Monday, September 07, 2009

Face-Lift 671


Guess the Plot

Those Who Favour Fire

1. When dancer Bob Jeffreys meets Babs, he falls madly in love. Literally. So when she decides the musician next door is actually much more suave and debonair, Bob starts burning things, expressing his anguish through performance art. That's how he meets his firebug girlfriend, Persephone. Hilarity ensues.

2. Primitive humans are divided into those who favour fire, and those scared of this powerful, glow-in-the-dark discovery. As Gurk convinces newcomer Brika that fire means warmth, defense, and less vomiting after meals of raw meat, Rrrrts, the jealous head of the rival clan polishes his club...

3. Violet the werewolf is having a bad day. Her brother has taken her best friend hostage, her sister's dead, ghosts are planning to slaughter her pack, and worst of all . . . hell, I don't even wanna talk about the fire.

4. Superhero Iceman single-handedly saves the world from global warming, but in so doing begins a new ice age. Can Pyro undo his mistake without turning the earth into a crispy wasteland?

5. Three charred bodies turn up at the city morgue with stakes through their hearts. But, if the bodies really were vampires spontaneously combusting, there should only be ash remaining. Homicide detective Zack Martinez is on the case . . . as soon as he returns from his second honeymoon in Transylvania.

6. When Urg and Moggo try toasting their wildebeest over flames, the rest of the clan flee in terror, only to be promptly eaten by leopards. And so it goes, time and again: Urg and Moggo survive uncannily while their fire-fearing relatives perish. What can it mean? Erk wonders. Plus, a glacier.


Original Version

The only thing worse than finding a body outside the front door are the people who left it there. [The subject of the sentence is "thing." Singular. The verb is "are." Plural. Not a good way to get things started.] [You're contrasting an action (finding a body) with a thing (people). It's like saying The only thing worse than mowing the lawn is Brussels sprouts. Better to say The only thing worse than mowing the lawn is eating Brussels sprouts. Now you have symmetry, congruity, harmony, Peace on Earth.] [Also, I can think of many other things that are worse than finding a dead body outside the front door. Being a dead body outside the front door, for starters. Or a paper cut.] The warning is clear: the revenants have found Violet’s Pack again. They have to run or be slaughtered. Unlike a decade ago, there will be no survivors. [If the revenants want to slaughter Violet's Pack, leaving no survivors, why provide a warning? Why not swoop in and slaughter them before they have a chance to run?]

Violet’s budding friendship with Ava, the dead man’s sister, is already complicated by Ava’s crush on her. But lying about being a werewolf is nothing compared to lying about burying Ava’s brother in an unmarked grave. [Ah, I see we've learned our symmetry lesson. Lesson 2: when contrasting two actions, try to provide the reader with some idea, however infinitesimal, of what in God's name you're talking about.]

When her father gives himself over to the revenants to buy time, Violet’s ready to do anything to get him back. [Why don't the revenants slaughter him?] Her own bargain with the revenants ends with her sister's death and her brother Nick revealing his true allegiances. [Which are...?] Then Nick presents his own hostage: Ava. [And now, folks, I'd like to present . . . Ava! She's my hostage.] [Make it clear why Nick has a hostage.] Violet refuses to choose between the human who now knows the truth about her and the family she’s sworn to protect. She’s determined to save both--even if it means turning against those closest to her. [Who are those closest to her?]

THOSE WHO FAVOUR FIRE is a 60,000-word young adult urban fantasy. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards,


Notes

If this is YA we need to know Violet's age.

How can Violet bargain with those who would slaughter her Pack, leaving no survivors? Can she trust the revenants to keep their side of the bargain?

In paragraph 1 it says They have to run or be slaughtered. Do they run? If not, do they get slaughtered?

But lying about being a werewolf is nothing compared to lying about burying Ava’s brother in an unmarked grave.
Can you interpret this for us? Ava's brother is the dead guy who was left outside Violet's door. Who lied about burying him in an unmarked grave? Why is this worse than lying about being a werewolf?

This may be clear to you, but it's not clear to us. Pretty much none of it is clear. Start over. Just tell us what happens. Who does what, and why? Why are the revenants out to slaughter the Pack?

Is it even remotely reasonable that a werewolf named Violet would not change her name to Vilayna?

21 comments:

_*Rachel*_ said...

I don't know what Revenants are, partly because I don't read this type of story much. Is that something you need to explain, or is it just me?

Who exactly are the werewolves? Is it only Violet's family, or a larger group? Where do they live? If they're running through the woods, that changes the dynamics of a Violet-Ava friendship.

What are the Weres going to do, run? Why aren't they running? Are they trying to hide where they are or move away with different identities?

I knew it was this GTP, because of the fire sentence. Is it literal fire, figurative fire, or what?

Anonymous said...

The warning comes in the dead of the night when a body is left outside the door: the revenants have found Violet’s pack and unless they can get away they will all be slaughtered by this group.

