Friday, December 01, 2006

Face-Lift 237


Guess the Plot

Broken Wing

1. A starling fractures a wing after crashing into a three-volume directory of overused metaphors.

2. Born with a withered and deformed left arm, his Hopi family named him Broken Wing. Broken Wing embarks on the shaman's journey, and discovers an ancient prophecy in the ancestral cave that suggests he might be the savior of the Seven Tribes.

3. In spite of his wooden leg, Handand Glover is determined to be a better tapdancer than his brother. Can his signature move, the Broken Wing, replace the old buck and wing?

4. The Winged Victory of Samothrace has once again been vandalized. Can religious symbology expert Dr. Robert Longwun stop the insanity before the vandal takes a crack at all the Rolls Royce radiators?

5. Stunt pilot and suffragette Fanny Blossom borrowed Colonel P. T. Bogey's bi-plane for the Village Air Show while he was on a trekking vacation in the Highlands. Now the plane and the girl are missing. Can perky spinster Amelia Pettipants find them before Colonel Bogey's march ends?

6. Raised in a brothel, Gabriel is fluent in sex, but knows nothing of love. When he takes a young boy under his wing, who will teach whom what?


Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

I would like to submit my manuscript Broken Wing for your consideration.

Broken Wing is a single title 100,000 word mainstream historical, with strong romantic and sensual elements. Gritty and edgy in tone, it deals with serious, at times intense psychological themes involving the developing relationship between a man who has suffered from childhood abuse and battlefield trauma, and the woman who loves him. It may appeal to readers of adventure, historical fiction, and romance readers who enjoy the kind of stories told by Laura Kinsale, Anne Stuart, Laura Leone, and Mary Jo Putney.

Gabriel St Croix was abandoned as a child and raised in a brothel. [Why don't things like that ever happen to Evil Editor? I was raised in a swamp by two gay otters.] Having never known tenderness, friendship, or affection, he is fluent in sex, but knows nothing of love. [A house full of women, and none of them gives the kid any affection or friendship? I don't think so. I have enough experience to know that most prostitutes have hearts of gold . . . experience I gained watching movies, that is.] His only relationship is with a young boy [Uh oh.] he’s spent the last five years protecting. [Not crazy about declaring Gabriel fluent in sex, and then saying his only relationship is with a young boy.] All that is about to change, the boy’s family have found him and are coming to take him home. [When did they find him, and why didn't they take him home then?] Sarah Munroe blames herself for her brother’s disappearance. When he is found, safe and unharmed, she vows to help the man that rescued and protected him in anyway [any way]she can. Sarah helps Gabriel face his demons, and teaches him to trust in friendship and in love, [While he teaches her to be fluent in sex.] but when the past catches up with him, he must face it on his own. [Explain.]

In a story of love and hate, healing and redemption, Gabriel will become a mercenary, a pirate, and a professional gambler[, a pawn, and a king]. He will travel to London, France, and the Barbary Coast, to find Sarah again, and all he knows of love. On the way, he will discover that the most dangerous journey, and the greatest gamble of all, is within the darkest reaches of his own heart.

I am a member of the RWA and the RWAC, a history buff, and hold a graduate degree in psychology. I am including the manuscript and synopsis as per your submission guidelines. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely


Revised Version

I would like to submit my manuscript Broken Wing for your consideration.

Broken Wing is a single-title 100,000-word mainstream historical, involving the developing relationship between a man who has suffered from childhood abuse and battlefield trauma, and the woman who loves him. It should appeal to readers of adventure, historical fiction, and romance.

Abandoned as a child and raised in a brothel, Gabriel St. Croix has never known friendship or affection or love. His only relationship is with a lost young boy he’s taken under his wing. All that is about to change, however; the boy’s family have learned where he is, and are coming to take him home.

Sarah Munroe blames herself for her brother’s disappearance. When he is found, safe and unharmed, she determines to help the man who protected him. Sarah does help Gabriel to face his demons; but can she also teach him to trust in her friendship and in love? In a story of healing and redemption, Gabriel will take his most dangerous journey within the darkest reaches of his own heart.

