Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. A samurai warrior passes through the moongate portal to a futuristic world where he tries to convince a teen-aged girl that she is actually a dragon destined to save mankind from demons.
2. Stennick Bline, the last of the real gonzo journalists, makes a discovery that will rock the world: the moon really is just a cardboard cut-out. But will he live long enough to publish his story?
3. After spending $250 million to create an explosion on the moon, NASA proudly announces that they found nothing other than dust. Well, except for that gate to the secret kingdom of immortality...
4. The President issues a terse denial. The First Lady maintains an icy silence. The FBI finds no evidence of a crime. But the tongues of scandal grow louder. Then Fanny Needler, lonely top-secret analyst, discovers satellite images of buns pressing a Lincoln Bedroom windowpane - and a tattoo she recognizes all too well.
5. Little Timmy forgot to close the moongate, and now the moon is on a collision course with the Earth, all life will soon be destroyed, and Timmy's mom says he's in big trouble when his dad gets home.
6. For years Clive has been telling people about the government's Moon landing conspiracy. Now Clive is dead, and one by one his fellow believers are being slain. Can Detective Carol Hanson find the killer, or will she, too, be eclipsed?
Moongate is a 111,000-world tale [Most fantasy readers can handle two--or even three--worlds, but you've gone way overboard.] full of twists, vengeance, heartache and humor. A thousand years after the apocalypse where the demonic Youkai overthrew mankind, only a few beacons of civilization remain, and Japan is isolated from the rest of the world. A lone samurai crosses the boundary between worlds, [Specifically, between worlds #72,343 and #72,344.] hunting the dragon prophesied to save his beloved Citadel. He is Susanouo, named for a god of war, and he carries with him the sword Kusanagi, the cursed blade which once wiped dragons from the face of the earth. [If the dragon is supposed to save his beloved Citadel, maybe he should hunt it with something less lethal than Kusanagi.]
In a modern world [#106,982] he finds Rei: a dragon, who wears the form of a tactless seventeen-year-old girl and has no idea what she is. It has been foretold that if she saves his city he will die at her hands. Against all odds these two must journey back to the Citadel and convince its ruthless prince to ignite open war with demonkind, [Before that, against all odds, Suze has to convince Rei that she's actually a dragon and that she should accompany him to a land that has no mall.] before the Youkai launch an invasion of their own. [If the Youkai overthrew mankind 1000 years ago and they've been ignoring the Citadel ever since, then what makes Susanouo think they're suddenly gonna launch an invasion? If they cared about the Citadel, they could have destroyed it centuries ago. Did they just recently happen upon Japan?]
Moongate is told from the alternating viewpoints of both its main characters—the grim samurai swordsman and the smart-mouthed girl from the futuristic world. And Susanouo isn't your typical swashbuckling hero. He hides the secret that he's actually a demon who has thrown in his lot with the doomed human race. His quest isn't just the noble cause of saving humanity; it's about getting revenge. And Rei's not your typical mature, attractive girl who's been sucked into a fantasy world. She's blunt and obnoxious, proud and cynical. [She sounds pretty typical to me.] But ultimately she becomes Susanouo's conscience, forcing him to question the ruthless choices he makes.
Moongate would be marketable to high fantasy and urban fantasy readers alike. The novel is similar to fantasy series such as Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy or Naomi Novik's Temeraire Trilogy. In the ordinary-girl-meets-magical-being sense, [If she's actually a dragon, I'd hardly call her an ordinary girl.] it’s similar to the Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire series, or to young adult urban fantasy such as Twilight or A Great and Terrible Beauty. [Tossing out the names of wildly popular novels that don't bear even the slightest resemblance to yours is unlikely to pay off.] The book is also colored with Japanese folklore, and would appeal to manga (Japanese graphic novel) readers. [First you assume I've read these Farseer and Temeraire trilogies, then you assume I don't know what manga is.] [I recommend that if you're querying an agent who insists that you compare your book to published fiction, you choose only one book for comparison.]
The second book, War God, is already in progress, and the third is outlined. I would be happy to send a copy of the manuscript for review; feel free to contact me anytime.
Side note to EE: The title refers to the portal Susanouo uses to travel between worlds. He has named it that because he believes the unique power to world-jump was given to him by the moon god, Tsukiyomi.
If you have a 17-year-old main character and you compare your book to young adult books, we'll wonder why you haven't described your book as young adult.
It seems to me that if Susanouo goes to the future and finds that it isn't ruled by demons, and that mankind is getting along just fine even though he hasn't brought the dragon back yet, that he would figure the prophecy was bull and cancel his mission. Or at least head over to his beloved Citadel to see if it has survived.
Susanouo's quest for revenge seems to be the main motivating factor. Perhaps we should know what's behind it.
If Susanouo is actually a demon, the Citadel isn't actually his "beloved Citadel." Why would a demon care about saving the Citadel? Why can't he seek his revenge without getting the dragon and saving the Citadel?
This seems to take place on Earth, but I'm not clear on the time line. There's the apocalyptic event, then 1000 years later Susanouo sets out on his mission which takes him to a futuristic world. How futuristic? Is it our present time, in which case mankind was overthrown more than a millennium ago? Or is the apocalyptic event in our future, so that the entire book is set in the future?
It wouldn't be easy to convince a modern girl that she's a dragon. What evidence does Susanouo provide? Is he disguised as a samurai when he appears to Rei, or does he change into something more appropriate to her world?
Does the prophecy say that a samurai will die at the hands of the dragon that saves the Citadel? Or does it say that a demon disguised as a samurai will die?