Violet is a werewolf that becomes involved in a twisted plot of deception, which leaves her with conflicted loyalties between her family and a friend. Her father sacrifices himself to the revenants in order to buy the pack time to plan their escape; a plan that Violet cannot tolerate and vows to circumvent by making her own deal. Violet’s plan fails when her brother Nick betrays her and their sister is killed. He then takes Violet hostage for some unknown reason.

Above are the only relevant facts in your query that I can find -

I’m left to wonder the following:

1. Why does Nick betray his family and kidnap his sister?
2. How does Violet get out of this?
3. How is she conflicted between a new friend and her family? I may be naïve but I would think this should be a no brainer. (and, in my opinion, the least important question. This is a side plot by the sound of it.)

vkw

Evil Editor said...

Nick takes Ava hostage, not Violet.

Anonymous said...

Brief is good, but this seems to assume we already know what you're talking about. But we don't.

~Aimee States said...

I'm totally confused-- this definitely needs an overhaul. Sounds like there might be a decent story in there, though. I do like para YA.

Evil Editor said...

Those new to the term revenant obviously haven't read Face-Lift 254.

Pacatrue's comment on Face-Lift 254 includes a link to revenant info.

Steve Wright said...

I think you need to step back and re-think this - at the moment, it's got a lot of stuff that doesn't make sense unless you know the story (and, since you're the only one who does know the story, that leaves a lot of us mystified.)

What's happening, and who's it happening to, and what do they do about it? You need to establish the outlines of the plot - as things stand, things like Violet's father and brother Nick's allegiances (whatever they might be) come out of nowhere, without explanation. (Obvious question, for instance: what, in your story, is a revenant? If they're the major antagonists, we need to know what they are.)

Anonymous said...

Oops my bad -

Violet's brother Nick thwarts her plan to save her father by kidnapping Ava, who is the dead man's sister and Violet's romantic interest. Violet becomes determined to save Ava and her family even though this means betraying everyone.

Sorry about that -


Still I want to know what Nick's intentions are.

vkw

Anonymous said...

And, we do need to know how the revenants fit into the plot. Revenge seeking spirits is an interesting concept.

vkw

_*Rachel*_ said...

Ah, the days of zombie cows....

According the general population of minions, the undead versus werewolves should be a pretty popular idea.

Anonymous said...

I just read Face lift 254 - I hope the author took EE up on his advice about the zombie cows.

That is just too funny.

On the coattails of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - the novel could become a classic.

vkw

Dave F. said...

What happens to Violet? She is the young adult in the story... Almost every book I read about young adults has a young adult protagonist going through either growing up, dating angst, first love angst or suddenly discovering new powers angst. The rest of the story is window dressing.

Monkey Mama said...

EE is the sexiest grammarian alive. Period. I'm coming back for more...

blogless troll said...

I always thought revenants were those annoying people who move the furniture and shit around on HGTV, but I just read Face Lift 254 and now this query makes much more sense. No, wait. It doesn't. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Each paragraph here could be about a different book, and the books don't seem to be the same genre. That's not working. Making the connections between your subplots and plot twists more clear might be helpful. Alternatively, maybe it would be more clarifying to identify the main plot and its genre and focus the query on that and let readers discover the complications and subplots in the book.

Eric P. said...

Echoing everybody else: this might be interesting if it was comprehensible.

A werewolf named Violet? Do, do let the leader of the renevants be named Daisy, Lord of the Undead.

(Which come to think of it would be the perfect name for a Zombie Cow.)

batgirl said...

vkw - I put zombie cows into the next book (Fluke) but I forget which Face-Lift that was.

_*Rachel*_ said...

Daisy, Lord of the Undead: Revenge of the Zombie Cows. I'm cracking up over here! Oh, goodness.

Will you revise the query for us, author? I'll try not to complain if there aren't any ruminant bovines.

Helen said...

Hi, I'm the author of this query. This has been quite the experience!

The query has gone through many versions and I've realised that I've forgotten how to look at it through the eyes of someone who hasn't seen any of the manuscript. I'm definitely going to keep that in mind. I also think I should keep the main plot--which is to do with the revenants--as the bulk of the query.

(On the subject of her name: the juxtaposition is deliberate. I was conscious of that when I chose it and it's mentioned in the book.)

I will rewrite this query, but I'm going to take a while to make notes from what everyone has said and work on it a bit. Thank you for the comments, they're going to be really helpful. (Unfortunately, undead cows won't be making an appearance.)

_*Rachel*_ said...

Good for you! Send it in when you're done.

When I think of Violet, I think of the Boxcar Children. I read dozens of those when I was in my mystery stage (I was pretty young). I still have the first one. But I don't mind it as her name.

Kathleen said...

definitely submit the revised query! I do think the story sounds very interesting!

good luck