Friday, October 13, 2006
Guess the Plot
1. When a mysterious organization destroys the library's oldest books, their magical power is released in the form of dragons. Now, only two resourceful library assistants can prevent the destruction of the town.
2. Brothers Jimmie and Joey DiMarco's exterminating business takes a turn for the worse when Jimmie decides to re-paint the truck. Now they're cruising the city streets looking to zap Bookwyrms, Slivverfish and Cockreaches.
3. The inaugural night of the Bonnington Readers Circle turns bitter and bloody when they realize they have seventeen different editions of Jane Eyre but not a dictionary among them.
4. The SF/F genre is under attack by escapees from an unpublished 600-page ms., and only mild-mannered annelid specialist and Robert Jordan fanatic Sherman Splink can save the day.
5. Ellenore thought the old book she found in the attic wasn't good for anything but propping up her wobbly table. But when she tore out some pages to make it fit, she freed a dozen dragons, and now she must find a way to contain them--or risk losing her damage deposit.
6. A young wyzyrd is thwarted in hys studyes when every magyckal tome in the lybrary is dyvoured by a plague of fyre-breathing parisytes.
Magic is back, and man, is it ticked!
Library assistant Lynne Shorter doesn't expect anyone at her small university to succeed in harnessing magic. [Something more like, "No one could have predicted that someone at tiny XYZ University would be the first to harness magic," would be a better start. Who would care about a library assistant's opinion on this subject?] [It's like saying, Chicago plumber Joe "Ball-cock" Jacobi never expected anyone from Illinois to discover a huge fissure in the surface of Uranus.] Twelve years ago magic rolled back into our mundane world, [What caused this?] and so far no one has discovered how to exploit this new and dangerous resource. Lynne finds enough challenge in repairing magically-endowed books [Explain.] and enough amusement watching the new faculties of magical studies squabble for funding. When she's saddled with training Ken Hautala, a sullen darkmage-wannabe, it's just another bump on her road to retirement. [I wouldn't think of a library assistant as being on the road to retirement. Either she's young, and on the road to something better, or she's old and took the job to get off the road to retirement.] [What is Lynne training Ken in? Darkmageness, or library assistantship? I assume the latter, but it isn't clear.]
But Ken discovers that a mysterious organisation--conspiring with the university's ambitious president--plans to destroy the library's oldest books and harvest the released power. [In order to . . . ?] Lynne and Ken become reluctant allies [Why are they reluctant to be allies?] in a campus crusade to save the books. The organisation's scheme goes badly wrong, and the freed magic manifests as dragons. [Apparently the crusade to save the books didn't go so well?] Annoyed dragons. [You know your story is either predictable or nuts when it's the same as one of the fake Guess the Plots.] Can two library assistants save their town from the dragons--and save the dragons from the bureaucrats? [I would expect the dragons to need saving from hunters or the military; bureaucrats are easily disposed of with standard fire-breathing.]
BOOKWYRMS is a 75,000 word modern fantasy. SASE is included. Thank you for your time and consideration.
If magic rolled in twelve years ago and no one knows how to use it, how is it manifested? Are dragons, talking mailboxes and flying broomsticks now commonplace? Is David Copperfield now waiting tables? Tell us what's different since magic got here so we have a sense of why it's dangerous. And why it's considered a resource despite being dangerous.
The first sentence implies that someone at the university succeeds in harnessing magic. Who? Lynne and Ken? The Organization? Ken discovered the plot, but it's not clear why Ken and Lynne are the only ones who can stop the dragons from destroying the town. Isn't this a job for the Head Librarian?
It sounds like a kids' book. Which isn't a bad thing, but if it's for adults, you don't want to give the wrong impression.
I won't go so far as to say the sentences could all be rearranged without changing the meaning, but there needs to be better transition between them. Right now it sounds like a list of mildly related plot points. Answering a few of my questions would help solve this problem.