Sunday, December 03, 2006
Guess the Plot
Oak and Stone
1. The Vicar's wife's interpretation of doughty spinster Amelia Pettipants' cake recipe stresses natural ingredients. But will the plucky sleuth be blamed for gastric distress or will she explain her cake is supposed to be heavy?
2. When you're busy fighting crime in Boring-on-End, you don't have time to perfect your baking. But Miss Amelia Pettipants is bound and determined to find out who is calling her "oaten scones" by a different name.
3. In this Socratic dialogue between an oak tree and a large rock, the main characters discuss the nature of man and his effects on the environment.
4. Noah and his brother Hirschel can never agree on anything -- not a good thing when the boatbuilders are in financial straits. One ark of oak, the other of stone, and control of the family business is riding on the flotation test.
5. Hot times are had by all when Lord Dinford starts working with Dame Katherine to update Lingus Castle -- until they remove a cracked wall, revealing the secret passage to the hidden chamber where the vampire dwells.
6. Spared from a massacre, a young man travels the world inspiring people to throw off the shackles of oppression and fight for freedom. Also, a mysterious archer.
Dear Evil Editor
I read on your website that your company represents authors in the fantasy genre, and I thought my book might appeal to you. I am seeking representation for my completed novel, "Oak and Stone", a 186,000-word fantasy adventure [in which an elf and a fairy play "Oak and Stone," a simplified version of Rock, Paper, Scissors, in which stone beats oak.] [How can a game of Oak and Stone last 186,000 pages? Easy. The elf and the fairy both keep going with stone.
Excerpt from Chapter 94
Kookah the elf decided to try a different strategy. "Look, he said, we've had three thousand consecutive ties with stone. Just for a little variety, how about we both go with oak?"
"Why not?" Hex Gobfilter agreed. "My hand is tired of making stones."
Kookah called, "One, two, three, go," and they both threw . . . stone.
Excerpt from Chapter 402
After 20,000 ties Kookah had finally grown tired of the game. Screw this, he thought, I'll throw oak, just to get it over with. Then I can go find that cute smurf I met at the lawn dart game.
"One, two, three, go!" he said, and formed the oak. But the fairy, Hex Gobfilter, had had the same idea, and they tied again. They laughed uncontrollably for several minutes. Then they resumed the game, both choosing stone 2000 times in a row.]
Tam's untroubled life with the merchant caravans ends in a bloody glen when invading warriors massacre his company. [I hate to tell you this, but you're one sentence into your plot and I already find myself wanting to get back to Kookah and Hex Gobfilter.]
[Excerpt from Chapter 541
"I think I see the problem," Kookah said. "We need something that beats stone."
"How about oak?" Hex Gobfilter suggested.
"Perfect," Kookah said, after which they both threw oak 3000 times.]
Saved from the slaughter by a mysterious archer, Tam travels a besieged land, clinging to hope he'll find some peace or refuge. But instead, he collides with the brutal [eunuchs of the Gohr prison planet Lycus IV, and must contend with the] realities of the conquerors' unjust rule. [Did you see how much more compelling that sentence became when I added a few pieces of specific information?] Thus follows the tale of a seemingly ordinary young man who inspires ordinary people to rise together in a desperate fight for freedom. In so doing, he stirs forgotten powers rooted in his kinship to the centuries-dead High Kings: powers linked to the very land he walks. In the final confrontation with their oppressors, king and country hang in the balance as Tam faces the price of his legacy: an ancient duty to defend his people at all costs - for a victory he may not live to see. [Those last three sentences are pretty general. I have to guess what they mean.] [Is the "ancient duty" his legacy, or the price of his legacy?]
I have been writing for over ten years, but this is my first novel for publication. [Actually, judging by its length, I'd say it's your first two or three novels for publication.] I am well along with a second, unrelated fantasy novel, as well as pursuing shorter projects. Previously I have had non-fiction articles published in genealogical newsletters, and two short stories and a handful of poems in small publications. [Your credits are no more specific than your plot summary.] I am a horsewoman, [AKA a female centaur.] border collie trainer, and self-taught longbow archer residing in rural northern Nevada. [Aren't all longbow archers self-taught? Or are there people who make their living teaching longbow archery? That's it, now pull back the arrow and . . . Release!]
Would you like to see "Oak and Stone"? Per your website instructions, I am enclosing a synopsis for your perusal, and I have included an SASE for your convenience. This is a multiple submission, but I will of course give you exclusive reading should you request further material. Thank you for the opportunity to submit my work to you. I look forward to your response. [Get rid of two or three of these sentences. The query is over; no need to prolong it ad nauseum.]
Shortening the last two paragraphs would add space to make the plot more specific. Where does this take place? When? Who are the oppressors? How do the good guys plan to defeat them? Is the archer Tam's partner throughout, or does he vanish after saving him?