Saturday, August 18, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. After a week at a retreat, Stephanie returns to work and proclaims her body is her vessel. Brad, the mailroom supervisor, thinks he has just the thing to fill it. Embarrassment and hilarity ensue when their co-workers notice the stationery closet door is ajar.
2. A twelve-year-old girl must find her missing . . . Staff of Earth! Without it she cannot focus the power of . . . the Vessel! And will never defeat . . . the Adversary!
3. When Kathleen's grandfather presents her with a small ship in a bottle, she thinks little of the gesture. But that's before the vessel wrecks itself against the bottle's glass walls and she finds herself witnessing a series of drownings.
4. A crack team of microsurgeons prepare for a tough case: a man who has 100% blockage of every vein and artery in this body. They shrink themselves down to 1/2 mm to enter The Vessel, their cleverly named surgical icebreaker-like ship used to enter a patient invasively and clear out french fry-clogged blood vessels.
5. When Jake Pidgett, junior caterer in the Titanic's vast kitchens is confronted with a gash in the side of the ship, Jake heroically sets to work with eggs, sugar and the ship's mighty ovens, aiming to seal the gap with a series of souffles. Unfortunately, jealous sous-chef Pierre Le Clerq has other plans . . .
6. Archeologist Dante Stevens unearths a strange green gold vessel from the ruins of a Nazi stronghold, only to have his life disrupted by a steady stream of visiting demons. Should he seek shelter at a nearby convent, or let the demons have . . . the Vessel?
Dear Evil Editor,
Twelve-year-old Ryder has a problem. She must learn to use the powers of THE VESSEL, the only person with the power to use all Five Powers of ‘magic’: Earth, Fire, Air, Water, and Spirit. [You're modifying "the vessel" with "the only person"; you should be mofifying "Ryder" or "she."] Her predecessor has been killed by servants of the Adversary, [an] evil creature locked in a metaphysical and real sense at the center of the Earth. [If the master you serve is locked at the center of the Earth, and you're still doing his bidding, it's time to sign up for assertiveness training.]
Over the course of a year, she deals with new ‘friends’ who pop out of nowhere to inform her of her duty. They then teach her what she must know. Our young heroine is betrayed and attacked by someone she trusts. Her journey is filled with tragedy and triumph as she learns what it means to save and sometimes loose [lose] the people she cares about. [Too vague. Who pops out of nowhere? What's her duty? What must she know, and why? Who betrays her? Who are the people she cares about? Why be vague when you can be specific?] Ryder uses her talents to play tricks on a mean teacher in one chapter and then fight off monsters in another.
In the end, she’s faced with one goal: recover her Staff of Earth. This weapon focuses the Vessel’s power and is specifically created for her. If she doesn’t recover it by the end of summer, it is lost until the next Vessel comes around. [Which is when? When she dies? Why can't she find the staff in autumn? Has she ever focused the Vessel's power? How did the Staff get lost? Is she in danger?]
I am the host of an online writing-critique group and have experience as an editor. At 85,000 words, THE VESSEL is about change, hope, faith, and friendship. May I send part or all of the manuscript?
Thank you for your time and consideration,
[Title: The power of The Vessel empties out when she dies. So, the power pours from person to person, as if from vessel to vessel.]
The first paragraph sets up the situation, but what's the main plot? Ryder goes on a journey to find her staff and encounters monsters, yet stays close enough to home to play tricks on a teacher? The bad guy is locked at the center of the Earth, so what's the danger? Is the Adversary able to get free? What happens if he does? Ryder's one goal is to find the Staff of Earth, and if she doesn't, it's lost until the next vessel comes around? Not scary enough. Tell us what happens if the staff remains lost until the next vessel comes around. I'm not getting any sense of urgency.
It's not clear how this is about change, hope, faith, and friendship.
What is the vessel? Is it the person with the power? The power poured from Ryder's predecessor into her, making her the new vessel? It's not clear. The explanation, which isn't part of the query, helps a little, but it's not clear either. Does the power ever pour out of Ryder and into someone else? Do the other characters refer to Ryder as the vessel?
What age group is this story intended for? That should be in here somewhere.