Monday, February 16, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. Sometimes bad things just happen. That seems to be the case for Fate Donnelly ALL THE TIME. So, when the new kid at school claims he's a guardian angel come to keep her safe, Fate just laughs. But, now he seems to be everywhere she is; and wherever he is, things are surprisingly . . . normal.
2. Though Gil Jacobs is fated to die in a car crash, a ghost wants to keep him alive in order to take his soul. Can the soul of one of his friends save Gil 's soul by making sure his body is mangled and crushed in a horrible wreck?
3. Khathakas thought watching over Apollo's children was a lousy job. Now he's been promoted: he has to keep Fate herself from harm. Also, a talking owl.
4. In an effort to dam the flood of doorstopper fantasy novels featuring prophecies and chosen ones, agent Kris Nelson valiantly takes on the mantle of Fate's Guardian, forbidding the use of destiny-based plot devices.
5. The Earl of Wheaton was well known as a wastrel. But when his long-lost schoolmate, dying of fever in Canada, writes to beg that he care for "my little girl," he reluctantly agrees--only to find himself saddled with a green-eyed, bewitching minx named Fate, who seems determined to upset society as thoroughly as the Earl once did.
6. Courtney Wilde is an ordinary prep-school girl--until she inherits the Mantle of Fate. At first it seems like fun: she can set up her favorite teacher with the guy of her dreams, and stuff like that. But when Courtney screws up, things get bad fast. Luckily, the position comes with a Guardian. And he's a hunk!
Dr. Evil Editor,
Gil Jacobs must die in order to save his soul. After living dozens of lives over hundreds of years, the events of Gil's past are catching up with him, and he is powerless to prevent it. [How many dozens of lives? My calculations show that a mere three dozen lives with an average age of 57 at death would have him alive about fifty years before the birth of Christ. In which case you can say thousands of years.]
Gil is supposed to die in a car crash, it's his fate, but a ghost who knew Gil in a past life is trying to keep him alive as payback for a lost love. [He's already removed the spark plugs from Gil's car.] If Gil lives past today, he will not be able to cross over when death eventually claims him, and his soul will be ripe for the taking. [What does that mean? Does the ghost have a soul of its own?] If Gil dies, he will escape to his next life and the ghost's chance at vengeance will be lost. [Why? Can't the ghost seek vengeance on Gil's next incarnation?] [If the ghost can prevent a car wreck, seems like he could also cause one, and would have caused Gil to die last week or last year.]
Fortunately, Gil is not alone in his struggle. The soul of a friend watches over him, and she alone has the capacity to keep the antagonist at bay long enough for Gil to die. [For she is a former mechanic and has a brand new set of spark plugs.] Even if it means sacrificing her own soul.
FATE'S GUARDIAN is complete at 120,000 words. It is a supernatural thriller directed toward a commercial fiction audience, and first in a series titled Destiny's Will.
I have been writing professionally for business for the past eight years, including copywriting, press releases, and proposals. I welcome the opportunity to add "published novelist" to my repertoire. Writing is in my blood and I want my stories to be read. [I hope you won't think I'm a hardass when I say that lines like that never influence me. Well, not in a positive way, anyway.]
I chose to query you after reading your blog and realizing that your style of review should find ample room for comedic commentary in the query above and the synopsis that follows. That, and I have thick skin and I think I can take it. I am also hopeful that I may learn something from this endeavor.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Apparently Gil's soul survived his dozens of previous deaths. So the theory is that even when you die and your soul comes through it fine, you keep coming back and your soul is once again at risk? Seems like after you've lived enough lives there'll be so many vengeance-seeking ghosts who think you wronged them in some past life that your soul won't stand a chance.
How come when Gil dies he comes back in a new life, but his friend who watches over him remains in soul form? Is it better to come back or to just be a soul?
I assume Gil is unaware that he must die to save his soul. Thus the book's conflict seems to be between the two entities who care what happens to Gil. Are they corporeal? Can they communicate with Gil? Shouldn't they be the key characters in the query, with their names and details about their relationships with Gil included?
I guess I'm more bothered by the book's world than by the plot itself. In this world, if you die when fated to die, your soul is saved and you move to a new life where you must again die when fated or lose your soul. Apparently it's not a given that you will die when fated; if it were, Gil's soul friend would see no need to intervene. Does that mean if I'm fated to die in a car wreck when I'm twenty but a snowmobile accident kills me at nineteen I lose my soul?
Possibly the average person doesn't wonder all these things, but just in case, it's probably best to say as little as possible about stuff you don't have room to explain. Basically, tell us that the spirits of two people who knew Gil in past lives are battling, one to save his soul and the other to steal it. Then you might tell us how Gil stole Pierre the Ghost's woman in the French Revolution and how Miranda the Soul grew up with him in medieval Scotland.