Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Guess the Plot
Aleth and the Serpent
1. When a fire-breathing serpent burns the town's crops, the people choose Aleth to go kill the creature. They figure she's a 10-year-old orphan, so no one will miss her if she fails. But she succeeds! She returns from her quest with the serpent's heart. But before she can show the townspeople, her guardian eats the heart, with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
2. In the eighth century, the French town Aleth is troubled by a scourge of poisonous snakes. Believing the snakes have a supernatural origin, the townspeople beg their Bishop to save them. But a Deacon discovers that the Bishop has become enslaved to a sorcerer known as . . . The Serpent.
3. Young Alice, mockingly dubbed "Aleth" by her classmates because of a debilitating lisp, is drawn into a parallel universe that is no Wonderland. When forced to battle a beast that uses only the letter "s", Alice learns to pronounce her sibilants. And much more.
4. Same old serpent, different maiden. And this one wields the dreaded Spoon of Andor, with which she plans to blend Chaos, Anarchy and Evil into a big gooey mass of total control of reality, thus upsetting the comfortable status quo of Good vs. Evil. Can the snake stop her plotting before it's too late?
5. Aleth can't wait for her birthday: she's going to be sacrificed to Quaa-Tua, the Serpent God. Instead, she's rescued at the last minute by meddling Elves. What will happen to her homeland if Quaa-Tua doesn't get his way?
6. They say you can get anything you want at Aleth's Rethtaurant. But when Lomar orders Serpent Tartare, he's met with a blank stare. Can Aleth prevent him from destroying the place with his broadsword by offering him today's special: Komodo Dragon skewers?
I’d be honoured if you’d consider representing Aleth and the Serpent, a 20,000-word fantasy for 7-11-year-olds.
Orphaned Aleth is best friends with Werner, a cheerful 13-year-old. Both are reptile enthusiasts and until Werner starts treating her like a little girl they seem to have everything in common. On Aleth’s tenth birthday they quarrel, and Aleth, trying to prove she’s grown-up enough to be Werner’s friend, set off on her traditional eleventh-year quest alone. [I see we've switched to past tense. Switch back immediately.] Based on a hint from her guardian, Aleth quests for the King of Reptiles, who turns out to be the beautiful but wicked Six-Legged Serpent. [My admittedly abridged sources suggest that serpents have zero legs. Apparently it's true what they say: In the country of the limbless, the six-legged serpent is king.] Aleth foolishly enrages the Serpent (or Dragon) [or giant cockroach] who then burns the Town’s crops.
Hannadrasp, Aleth’s guardian and First Lady of the Town, decrees that whoever stirred up the beast must retrieve his heart, a cluster of living gems, in which is stored the virtue of everything the Serpent has ever stolen.
[Hannadrasp: Someone must acquire the heart of the King of Reptiles. I suggest Aleth.
Aleth: Thanks a lot, Mom.
Hannadrasp: Hey, I'm just your guardian.]
When it is planted in the ground, all will be restored. Through cowardice, the Town agrees and sends Aleth to do the dangerous deed while the Serpent sleeps. But Werner, regretting the quarrel that separated him from Aleth at the vital moment, goes with her. Together Aleth and Werner accomplish the task. Aleth's presence of mind and growing independence prompt her to save the Serpent's life by feeding him a bit of the Heart. All that is good in the Serpent survives, and he is transformed into a tiny Salamandral.
Just when the story seems to have resolved, however, [it is discovered that it's all been back-story and the real plot begins to unfold.] Werner begins to wonder how the disaster really came about in the first place. Hanndrasp [a.k.a. Hannadrasp], Aleth’s guardian, is revealed as the true villain of the story. First, Aleth finds out that Hanndadrasp [That's the third time you've mentioned this character and the third different way you've spelled her name. Maybe you should call her Ann.] actually lured the Serpent to the Town then suggested the Quest to Aleth, hoping to get the Serpent’s Heart or Aleth’s property or both. Second, Hannadrasp keeps the Serpent's Heart for herself.
However, Hannadrasp’s greed brings about her own downfall as she, misunderstanding the uses of the Serpent's Heart, tries to eat it and shrinks away almost to nothing. With his greater knowledge, the Salamandral is able to help Aleth set things right once and for all and they restore the fortunes not only of her own Town but of many others as well. [Just when the story seems to have really resolved, however . . . ]
We don't need this much plot. Maybe you should cut it off at the point where the story seems to be resolved and just hint that there's more to come. '
How come "Heart" is capitalized every time it's used except the first time? I note that "Six-Legged" is also capitalized (not to mention "town" and "quest"). Are all the Serpent's body parts capitalized? Is the Heart the Serpent's actual heart? Because you'd have to be a pretty heavy sleeper if a kid were able to remove your heart without waking you.
If the serpent is a dragon, why not call it a dragon? It's a more familiar word to seven-year-olds.
What does Hannadrasp think will happen when she eats the cluster of gems?
Cowards or not, I don't see a town sending a kid to take on dragon. What's with this "decree"?
Townperson 1: We need to get the dragon's heart.
Townperson 2: Why?
Townperson 1: I don't know. Handclasp decreed it.
Townperson 2: Sounds incredibly dangerous.
Townperson 1: Not to us. We're sending a 10-year-old girl to get it.
Townperson 2: Why?
Townperson 1: I don't know. Handicraft decreed it.
Townperson 2: Thank God we have someone to think for us.