I am a member of the RWA and the RWAC, a history buff, and hold a graduate degree in psychology. I am including the manuscript and synopsis as per your submission guidelines. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,


Notes

There should be something in there about Gabriel's age. Is he nineteen? Forty?

Also, a historical novel's setting and time period would seem to be worth mentioning. We know three places Gabriel travels to, but not where he starts out. We know he suffers from battlefield trauma, but was that from the Napoleonic Wars? The Civil War?

Does the young boy have a name?

In short, more specificity please. Using the revised verson, but naming the boy, saying he was raised in a New Orleans brothel, mentioning some war to give a time period will improve it without adding much length.

14 comments:

December Quinn said...

I was getting ready to comment on the lack of definite time period here. I'd also like a little more on the Gabriel/Sara (was that her name?) relationship, since you're mentioning romantic elements and sensuality--Gabriel sounds pretty sexy, I want to know more!

And can I use "fluent in sex" as a tagline for my work? Because it rocks. :-)

December Quinn said...

I've changed my mind. I don't just want "Fluent in sex" as a tagline. I want it on a t-shirt.

Dave said...

I'm with EE, if this is historical fiction -- what's the period and how do the protagonists fit into history. How does history enrich the characters? Traveling to London, France, and the Barbary Coast - offer more history than just being raised in a brothel and might make a richer story...

As for that house-of-ill repute aspect, perhaps that isn't the aspect of the story you should focus on. . . I remember (through an alcoholio haze) singing drinking songs in college. It was a childish prank to take over the girls bathroom and sing dirty stag party songs. To the tune of "Beautiful Dreamer" we sang "Born in a whore house, raised like a slave, drinking and f***ing are all that I crave..."
Kinda the childish part of growing up in college.

Was that too subtle?

Anonymous said...

Wow, Dave, you are one guy that likes living on the edge, no? Taking over the girls bathroom and whatnot. I wanna party with you, cowboy.

I found the query intriguing, though a bit vague. EE's suggestions tightened it right up. I'd read a few pages.

Dave said...

yanno, yanno, yanno, yanno...
This is keeping me awake:

There are six guess the plots. Five of them have something to do with wings or flight.

Why is this book called "Broken Wing" when the query letter makes no mention of that?

Anonymous said...

I cannot tell you how many times I've found myself to have been raised in a New Orleans brothel.

Very uplifting, but I never did get any broth.

:(

retterson said...

I may not have had enough coffee yet this morning, but it wasn't immediately clear to me that Sarah is the sister of the lost boy. Because it wasn't clear, I formed an impression that Sarah was Gabriel's sister -- then I had to think, "no, that can't be right" and go back and figure it out.

I know that a query letter ought to be short and sweet, but I don't think it ought to require a great deal of under-caffeinated synaptic responses to figure out.

Rhona said...

I would totally read this book. It appears to have a sound plot, interesting conflict and emotional characters.

illiterate said...

Hmmm. Dave, I might be wrong here, but I think "broken wing" is not meant literally. I recall someone telling me about a child "born with a broken wing". The child had Down syndrome. As in this book, the author probably meant Gabriel's emotional trauma.

Author, there is a book with the same tittle, just so you know.

On an unrelated note, somehow this sounds like Oliver Twist. Yeah, I must be loosing it.

shelby said...

Sorry, but even the revised "his only relationship is with a young boy" sounds like pedophilia to me, despite the fact that you mention a woman who loves him in the first paragraph. I would still rearrange and rephrase to make it clear that the relationship between Gabriel and the boy is non-sexual.

nut said...

The protagonist's name bugs me. Can't tell you why.

Illiterate: stop being a nag.

Gerri said...

I want to read number 2!

Anonymous said...

"Not crazy about declaring Gabriel fluent in sex, and then saying his only relationship is with a young boy."

Ditto, EE. -JTC

Anonymous said...

The plot sounds very interesting, but your title is one of the older cliches out there. Please consider changing it.