does. Since they are trained and their manifestations are under their control, they were able to defend against her wild attacks, trap her, and take her away. Obviously. (What's that? I didn't mention any of that? Oh.)

Why didn't she kill her enslavers before? Power manifests at puberty. She did kill her captors when they tried to take her back, and her friend who tried to help her, and a bunch of innocent bystanders, until the Qiseng came along and rescued everyone, as they are wont to do.

Right then. More meat in the query -- check. Back to the drawing (writing) board. Thanks all!

sarah said...

I actually think the synopsis of the book is pretty good, though I am not crazy about the first sentence either - it seems to sort of stick out and not really tie in to the rest of it. A short line about who the Qiseng are might be helpful when they're first mentioned, too. I want to read this novel, so definitely don't give up and keep querying around once it's revised!

Beth said...

Despite the rather confusing, hole-filled synopsis, this is intriguing enough that I want to read it anyway.

Leah said...

My big doubt is how interesting any of the fighting is to read about. I actually like reading about art and dance better than seeing it, but I'm not so sure about martial arts.

Margaret said...

I liked the first sentence, actually.

Anna can kill people without even trying.

It sets off all sorts of questions in my mind that would make me read further if this was the first page of a book.

While reading the query, I thought that this story took place in midieval China. If it's on a Dune-like planet, you'd better mention that.

Good luck!

Beth said...

I liked the first sentence, actually.

Anna can kill people without even trying.


I did, too, though it reminded me of Firefly, where River tells Jayne, "I can kill you with my brain."

One of the best lines in the entire series.

ello said...

Even though EE didn't like it, I really liked the opening sentence on this query letter. I agree with EE's assessment of what is missing - there are definitely a lot of questions - but I do have to say that I would be really interested in reading this book.

It's kind of a catch-22, you need to write a short and sweet query letter and still put enough information to hook people. I think you definitely need to explain about the Qiseng and the powers manifesting later and how she needs to learn to control them. I think you need to mention another main character - like her rescuer and trainer.

Anyway, sounded very intriguing.

zerilian said...

I'm skipping the comments so they don't influence me. I think the premise is very compelling. I hope EE's suggestions inspire you (with both cover letter and novel).

My sister is a black belt in Kempo Karate and asked me to design a tiger symbol for the studio. I witnessed the transformation of her control during the years of training. For a while you couldn't surprise her without a reaction. Now, it's total control and awe inspiring skill. Could be one reason why I connected.

zerilian said...

Just read the comments - WOW author. You created quite the stir. Now that must feel amazing. Congrats and good luck.

Z

Author said...

Dear Agent,

I found your name on (website). Since you are also listed on
(website) as an agent who is actively representing science fiction,
and since you represent (author), I believe you might be interested in
reading my completed novel. WRESTLING THE TIGER is the story of a
girl named Anna, who discovers one day that she can kill
people...without even trying.

An illiterate escaped slave, Anna knows nothing about the Qiseng
besides whispers of their mysterious powers. She has no idea that the
"gift" of the Qiseng is lurking within her, ready to explode to the
surface now that she is old enough to become a woman.

Eventually her owner tracks her down and threatens to enslave her once
more. Suddenly her fear and anger, so futile before, now manifest in
unseen physical forces that destroy everyone around her: her captors,
several innocent bystanders, and even her best friend Peter.

By a fortunate coincidence, a pair of Qiseng warriors are passing
through and they intervene before she can destroy the entire town in
her madness. Their training and their control of the Qiseng gift
allow them to defend against her wild and invisible attacks, and they
are able to immobilize her, rescue her from the angry crowd of
survivors, and take her away.

At the Qiseng monastery Anna must learn, quickly, how to control the
emotions that create the raging power within her. Unfortunately for
her, control does not come easily. As she is caught up in ancient
traditions she doesn't understand, Anna soon discovers that the
cruelly strict discipline of the Qiseng may be a more terrible form of
slavery than that which she had escaped.

WRESTLING THE TIGER is a martial-arts science fiction novel of
approximately 85,000 words. The story is strongly character-driven,
and it explores through a combination of martial-arts action and
introspective character development the personal, spiritual, and
societal implications of deadly power linked to strong emotions.

This is my first novel. I have been published online in the
Jackhammer e-zine, and while I was pursuing my degree in English I
wrote a regular column for my college's underground magazine. I am a
martial artist and an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve.

I look forward to providing a full copy of the manuscript for your
review, on paper or in any electronic form you prefer, at your
request. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Regards,