Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Guess the Plot
1. Vicar Smith's sermon goes completely awry when he advises the parish to love their neighbor. Who knew an orgy would follow?
2. Which is better: killing a murder victim before the slasher does, or letting nature take its course? For Bricely Adams, it's no philosophical question. As a daughter of the Angel of Death, she can kill someone just before their murderer does. But how will she keep her father happy?
3. John Swishem came out of law school vowing to defend the poor. When he realizes that it's more profitable to defend the rich, he must strike a balance between greed and ethics, before his sister, Sister Cecilia, destroys his soul with guilt. With help from his first client, Tony "The Tuna" Pescatore, John learns that morals don't have to be clear and precise, and sometimes valuable electronics really do fall off of trucks.
4. Nodammo Ebonlocke is a morally ambiguous character, and this doesn't sit well with the Conglomerate of Cliched Fantasy Characters, who are out to "normalize" all fantasy worlds and characters. Can Nodammo maintain her individuality? Or will she be killed by vegan elves?
5. Thaddeus Dought wondered if he should run for Congress. He was qualified. He'd just snagged a commissioner's seat in the fifth largest county in the state. He was halfway to a college degree. The only problem was the morality issue; giving up his street drug business would seriously compromise his income.
6. Really, Julie Hatrack is a nice girl. But the rest of the small town of Houghman, AZ thinks the schoolmarm is a loose woman after she saves a stranger with a new-fangled rescue maneuver she's read about. Hilarity ensues as she tries to teach mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the doctor, the judge and the local sheriff.
Dear Great and Mighty Evil Editor,
[Personalisation? Maybe. Might work better if I started out quick.]
Nodammo Ebonlocke's business card has "Morally Ambiguous Sorceress" on it in big gold letters, but that doesn't stop heroes from Quest(TM) trying to take away her breathing priviliges.
While Nodammo would like to stay alive, the conglomerate of cliches and poorly-drawn characters [If this is an actual organization, capitalize the words beginning with CCPC; if it isn't, "conglomerate" is a strange word to use for a non-organization.] doesn't agree, especially with regards to those who refuse to be "normalised". [That last phrase doesn't match the rest of the sentence; maybe it should be: especially as she refuses to be "normalised".] After she's offed one hero too many and [been] marked as a "deviant plot thread", Quest(TM) gets fed up and sends a level seven point three five five demolition crew of vegan elves, lewd barbarians and feisty princesses in the direction of Nodammo's amusement park-cum-tower, intending to turn the Ebonlocke family home into a pile of rubble. After all, everyone knows that the evil fortress collapses after the villian's death; the reverse should be just as effective.
Enlisting the help of the locals and a tea elemental, Nodammo escapes with her two employees, Agnurlin the skeletal butler and Victor the black dragon. Wise man say: "One does not annoy the morally ambiguous", and making heroes spill scalding caffeinated bevrages on themselves is just the beginning. Homeless and pursued by heroes, Nodammo travels across Fantasyland, rallying the disenfranchised, disaffected and dissatisfied among Fantasyland's inhabitants against Quest(TM).
However, something much more sinister is afoot. Witnessing the effects of "normalisation", Nodammo sees whole kingdoms turned into bad renditions of overdone sword-and-sorcery settings--their cultures dismantled, peoples' individuality [People's. I'm not sure peoples have much individuality.] broken in favour of monolithic "racial alignments", and whole populations established with the sole purpose of serving "plots", "protagonists" and "issues".
Armed with the power of well-brewed tea, Victor's business acumen and Agnurlin's knowledge of the mysterious workings of butler-space, Nodammo has to discover the dark truth about Quest(TM) and its president, the mysterious Mr. Smiley--before "deviants" like her all have their breathing priviliges revoked.
At X words, [First of all, that's awfully short for a novel, and secondly, why are you using Roman numerals?] Morally Ambiguous is a lighthearted fantasy in the vein of Robert Asprin's Myth series and an enjoyable read by both newcomers and veterans of the genre.
Thank you for your consideration.
Wise man say: Typos don't help your cause. Your spelling: priviliges (twice), bevrages, villian's.
I'm not crazy about mentioning breathing privileges twice.
I also find (TM) annoying.
There seem to be some good ideas here. Quest is ruining fantasy worlds by normalizing the characters--making them all cliches. Nodammo is out to stop them and discover their diabolical motives. However, I think the query goes way overboard. In attempting to be creative, you're making it hard to grasp the plot. Some suggestions:
Make it the Conglomerate of Cliched Characters. Cliches alone wouldn't be members of a conglomerate.
Make it "with the sole purpose of serving "plots." Lists are boring, and you have two in the same sentence.
Delete "level seven point three five five." We don't know what it means, and it sounds like a gaming term, which is the last thing you want.
Delete: After all, everyone knows that the evil fortress collapses after the villian's death; the reverse should be just as effective.
Delete: Wise man say: "One does not annoy the morally ambiguous", and making heroes spill scalding caffeinated bevrages on themselves is just the beginning. Voice is fine, but apply it to major plot points; spilled coffee isn't one.
Delete: peoples' individuality broken in favour of monolithic "racial alignment." This shortens or eliminates a list, and the phrase is vague and boring.
In short, reading a query shouldn't be work. Keep it simple and keep it interesting.